You know, food is a trip.
It’s not just what’s on our plate for 3 squares and 2 snacks a day…
It’s part of our culture
And our mourning
It’s our nationality
And our sense of identity
And the way we feel in community.
It’s our vacations
And our break-ups
And Thursday’s with the girls and Javier’s for margaritas
And pretty much everything in between.
And it’s not like we can give it up like we can with alcohol or smoking…
It’s something we have to have a RELATIONship with…
And I mean a healthy one.
But, let’s be honest,
Our relationship with food isn’t always so healthy, is it?
Some of us have a past — a relationship with food that was about too much or too little…
It was a punishment and a reward
And we called it ‘good’ or ‘bad.’
So, we bring a lot of hang-ups and pressures from our past to the present.
But why does ANY of that matter?
Because Hashimoto’s calls us to sit down at the table and have an honest conversation about food…
Because Hashimoto’s requires some changes in order to honor our best health
And our best self.
Yes, gluten-free and dairy-free are what would serve you best.
Yes, removing eggs helps for a lot of folks,
And removing nuts and seeds and nightshades too…
Those are the nuts and bolts and the irritating details, but that’s not what bugs us the most.
What bugs us is that we feel like we’re giving up control and the joy of life
For a health condition that we don’t want to cater to
And we wish would just disappear.
Trust me. I get it.
I have hot and cold cannolis and meatball sandwiches running through my veins.
I was raised on pastries, and pastas, and the most divine tasting crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, bread you’ve ever had in your life.
But at some point, it all turned my stomach into weapons of mass destruction
And I had to choose between the fettucine alfredo, Entemann’s donut holes
I had to choose between sitting in the bathroom for hours on my gluten-filled birthday
Or eating a gluten-free cake with a settled stomach and a smile on my face.
For a while I was willing to compromise — sometimes I would be gluten-free but then, I would splurge with gluten and dairy because I thought I was living the ‘good life’
Note to self: Sitting in a bathroom stall at a fancy restaurant, listening to Frank Sinatra songs on the overhead speakers , and praying to not die, is not a great way to celebrate your birthday, or Christmas or even a random Tuesday… It’s just not.
So, I gave it up.
I stopped eating inflammatory foods
And I stopped losing my energy
And I stopped the anxiety attacks
And I stopped wheezing
And spending my birthday in bathroom stalls…
And I started enjoying my life.
I’m not saying it’s easy.
I’m saying I’m worth it.
And so are you.
And that’s the thing that took me longer to figure out…
Was that I was worth letting go of ideas about food
So that I could actually enjoy living my life.
Food is meant to give you energy
But if you eat the wrong foods for you,
It will take the energy from you living your dreams
And it will require energy for you to heal.
So, I made a choice — between the fettucine alfredo, donut holes and me.
And eventually, with much fussing and fretting and throwing some really stunning three year-old tantrums,
I eventually chose me.
That’s the gift that Hashimoto’s gave me — the opportunity to make better choices.
Do I miss fettuccine alfredo? Sure I do, but I barely ever think about it any more
Because I’m so busy enjoying conversations and memory-making
And fun at the table with the people I love the most:
If you are a girlfriend with Hashimoto’s and you haven’t read my book, “You’re Not Crazy and You’re Not Alone” — it’s time for you to laugh and cry and to feel understood!