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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Vacation is Done and On My Way to Being Wheat- and Gluten-Free

I began this post Monday, but just will continue with it since I haven’t gotten it posted.

Vacation is over and it is time to get started again.  By the way, I had the BEST time.  My vacation was all I hoped it would be.  The only thing I would change is the amount of pain there was to deal with when doing so much walking, climbing stairs, etc.  BUT…I did so much better than I thought I would.  If you had told me I would be walking at least 5 miles a day, I would have said, "no way."  But a lot of days, that is what I did.  Of course, I had to take opportunities to sit down whenever I could, but I still did it.  Along about Wednesday (we got there about mid-day Saturday), I began to look for alternatives to the subway, when possible, because climbing and going down those stairs constantly was very difficult for me.  The bus was a great alternative if we didn’t have too far to go or were not under a time crunch.  We took a taxi once and, of course, there were hired cars to and from the airport.  Other than that we walked and we took the subway.

Do you know how many bakeries there are in Manhattan?  It seems like there are two or three on each block.  I partook freely and did not try to ration what I ate.  I braved the scale Tuesday morning and I actually lost a little weight, I think.  Since my life was very sedentary before the trip, I think all that walking made the difference.
Beginning Monday, I started on my “wheat-free” diet – at least as close to wheat-free as I can get.  There are other carbs, of course, but I am trying to stay away from wheat and trying to eat low carb in general.  There will be occasions when I have a cheat meal, but I don’t plan to plan them weekly or anything like that.  For one thing, I am likely to react to them with a headache or body aches, etc., so I probably won’t want to do it very often.
Speaking of headaches, I did pretty well in that respect on vacation and credit the round of steroids for that.  I am not feeling much withdrawal pain at this point, so I think the steroid is still having its effect.  That is good.  I did have some moderate headaches on Wednesday.  Maybe I can get through withdrawal without really bad headaches.
On Monday of the trip (we got there Saturday), I fell flat on my face in the Times Square area.  I stepped on an uneven spot and my ankle tried to turn and I fell flat.  Fortunately, I did not completely roll my ankle, and although I cracked my left knee down pretty hard, I was not hurt.  My foot hurt, at times, for the rest of the day, but after that I was fine (except probably a little soreness – it’s so hard to tell because I hurt already).  It could have been a very nasty fall, so all in all, I am very grateful it was nothing more.
So, here are some thoughts about where I am right now and what is coming up.
I was laying there last night thinking about my vacation and I realized something had changed in me.  I know there has been something in me for years, underneath, that felt like I do not deserve nice things, and a vacation like that I guess was included in that thinking.  I don’t know where it comes from, because in some ways I have felt that all my life.  I know some things like that can be generational.  Being Irish, and knowing what the Irish immigrants went through both in Ireland and when they came to this country, perhaps that is where some of my shame comes from.  (I went on a tour in the Tenement Museum and learned some about that.)  Some of it comes from the situation of my birth – my parents not wanting, and feeling like they could not handle or afford, another child.  A LOT of it comes from the way I was treated during my marriage.  Without going into all the detail, before vacation I remembered a situation that had to do with my ex’s comments on a picture of me and I realized a lot of my feelings of not wanting my picture taken came from that.  But I also realized that if I did not have my picture taken because of those comments, I was in essence agreeing with the comments/my ex and that is the last thing I want to do.  So I am trying to change that attitude.
Anyway, I said something changed in me.  I don’t know if I can recapture those thoughts.  But I realized I deserve a vacation like that, a clean, beautiful loft, a wonderful job and a boss who appreciates me and shows his appreciation, etc. as much as anyone else.  All of my kids were over for dinner a couple of nights ago and we talked a lot about their dad.  Three of them (both daughters and my son-in-law) had dinner with him the week before vacation (my son refused).  My son-in-law told me his thoughts about that (he generally wants to beat my ex to a pulp because of the way he treated us, and continues to, although the dinner with the kids was at least an effort).  I decided after that conversation, NO MORE TALKING ABOUT MY EX.  Not because he doesn’t deserve it; but because I don’t want to give him any more power over me or my life.  I have nothing to prove to him.  He is not worth my time or thought.  I am moving on.  I know it will take time to get over the habit, but I am done with Mr. C.
So this is the 4th day of wheat-free eating.  So far, so good.  I am craving bread a little at times, but not much.  I ordered on a lot of ingredients I need to make most anything I want to without wheat or gluten.  I will have to get used to new consistencies, etc., but there is no reason the food cannot be just as enjoyable.  By the way, I encourage you to read both Wheat Belly and Grain Brain.  It answered a lot of questions for me and relieved me of some self-criticism and unforgiveness toward myself.  There is a reason I have been the way I am and it is not that I am a glutton and a slob like I had always thought.  Those products are (many times, by design) extremely addictive.  And some people are more sensitive to it than others, and I am one of those who is.  One of the books said Northern Europeans (which includes Ireland and Scotland) are prone to be more gluten sensitive.  So it is in my blood or my genetics.  I feel like as I get free from eating wheat, gluten and white sugar, I can become more of a “normal” person where eating is concerned.

I am not to be concerned about eating fat and cholesterol, except I should not eat transfats or foods cooked in extremely high-temperature oil (as in deep fried).  I can enjoy all of the other fats I want.  The thing is, fat is very satisfying.  You do not want to sit around and eat sticks of butter.  I will be eating a little sugar, at times, but it will be organic raw honey, pure maple syrup, coconut crystals, etc.  If it proves to be a problem, then I will address that.  My theory is that my sugar issues are more tied to wheat and gluten than I realized.  I just have to be sure not to do things to spike my blood sugar, because that creates visceral fat and a lot of problems associated with wheat belly.  When I do eat a little sugar, I will make sure I have first eaten plenty of protein, veggies and fat (which will prevent the glycemic response).  (*I have since learned that is not true.)

I have been pretty sore this week after all the walking, but as soon as I get over some of the soreness, I am going to get back to walking my dog.  Obviously I can.  Of course, I am sure the steroids helped with that, but I also know that as I get wheat- and gluten-free, my inflammation levels are going to go down and I will likely have a lot less overall pain.

I am on my way to being wheat-free, and life is full of hope for me in every way.  I will let you know how it is going.

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