This week is Spring Break for my son. I live in Florida so the Spring Break celebrations are in full swing, our town is booming! For me, Spring is a time for purging and cleansing. My closet was tackled yesterday, and as I was working on the dreaded closet I remembered that I have been pursuing my diet change for about a month. A cleansing of sorts.
During this month, I have recognized several things about autoimmune diet changes. Lists and suggestions are just that, suggestions. Every body is different, and learning what will heal your body is a matter of trial and error. Within 5 days of the diet switch, Ezra’s labs began trending upward. I will be interested to see how he improves at his next visit. I have been reflecting on the healing of my physical chaos. For my work, we have a FaceBook group where I often post live videos. Occasionally, they will pop up in my feed and I can catch a glimpse or hear my voice from the past, and I can see and hear how off kilter my body truly was.
Anxiety has always been my “diagnosis”. Toward the middle of my pregnancy it was out of control and postpartum I went through many swings. Since removing many foods from my diet, I am learning that foods are often the trigger to my anxiety. For years I searched for answers to the anxiety and panic. I would often feel very jumpy, agitated, racing heart/thoughts, shallow breath, and many other uncomfortable feelings. Until I removed offending foods from my diet, I would have never realized the effect they had on my body. Now, I am very aware of the dis-integration that can occur from eating certain foods.
Previously, I would awaken jumpy and anxious each morning and sometimes it would take until lunch to calm my inner environment. Now, I am recognizing that the way I interact with certain foods is what causes this feeling. One of my biggest culprits are tree nuts, or nut flours. Especially almond flour. I have made a few treats with these ingredients or I will snack on nuts in the evening before bed. When I do this, I wake up the next morning with the same shakiness. When these items are eliminated, I wake up with a clear mind and balanced body.
Sugar substitutes, even natural ones also cause this response. My body almost immediately has a fight-or- flight reaction. My muscles will tense in my head, neck and shoulders and often I will have a dull headache. When I eat the foods made with alternative sugars, I do not feel satiated and will almost immediately go into the mindless eating. All of this occurs just from the taste of sweet, regardless of where the sweetness is sourced from. My body and mind are now having to work together. I am working to make food choices that will feed the good bacteria in my gut so that I can rid the bad. Often, food cravings are linked to the “bad guys” in the gut asking for more “food” to keep them going. Having an awareness that this is whats going on physiologically makes the changes/choices easier. I’m not saying it IS easy. As I run around town doing my errands, driving through Starbucks or Chick-Fil-A are sometimes my biggest fantasies.
When I am having those meltdown moments and am contemplating giving up all my work for convenience or a moment of pleasure, all I have to remember is how I felt for most of last year. A quick mental inventory of the panic/anxiety, shakiness, shortness of breath, and abdominal pain will often clear the cobwebs and remind me of why I chose this path. I know it is probably a weird comparison, however thinking of my nice clean closet, rid of all the clutter and accumulation of the year (s) was my thought this morning. When you have an environment that is tidy, it is easier to notice when something is misplaced and impeding the flow of the space.