Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dairy, Gluten, and Dog-Kicking Bad Boys

When I first went to my acupuncturist, Gerald, he asked if I just wanted to do treatments with him, or was I open to other things that may also give me relief.  I responded with, "I will try almost anything to get rid of this pain!"  He said that often, the food we eat tends to cause problems as well, and I made some snotty comment about not wanting to give up gluten, or something else equally crazy.  We moved forward with our chat...
So, we talked about food, and how I eat.  I had just rejoined Weight Watchers (I go back and forth with the program, which was very successful the one time I followed the program, not so successful the 9 times I didn't quite follow it) so I had a house full of my food-frozen meals, the new Greek yogurt, diet sodas, you know the drill (or you don't, 'cause you're a skinny bitch, and I don't care if you relate). so, we talked about my severe addiction to Diet Coke. 

I love Diet Coke enough to drink it, flat and warm, teeming with bacteria, Monday morning after it sat on my desk for the weekend.  Don't judge, you do gross stuff too.

Gerald says, "ya know, artificial sweeteners are especially bad for people with Fibromyalgia because (insert technical jargon here). I nod like I understood what he said, and wistfully looked at my overflowing purse, which has the last of my Diet Cherry Coke in it (20 oz, about 5 ounces remaining).  And I did it.  I quit cold turkey. I even went home and chucked all my Yo-plait Lights, and gave away PILES of little Crystal Light Packets-bagged up to give to the gals at work (who happily accepted them, thankful of my loss and their gain).

Then, over the course of the new few sessions, he begins to talk about a CLEANSE.  Having just given up Diet Coke, I am not amused.  In fact, in my aspartame-craving hallucinations, I even entertain the thought of killing the next person drinking a soda at a stop light.....wait, what?  Something about a Cleanse.  That's right. 

So, I need to cleanse for 21 days. During this time, I eat from a small list of foods, while also drinking a cleansing protein shake up to 3 times per day. Then, when my body is all happy, clear of toxins, and deprived of everything yummy, I get to "reintroduce" possible allergens, one at a time, watching for a reaction.  Sounds like a blast, no?
I leave, thinking, this guy is HIGH.  Never gonna happen.  Denial is strong in me, my friend.

I think some more, talk it over with the poor patient man I married, and look at the social calendar.  Now, I'm not popular, but I AM certifiable when it comes to controlling EVERYTHING. This means that my calendar is booked out several months.  Then, Summer will arrive, along with droves of in-laws for massive amounts of pool parties, BBQ's and children running crazy.  Summer has BAD TIME TO BE ON A DIET written all over it. So, I decide I can squeeze this cleanse crap in between 2 crab feeds and a weekend in the Wine Country with some friends of ours that have elevated wine drinking to Olympic status. IF I pretend I am definitely NOT allergic to shellfish, and begin after the first crab feed, but before the second.  I'm in it to win it, people! Because, remember, I don't like change AT ALL, but my overwhelming urge to control everything is making me search the internet for creative ways to not die from food boredom over the next 21 days. Serious internal conflict, but the controlling instinct usually wins out.  All hail, Control Freaks.

Shopping opportunities abound in all new ventures, right? So I stock the house with stuff from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, and tell the family the craziness I plan to embark upon.  And so it begins. I got the food, check. I got the awesomely cool water bottles that my sis-in-law introduced my to-it;s the Thermos Intak, available at Target for $10, and the thing is amazing-I love it so much, people think I work for Thermos when I wax poetic on it's qualities that make it superior. Check. I got the blender, check. And so it begins. A shake in the mornings, then a small range of other foods throughout the day.  Between that, and the Cymbalta (the side effects I got stuck with for the long haul are dry mouth, and decreased appetite---JACKPOT!), I lost 5 pounds the first week, and I'm thinking, a brand new pair of celebration boots are in my near future!

So then, I begin the reintroductions:
  • Corn, fine
  • Tomatoes, fine
  • Soy, fine
  • Peanuts, fine
  • Cured meats, fine
  • Shellfish, fine
  • Eggs, fine
  • Alcohol, fine (phew!!!)
  • Beef, fine
  • Pork, fine
  • Dairy.     Not so fine.  Severe joint pain, all night long.  And, I have to wait a few days, and retest.  Or, I could give up dairy FOREVER, just to avoid retesting.  Damn. Not so fine, again.  Double Damn. 
I love cheese.  I mean, LOVE.  Stinky cheeses, aged, marbled, full of fennel seeds,  mushrooms, holes, fruits.  I love brie, camembert, stilton, bleu. I even like an occasional foray into the ez-melting American. I'm a total cheese SLUT.   And, I haven't even begun to talk about my issues with ice cream.  What the hell am I going to do? 
But.  If my body hurts after eating it, it ain't that hard to say goodbye.  I imagine it is a little like breaking up with the bad boy you love but know he's no good for you, and then watch him kick your dog on the way out.  For the best, and not as sad as you thought it would be. 

At this point, I am still going to see Gerald almost every week.  And, he highly suspects I have a gluten intolerance as well.  I don't want to test that, too, because I am finally reaping some of the amazing pain-blocking properties of the Cymbalta. After Gerald tells me it could take up to 6 months to get gluten out of my system, I suck it up, so to speak.
I eat a PB & J-complete with Skippy, strawberry fruit spread, and butter-topped wheat.  It was SO GOOD.  I was bummed I could not finish it all off with a cold glass of milk, but I moved on.  Then, at a kid's birthday party, I ate 3 pizza crusts. Yummm.  they were so good.
And I hurt for 5 days.  not 3, like with the dairy.  5. 

I am now dairy free, gluten free, bad-boy free (okay, honey, I have been bad-boy free for 18 years, I promise, it was a literary tool to expl.....nevermind....), aspartame free, eating mostly organic, and even am steering away from plastic food containers.  Wow.  What a life change!

From here on out, I will be sharing recipes, tips, and yummy food finds with you.  You're welcome.

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