This post comes from my lovely sister Brooks, who is about to undergo a significant change in her diet and in addition to being in the process of moving to a new apartment!
As far as fitness and dieting goes, I have never been one for half measures. I am one of those people who feels like going to the gym is only worthwhile if you can be there for an hour or more. If I am dieting, I tend to eat like a pathological teenage girl, surviving on gum, Diet Coke, and playing the “who can leave more food on their plate Olympics” with my other pathological immature friends. I prefer weight control for the young and insane.
However, my body no longer tolerates this behavior. When I was younger, I could do pretty much as I pleased with my body and wake up feeling much the same as the night before. It was as if I died every night in my sleep and was resurrected with a new body, sins washed away, and ready to face another day of self-abuse. Those days are gone. One glass of wine is sometimes enough to make me feel as if I am being punished by a sentient being. Not enough water in the day and I might as well kill myself. What is worse is that I am so acutely aware of my body now that anything fun I do now registers as pain. I am the princess and no Vitamin A for a day or two would be the pea. I feel it all.
The concept behind yoga is that as we establish a better mind-connection, we get closer to truth and each other. As we age, we unavoidably feel every consequence behind our actions and the effects on our body. Perhaps it is the undoing of our youthful invincibility that has something to do with the softening of our hearts and the beginning of adulthood. Beyond this greater awareness that I can no longer do anything without repercussions, I am also aware that I am no longer the person that I once was. I have learned a lot about the way others choose to live or must live. And that brings me to fellow 2FNSer, Ellie. I remember when I first met her about two and a half years ago, one of the only things I really remembered about her was that she was gluten-free and I remembered thinking that was both fussy and odd. Since that time, I have learned far more about Ellie, and I have also learned more about what people with dietary restrictions go through and struggle with on a regular basis. Many of the customers that come into my coffee shop are gluten-free because I have made a concerted effort to build a menu that works for them and to bring in items from a gluten-free bakery. Hearing what they struggle with and what their needs are, I learned about how my pre-judgments about Ellie were unfair. Often we believe that people who have special dietary needs are just trying to be difficult or are just being picky when their reasons to do so could run the gamut from trying to make smart life choices and stick to them to a life-threatening allergy. Either way, it is something to respect.
So, all of this is in an introduction to say that for the month of July, Dave and I decided to go gluten-free. We wanted to do this for a number of reasons.
- Be more empathetic towards people with dietary restrictions; get to know the needs of gluten-free customers better. This will lead to better customer service in my coffee shop and better menu development.
- Become better home cooks; be more creative and use more whole foods. This means shopping in the produce sections and staying away from those boxes of pasta. It also means bringing in grains like quinoa, rice, lentils, and learning how to meal plan again.
- Be more mindful eaters. Instead of eating the bread in the bread basket at the restaurant or just eating the hors d’oeuvres because they are there, decide whether you are hungry before the go hunting for something you can actually eat. Also, you have to ask if those chips are gluten-free before you eat a whole pound of them with your queso dip (oh god, is queso GF?).
- Because moving is not fun enough, we had to spice up July more. But really, what better way to hit reset than move and try to change our eating patterns at the same time? I am excited to track any physiological changes that we experience and see if gluten-free is really a better way.
Hopefully this doesn’t annoy any people out there like Ellie who are GF for medical reasons and dream of pizza and beer, but we really are doing this to see how the 0.01% lives and try to kind of raise our own level of awareness. As someone in the restaurant industry, who does a lot of menu development, I think I’ll find out that I could do a lot better.