Quick check-in and a note about self-care while travellng

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Hi there. We’re hanging out in Seaside and keeping it low-key. I have a bit of news, which is that we finally bought an actual camera! We’ve tested it out a bit and we plan on doing some footage with it very soon.

But what I really wanted to discuss was a reminder to both myself and everyone else about taking care of yourself. I’ve been having digestive issues forever, but they’ve gotten worse lately. It could be stress, or food I’m eating, or both. But I had a plan to change my diet, and I put it off. I told myself that it could wait for many reasons:

  • I’d already been having problems for so long. What did it matter if it was a little longer?
  • It wasn’t the right time. I needed to time the change until I was in a place where it was easier to handle such a limited diet.
  • There was a restaurant in town that I wanted to try.
  • Maybe if I kept waiting, things would get better on their own.
  • Maybe if I changed other things besides my diet, my symptoms would improve.
  • I don’t have any proof that making this change will fix things.
  • I’ve already given up so much. I can’t give up anything more.

The last one is really at the heart of the matter. I was reading a book that talked about finding your greatest resistance to a problem is the key to moving past it successfully. I think I’ve finally found what’s really going on with me, and the reason I haven’t made some changes. I’m definitely a “foodie;” I love to try new dishes, cook, and have lots of variety in my diet.

When I was 10 years old, I decided to become a vegetarian. It wasn’t a difficult decision. I never liked meat. Over time, my dislike has increased considerably. I dislike the smell of it, and if I’m on the edge of having a migraine it will push me over. And if fish is cooking, I’ll start sneezing.

Being a vegetarian for nearly 3/4 of my life hasn’t been easy. I’ve always been surrounded by meat-eaters. Everyone in my family and all my friends, with one exception, eat meat. Every time I went to a group function or out to eat it would often be a chore to figure out what to eat. It simply wasn’t on the minds of even the people I was closest to that I didn’t eat everything they ate. So they would choose a steak house, or have a barbeque. And there would be nothing for me to eat besides chips or a salad.

But I didn’t take it personally. After all, it’s my responsibility to be concerned about my dietary choices, not anyone else’s. Over time, I learned to put myself first. If people chose a restaurant that I knew wouldn’t have anything for me to eat, I would either decline the invitation or eat ahead of time and have the default salad.

But it wasn’t too bad. I could have croutons on the salad. Garden burgers. And grilled cheese. And garlic bread, and veggie pizza, and pasta. And flour tortillas.

Then a doctor told me I needed to avoid all gluten. Things got more complicated. The bread, pizza and pasta went away.

But I still had cheese. And over time, more and more places started offering gluten-free items. Bread, pizza and pasta became available again both in my kitchen and at restaurants.

Then another doctor told me I should avoid dairy. And sugar, especially fructose. Things got complicated. Lots of the bread, pizza and pasta had dairy in it. Or eggs, which I’d decided to give up because I didn’t want them to be a crutch to replace dairy. A single egg has almost the daily RDA for cholesterol, and I didn’t want to worry about whatever else I might eat that had cholesterol in it. My food world just got smaller again, and it now became extremely difficult to eat out. Every time, there was an exhaustive list of questions that I had to ask the server, and often there was back and forth between the server and the people in the kitchen. Sometimes, I would wonder if my questions were answered correctly, especially if I went home feeling sick.

These issues have gone on for about 8 years. I told myself earlier this year that I would give up whatever food I needed to feel better. I thought I’d finally done that when I gave up dairy and eggs, but it wasn’t enough. Going further, however, has been easier said than done.

Because part of me feels like I’ve already done more than enough. I’ve worked hard to be creative with what I have left, but there are still things thatvtrigger my sensitive stomach. So I have to give up even more???

Today was the last straw when only a few hours after I ate lunch it was clear that my stomach was not happy with my food choices. I can’t put it off any longer. My husband will still love me if I can’t eat out with him, because at least I’ll be able to leave the house instead of telling him “I can’t go out today. My stomach is too upset.”

So I’m making the commitment publicly that as of tomorrow, I am starting an elimination diet. I will go over all the details in the next post.

But in the meanwhile, I want to say that there may never be a good time to make a change. You can be travelling or maybe you haven’t left your home town in a decade. But if you find yourself holding back from doing something that may make your life better, try to ask yourself why. In the short term, it may be easier to keep doing things the same way, but in the long run will you be paying for the choice to remain stagnant? Remember the old saying; “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

What is the cause of your greatest resistance to change? And how will you choose to overcome it?

4 thoughts on “Quick check-in and a note about self-care while travellng

  1. This is very a very heavy topic. I have been struggling with indigestion and excluded many foods, especially gluten. Now that it’s known that I have lymphoma, I am even more uncertain about what to eat. Part of my dilemma has been solved by my refrigerator, which died last month. I can store only limited amounts of fresh, even cooked foods. Maybe my issues with food are related to the lymphoma. Please don’t overlook any possibilities.

    • Hi Mom, Hopefully a nutritional consult will be part of your care plan. If not you might want to request one. But I can suggest trying to keep a food journal (what you eat and any symptoms you have) to try to narrow down any possible suspects. This is something that dietitians commonly ask for in order to determine the best course of action. Let me know if you need any help; I have a template I created that I’d be happy to share.

      • I’m already gluten free and until my fridge broke, I was eating lots of vegetables. Now, instead of buying them, I go outside to one of my gardens and can select celery, garlic tops, green onion tops, and green beans. It’s not a lot, but it will have to do until my new fridge arrives at the end of this week. I’m up to more diet changes.

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