No one likes to admit that what they are doing isn’t working. For me, this is specifically true in regards to diet. For all my tweaking, for all my exclusions, for all my recent additions, there is still an indomitable fact: My digestion is awful. At least once a day I have a terrible bathroom experience to remind me of such. I have tried a lot of differe
nt things to fix what I have deemed broken. And I still don’t feel awesome.
A few weeks ago, I turned to acupuncture to try to help my stomach along. Kett thought this was a horrible idea, and when pressed said as much. He is not one to take a leap of faith in areas of medicine or otherwise. Despite this, I have found acupuncture to really work for me before and I am not afraid to trust that Eastern Medicine and herbs have helped my body more than Western Medicine ever has. About five years ago I was in a car accident that left me with chronic pelvic pain. Painkillers didn’t fix it. Physical therapy didn’t fix it. The chiropractor didn’t fix it. Acupuncture did. In three sessions. And the pain never came back. Do I know exactly why? No, I don’t. Do I care why? Not really. I am just happy to be pain free.
In the past year I have added probiotics to my diet, seen a stomach specialist to get a multitude of tests (Celiac disease, thyroid probs, H. Pylori, Crohn’s…negative, negative, negative, negative), cut out sugar, added in eggs, and drastically reduced my nut, seed, soy, and bean intake. Most of these things helped but nothing has fixed my gut. Acupuncture kind of seemed like my last choice.
After getting needled and herbed from my acupuncturist, she took a look at my diet and said she would email me with some suggestions. A couple of days later I got a very nice email from her instructing me to do as follows:
Eat less of the following:
Hot and spicy
Night Shades (eggplant, tomato, bell pepper)
Sauerkraut (when cold. Hot is okay. Gross.)
Nuts (especially cashews and pecans)
Include more of the following:
I was also asked to keep food combining in mind, and never mix more than three food groups in a meal.
I took one look at this list and felt an immediate “Fuuuuuck you” flutter from my lips. I cannot stress enough how much it scares me to cut a bunch of stuff out of my diet and to be left with just vegetables. I have done that. Within six months I had a mere 95 pounds on a 5’7” frame. I almost died. Food restriction immediately puts the part of me that aches with regret for the person that I was in the midst of all that into revolt. I know that I never deserve to treat my body that way again. I have fought long and hard to believe that there are always better options.
There are differences though, and despite all the emotion, cognitively I know this. Now I eat eggs. When I was deep in the bowels of my eating disorder I never ate oil, coconut, or avocado. I didn’t have Protein Powder or tempeh or weight lifting or loved ones that lived near me to call me on my shit when I started acting crazy. I was secretive about my food. I never counted calories when things were at their worst; I just aimed to eat absolutely as little as possible. The above list seems like I would be only eating vegetables, while the reality of my eating disorder was that I was literally eating only vegetables. There is a huge difference.
So, I have made a vague effort to try to keep these suggestions in mind but honestly hadn’t gone balls out with adhering to them. I have a really hard time accepting that for awhile my food will be boring and predictable, that my stomach is actually sick and I needed to spend some focused time doing things that I simply don’t want to do in an effort to fix it.
A good friend of mine was recently diagnosed with Candida and was given some dietary restrictions that made mine seem like a cakewalk. Like me, she had had months and months of bathroom problems that didn’t seem to be working themselves out and were totally impacting her way of life. She was given her diet to fix things and totally went for it immediately.
What would it be like to know you don’t deserve the physical pain you are in and to go to any means necessary to try to fix it?
When I was given my list I took one look at it and decided that eating tahini was more important than living pain free. When my friend was given her list she decided to give up a lifetime of sugar addiction to not feel terrible all the time. For her, it seemed easy.
If someone had told me my acupuncturist’s advice would make me lose weight would I have jumped on it? Maybe. That is totally depressing to admit.
SO fine. I need to listen more. It hurts to say so, but its true. It is sad and scary for anyone to make dietary changes, but I think especially those who have really been hurt by food restriction in the past. But I am willing to try because I am tired of suffering.
Can you give me some recipes, please?