Friday, January 01, 2016

Post-holiday peace

After my year of austerity (drastically reduced sugar, dairy and grains), I totally indulged last week when I visited familia in Houston, Texas. I ate cookies and cupcakes and pie. I also had grain-y foods like pancakes and tamales because I wanted to take a break from being the person who's SO careful about her diet and who has all these damn things she "can't eat." In fact, I didn't say a word about food (except to compliment it) the whole time I was there!

But, oh, my body felt it this week. My knees and elbow joints started hurting while I was still in Houston, but the digestive discomfort didn't kick in until I got back. This is strange because if I ate that many cookies and wheat-based foods in my daily life, my stomach would be in constant pain, which it used to be before I cleaned up my diet. But oddly, those wheat-bellyaches didn't start until I got back to Chicago. On my first night in my own bed, I woke up with that familiar pain that robs me of sleep in the middle of the night. I got up to walk it off, wondering if my body had simply delayed all the stomach aches it should have had on Christmas Eve, Day and the day after.

Here's what I think it must be, using what I've learned from Dr. Joe Dispenza's books on the mind-body connection. I think that similarly to how family visits can cause us to revert emotionally to the person we used to be, our biology can revert, too. When I was growing up, I could eat any amount of cookies, cakes, pancakes, etc, with no digestive discomfort whatsoever. And that's how my stomach behaved during those four days when I was with familia, eating through the holiday. But as soon as I reached my apartment on Monday night, the digestive pain returned. It's damned weird, but that's the theory I'm going with. It was both good and bad: it allowed me to eat all the holiday goodies without the usual digestive consequences (although the joint pain still kicked in), but it also got me back on the sugar roller coaster and if I'd kept that up, my joints would have gotten even worse.
Christmas Day w/ familia

As of Tuesday, I've gone back to my wheat-free life and I'm relieved to notice that my joints feel better. Even though the health crisis of 2015 that made me cut out sugar, dairy and grains is over, I'm still limiting those foods because I just feel better this way. That means I still have sugar, dairy and grains (besides wheat), but they're reduced from what I used to consume. The sad part is that wheat is now on my permanent list of things to simply avoid. As much as I still love baked goods, wheat flour just causes me too much trouble.

So I guess this is actually good news: maybe once a year when I join my familia for the holidays, I'll get a window of time during which I can treat myself to my sister's and cousin's baked desserts and my dad's pancakes. Maybe that could work, as long as the period of time isn't more than a few days.  This gives me yet another reason to look forward to Christmas: parties, familia, lights, decorations and a digestive reprieve from the wheat bellyaches! For those few days, maybe my stomach will simply act the way it used to when I was a child. Thus December will remain my favorite month of all.

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