Behind Enemy Lines
I LOVE to eat. I love the aromas, the flavors, the textures in my mouth. I love trying new foods. I love tapas style meals where I can try lots of different things. I am one of those people that moans and groans while they are eating food, savoring the flavors and the experience. I don’t drink a lot these days but every now and again I like to cut lose and drink a ton and stuff my face. You know, the typical way that most of us deal with stress, a bad day, or a celebration.
I used to be that person who made fun of people with dietary restrictions. Vegans, dairy free, vegetarians, gluten-free, paleo – you name it, I could make fun of them. I would say, “oh just shut up and eat a hamburger”. For a long time, part of my previous judgment is that I didn’t understand why you would willingly cut out an entire food group from your eating options. And it also annoyed me that they seemed to be so vocal about it. Being one of six kids, and someone who has always tried to not inconvenience anyone, it seemed like a giant PITA if you wanted to go anywhere or do anything. For a person who loves to eat, it sounded downright stupid. Why you would go out of your way to eat completely different than most normal folk. However, as of late, my body is currently going through a transition that is leaving me seriously looking at ALL the foods I put in it. As I've cleaned up my diet more and more, my body is demanding a certain level of quality go into it. I now find myself on the verge of becoming one of those people and I can’t say that I’m embracing the change all too well.
In my youth, I was a chubby kid with the shittiest of eating habits. Back then, no one was eating healthy in my neck of the woods. Especially since we were a low to middle class family in the south. My favs were fast food, soda, candy, sweet tea, and fried chicken. For years, I ate the lowest vibe food known to man. I had ZERO idea what healthy nutrition was. I just knew that I felt like shit pretty much all of the time. I would feel guilty about my eating habits. I would judge the way I felt, how my body looked and my energy. I had zero idea how much food affects us physically, mentally and spiritually. We literally are what we eat. Looking back, I see some major markers for what I am experiencing now in my life. As a baby, I had pretty bad colic that would leave me crying most of the time. In an effort to soothe me, my dad would put beer in my bottle. I only have the slightest twitch as a result 😊. I discovered recently colic in infants can be a sign of food sensitivities. In high school I started to have horrible stomach pains. My mom took me to a shit ton of doctors with no resolution or solution. During these years, I was putting uber pressure on myself in school. On top of that, my dad up and left one day which may have left some major scars on my psyche. In my twenties, I started drinking coffee when a friend told me it could help with the chronic constipation I had back then.
Over the past four years, as I’ve raised my vibration and cleared old emotional wounds, I have also been cleansing my body. I have been doing yoga and cleanses and cupping and acupuncture and the like. In the moment, I had no idea what I was doing. Instead, I was intuitively guided without knowing or asking what the end result would be or the long-lasting effects. I can look back now and see these cleanses helped me to be more in touch with my body and also to purge old emotions and patterns that were ready to go. They have culminated into a version of me that is much more loving, understanding, open and compassionate. My body feels better, my brain is clearer and I’m happier. For the most part. But for the last year or so, my body ain’t happy about something. I have found myself with some odd issues of late:
Emotional side effects - At times, I am filled with rage, frustration, anxiety and annoyance. Life’s smallest setbacks threatening to send me over the proverbial edge. I feel enraged for absolutely no reason. I have to stop in the middle of my day and beat a pillow with drumsticks or scream at the top of my lungs. Simple annoyances of life that usually don’t bother me, result in me feeling like I want to punch a hole through the wall, or worse, someone’s face. I literally want to jump up and down like a 3-year-old who is not getting her way. I can’t focus or decide, each choice looming over me like it’s the end of the world. Some days, even the simplest of choices is like a complex math equation that I haven’t been given the knowledge to solve.
Physical side effects – I wake up with a sore throat, and sniffles. My head hurts. I eat and immediately have these god-awful pains in my stomach. Left side, right side, constipation, diarrhea (just like one of those uber annoying stomach commercials). I ate some store-bought bean hummus the other day and immediately my stomach started to feel like I was being punched on the right side and my face and ears swelled up. I felt completely helpless and annoyed. Really???? I can’t even eat quicky hummus anymore!!!!!!!!!????? And perhaps the other thing that threw me over the edge this week….my period. I had one of the most excruciating periods I’ve had in a long time. Why, you ask? Well, what did I do the night before I got my period? I ate chocolate cake and steak and red wine because I was craving all the things during PMS. I have started to notice a SERIOUS upswing in the symptoms when sugar and gluten are combined. The next day when I woke up with my period, I thought I had been hit by a truck- I couldn’t move or do shit for most of the day.
To be completely honest with you, I’ve done lots of cleanses but probably not for the prescribed amount of time. If the cleanse was seven days, I might go four. I tried to honor my body and where I was, knowing I was still getting the benefits I needed. But I was always fearful of what would come up if I went the full gamut. For a hot minute, I have been finding myself on the verge of completing a 21-day cleanse. I will start it and then stop four or five days into it -BECAUSE IT’S HARD. It’s a doozy for realsies. No dairy, no caffeine, no meat, no processed foods, no alcohol and no sugar. I think that about covers it. The idea is to reset your system and then slowly add back in certain food groups. So, I can eat carrots and lettuce for 21 days straight. (Not really, but I like to exaggerate sometimes). Should be nice and easy right? But we all know there are many reasons we eat - overeating from stress, under-eating from stress, eating for joy, eating for comfort, eating because I’m sad, I’m happy, I’m at a party, or my favorite -I like to eat FOOOOODDD. I keep telling myself, I have will power. I’ve done hard things. But there are a few problems.
1) I eat for many other reasons other than nourishing my body.
2) Very few people eat this way, so for 21 days I’ll have to eat mostly from home, which somehow equals no fun to me
3) I know that because of number 1, I will have some major emotional shit come up with this cleanse. I won’t be able to use food to escape in the way I’ve done in the past. I mean, I’m sure carrots will not provide me the same emotional satisfaction that chocolate or chips will
4) I will now be THAT person. The one that can’t be easy going anymore. The one that can’t just eat the damn food on the table at a party. For the rest of my life, I’ll be asking people for a list of ingredients for every food I put into my mouth. I’m annoying myself already.
I know it needs to be done. I know my body and soul are changing in ways I cannot see or understand with my puny human brain. I know this is the next stage of my growth. I know my body will continue to revolt and scream out if I continue to put crap into it. I know I need to contin