Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Final Challenge Update

On February 21st, 2010, I made a commitment to finally start living a gluten-, casein-, and soy-free lifestyle. Up until then, I had tried to come to grips with my Non-Celiac Gluten, Soy and Casein Intolerance. I had run through all 7 phases of grief (for food) many times over during the past 13 months, even questioning the validity of the test and diagnosis myself. What I didn't realize when I started this challenge, was how ready I was to be fully committed to this lifestyle, and that this was the last time I'd be on the yo-yo train. It seems I finally made it to the final destination on that line.

So here I am, 72 days later, and I am finally on the right train. I'm finally starting to feel like my body is starting to heal. Of course, during these past 72 days, I have had 2 slip-ups - once for Mexican for our dating anniversary, and another to Chili's for their Chicken Ranch Sandwich for a PMS craving. Both of those "cheats" reinforced my diagnosis as my symptoms reappeared in various forms: heartburn, headaches, body aches (almost instantly), itchy skin & nose and scalp, fatigue, restless sleep, acne, mood swings, stomach aches, diarrhea and constipation (TMI, I know).... Some of these symptoms longer than a week. What came as an epiphany, was that's how I felt for many many years after eating, and I thought it was normal!!! I thought everyone felt like that after eating a meal (how was I wrong!)

During the challenge, I have learned that....
  • that there are plenty of options for meals, they are easy to prepare, and
  • the food we cook at home tastes so much better than what we were getting at restaurants
  • I can have cookies and desserts that taste just as good as the "poisonous" ones, without all the side effects
  • I am not alone... I have found more blogs, Facebook groups, and websites that have many others in my position
  • I love the way I feel when I'm not eating foods that cause me harm - I feel more energized and less "foggy"
  • hope of becoming a Biological-Mom is returning
Here were my goals when I started the Challenge, and the results....
  1. Kick my dependence and cravings for the offending foods - anything containing gluten, casein, and soy.  I'm almost there. I'm no longer craving the offending foods, but admit that occasionally I do crave something that's not on plan. However, I'm now either able to find a safe alternative or push through the craving all together.
  2. Lose 18 pounds - which is approximately 3 pounds per week. While I didn't achieve this goal, I did lose 6 pounds during the challenge. And I'm very happy about those 6 pounds - it's the first time in the past decade where I lost consistently - a pound a week.
  3. Incorporate exercise into my life once again - being able to workout 5-6 days a week. During the challenge I started working out again with fitness videos and trips to the gym. I am now 5 weeks into the P90X Lean Program and feeling great!
And my final stats....

Height: 5 foot, 1/2 inch (yes, I count this half-inch)
Starting Weight: 214.5
Current Weight: 205 (72 days after starting)
Weight Lost to Date: 9.5 pounds

So, can I say that my 6-week challenge was a success? Absolutely!!! I didn't post as much as I had committed, but the lack of posts didn't keep me from attaining my end goal of starting the healing process and finally coming to terms with my diagnosis.

I'll take feeling healthy and vibrant any day over a gluten-, casein-, soy-filled cupcake.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Awareness Month

Reading through websites and blogs today, I realized that May is National Celiac Awareness Month, as well as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. I know that it seems that we've been inundated with awareness months - or days for that matter. Sometimes to the point of being detrimental. However, it does provide an opportunity to learn more about something you didn't know about, or have finally been introduced (be-it a diagnosis of your own, a family member, or friend).

Over the past 15 months, our household has been filled with learning, adjusting, and educating. I have had to learn to change my thought processes about food entirely, and I'm learning to cook completely different also. In addition to going through the 7 stages of grief (which I still go through often), I am learning to understand  what my diagnosis of food intolerances means for me, as well as those in my life: be it by choice, familial ties, or by accident. It's hard enough to cope and make adjustments when you're following a diet. But when you add in the component that eating something will make you sick, then things change a little. I have struggled with the fact that I am different than many of the people around me, and this will make things harder to deal with than in the past - such as family functions, lunch with co-workers, receptions, events, traveling, being able to be spontaneous, etc. But I have finally come to terms that this isn't a life sentence, but a new lease on life with lots of adventure, learning, and great food.

I can honestly say that my life has changed, for the better, during these past 15 months. And I just want to share and make you "aware" of how things are for those of us with food intolerances or allergies - to help answer the "what can you eat?" question, help expand the understanding (because I get a lot of questions), as well as bring you into my world, so to speak, and discover all the feelings of guilt, frustration, acceptance, but most importantly pleasure that I go through. Living a GFCFSF lifestyle by no means eating foods that taste like cardboard, or feeling deprived... it's just the opposite.

During the next 30 days, I will post something new that will give you a perspective into the life of someone who has food allergies, or intolerances - a recipe, product review, tip, etc. So welcome.... To Gluten, Casein, and Soy Intolerance Awareness Month where even chocolate chip cookies and pizza are still on the menu.

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