I love experimenting with food, putting together unlikely combinations and seeing what is born. I don't conventionally measure, ever, and I pretty much never follow a recipe.
Despite my love for cooking and baking, from being a small child to finishing University I had major digestive issues that doctors couldn't sort out. Finally, after a visit to a naturopath it was discovered that I have a number of food sensitivities - primarily gluten, egg, and dairy (with a few other side dishes).
Over the past ten years I have battled with my food sensitivities, because, quite frankly, it isn't easy to cut all those things right out of your life. Anyone who tells you a gluten free brownie tastes like the real thing... well, I feel that they are lying to themselves.
I am, however, very grateful to have made this discovery when gluten-free became the "in-thing" as the store shelves continue to fill with alternatives and options for me, but, from the deep, honest place in my heart, there is nothing is like flour.
The past ten or so years since my diagnosis have been a roller coaster. There were points where I have been committed to eliminating my sensitivities and points where I have just pushed them to the back of my mind and dealt with the consequences. Since becoming a Mamma a few years ago, the latter is true. By the end of 2014 I was feeling especially unwell.
I realized that if 2015 is going to be my best year yet, I need to invest in sorting out how to best fuel my body. I decided to take a whole eating approach to January - cutting out my allergens, anything and everything processed (including sugar) and going for it. I wanted to test the theories out there that sugar controls a lot of the psychological part of eating and cravings. After some serious reading and research, I dedicated the first month of the year to resetting my body, and...
I feel amazing.
Don't get me wrong, the first two weeks were hard, incredibly hard. I realized what a 'sugar-grip' my head had on my stomach, but yesterday I sat in an amazing patisserie and didn't want anything they had behind the counter, because I knew it would make me feel tired, nauseous, lethargic, and zap my energy. I also just didn't crave it. It didn't look as good as it had in the past. I have never had that experience before.
What's different today?
- The quality of my sleep has dramatically improved - I sleep soundly without wakings (unless daughter-inspired), I feel so rested when I wake-up in the morning, I am eager and energized to get my day going.
- My skin is clear, healthy and glowing.
- My clothing fits better and I feel overall more healthy.
- I feel mentally sharper and clearer than ever before.
- I feel nutritionally satisfied.
- My regular stomach aches and heartburn are gone.
This month has been hard:
- It forced me to put myself first on a number of occasions (something I am still working on).
- It forced me to meal plan.
- It forced me to face head-on the relationship I have between food and reward, and create a new relationship.
I feel so lucky that my husband did it with me, to support me, and so we could hold one another accountable (I don't know if I would have made it through those first couple weeks without him).
The most important thing that came from this month's journey though is that it empowered me. A healthy me is critical in being there for my family long-term and in showing up as my best self and Mamma.
This month I regularly had to reach within myself, to keep the focus on me and my health. A tool that helped was to think about how I would want my daughter to show up if was in this situation and role model that behaviour.
In sharing this, I am not suggesting that you go out and revamp your diet. I am sharing this because you matter Mamma. You matter a lot. Our focus on our babies (even ones that aren't babies anymore) can make us push our issues to the back of our minds focusing solely on theirs. I know I am guilty of this on occasion.
I am a better Mamma, friend, partner, and professional today because I put a focus this January on sorting out my health and nutrition.