“The part can never be well unless the whole is well.” ~Plato
So there are some interesting things I’ve learned in the eight weeks since I began the elimination diet as part of my attempt to deal with my hypothyroidism (see this post for background), did a brief and somewhat traumatizing reintroduction, then returned to fully gluten/dairy/egg free, to today’s current status..
Gluten is definitely off the table. The irritability, anxiety, sadness, and lethargy weren’t worth it. After a 3 day reintro, I went back off of it and haven’t looked back. I miss croissants like a mofo, but I don’t miss they yuck factor.
“Special occasion consumption” ain’t gonna work.
Dairy is just not a good idea for my tum-tum. While it didn’t have the effect of gluten, it made me totally gassy and bloated at the initial reintroduction. I’ve not drank a glass of cow’s milk in a number of years (I adore almond milk), and dig the Earth Balance “butter”, rather it was the occasional hankering for cheese that I’m sure many of you can empathize with. Vegan cheese, while Daiya’s cheddar shreds ain’t half bad in a pinch (and are soy-free), will never compare to a lovely aged cheese from the cheesemonger or a slice of brie with fruit or the beautiful parmesan that graces a lovely risotto or fills the inside of a ravioli. So initially my verdict was this – I was going to reserve dairy for special occasions – holidays etc. Turns out reserving dairy is like reserving a hangover – you always regret it. This week on my holiday in DC, I didn’t OD on cheese, per se, but allow myself a bit of goat cheese on a salad, feta with breakfast, a caprese salad, and a scoop of gelato for dessert one evening. Today I’m totally thrashed with massive bloat and intestinal issues that I’d rather not share.
Eggs are the lowest risk for me, but should generally be avoided. Doing a bit more research, I learned that a symptom of egg intolerance or allergies is in brittle or peeling nails/skin around the nails. My whole life the skin around my fingernails/cuticles has been “peely” – I even remember my mother’s frequent accusations that I was deliberately peeling it off – WTF! Well I noticed that after the elimination diet, six weeks into it my fingers look prettier than they ever have! And this week, after a couple of egg dishes for breakfast? Two are already peeling, and as a bonus I’ve also had to work a bit harder at staying centered (i.e., not grumpy). Note: I had eggs for a few days before adding dairy to it, so this is how I’m able to differentiate the two categories’ effects.
Travel has been interesting. Being in a big city like DC, so much bigger than P-town, means there are enough options, but some places leave you ending up with salad as your only option – and let’s just say the breakfast category is a bread-and-cheese-and-egg disaster. Where are the fresh fruit options at cafes? Kind of interesting. For me, I usually end up going vegan as it seems to often have gluten-free ingredients. Then I ask for real meat on the side if I’m particularly hungry and they use good natural sources of meat.
Some say to me “man I could never do that”. Fact is that yes, yes you could if your body has been giving you enough trouble where it’s worth the change in habit. I say “change in habit” rather than “sacrifice” for a reason. A sacrifice insinuates I’m putting myself into a negative situation, into pain, when what I’m doing is cleansing my system of things that just have not been serving me well. That is a favor to my body, and while yes, living across the street from a bakery makes me close my eyes wistfully at times, I know that I can get my fill a few blocks further down at the place down the street with gluten/dairy/egg free options.
Here’s the deal: in this day and age we are learning more about how our bodily functions are interrelated. It’s not a fad, it’s not a “diet”, it’s a world where we are using what we have learned and applying it to what we put in our mouths.
Ironically, it’s not a weight loss tool. Trust me, it’s like getting a raise on your paycheck. You just replace your intake with more of something else that you can eat. I’m still working on Weight Watchers Online to keep my points in check. And I don’t know anyone who chose to go gluten- or dairy- and/or egg-free as a weight loss method. Some will say they are cutting out bread to help, or eating less cheese, but most folks I know realize that this is a tool to FEEL better.
So there you have it, me at eight weeks of this life change I have personally orchestrated with the assistance of good folks like my naturopath and other wise folk. My first post-elimination blood tests (before this “holiday” by the way) showed that my TSH, T3, and T4 levels are definitely changing because of the changes I’ve made to my diet as well as transitioning over to Armour natural thyroid medication (8 weeks with no synthetics, woo hoo!), but there is still more time to be invested until I get everything regulated naturally. It’s a nice thing to be in a place in life where I am truly treating my body as a temple and not an afterthought.
I’m headed in the right direction – and it’s SO worth it.
“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past, or a pioneer of the future.” ~ Deepak Chopra