I had known I was allergic to milk (or lactose intolerant) since second grade, but I was still able to tolerate it to an extent. So I continued to eat ice cream, milk chocolate and cheese, and switched to soy milk in my cereal.
My gluten filled diet also included pasta, cookies, crackers, bread, desserts, donuts, cinnamon rolls, pancakes, waffles, crepes, etc. I didn’t like salad and didn’t eat a lot of meat.
But I was feeling completely drained of energy all the time. I had skin issues, and tons of tummy issues. I was eating GasX like it was candy. And after continued bouts of diarrhea, I knew something wasn’t right. My mom had figured out her intolerance to gluten years ago, and she kept telling me that it was possible I was going to have to ditch the gluten too. “No!” I told her, “I can’t stop eating bread!? No Way!”
I had to do something, though. I couldn’t continue feeling terrible and sick. I went to a nature doctor and they persuaded me (practically twisted my arm, ha) to stop eating gluten and dairy for a month, to see if it made me feel better.
It was painful as hell to try to give up gluten. Like a bad breakup, every time I would see that tasty pasta dish on the menu, the rush of emotions and memories of joy followed by feelings of hopelessness and despair, knowing that instead I had to choose the salad. Sometimes I actually broke down into tears right there in the restaurant.
But I started to feel better after that month. I got an amazing amount of energy back. I've never been the same since, actually. And now, more than 5 years later, I don't cry at restaurants any more, lamenting over the ravioli I can't eat, or the dessert I can't get.
It's such a different world to live in. I used to be pretty picky. Didn't even like food of different types to touch on my plate or the edge of toast. Now my favorite meals are all mixtures, casseroles, stir frys. So funny. Oh, and they are almost entirely made up of meats, vegetables, and healthy fats. I Whole30 or Paleo to the best of my ability. I try to give up sugar (which is still really, really hard) and soy and even the non-gluten grain foods.
I try to convince friends and family (sure, even new acquaintances) of the benefits of feeling good. "I can't do it," they tell me, "I can't give up bread! Are you crazy?!"
I know that. I was there. I refused to believe that the delicious bread in my life could be making me feel like crap. But it was.
I was becoming a brand new person. All in the name of feeling good. Maybe it's just natural, getting older, wanting to maintain your health as long as you can in this toxic world. But as much pain as it was to give up all the goodies - and it was, mental, physical and emotional pain - feeling good is worth it.