A little while ago, I told you that I was attempting the 21DSD. I feel that it is my obligation to update you on my experiences with it, since they didn’t go so well.
On the 21DSD, I made it to … probably day 7. I wrote everything down. I was pretty good about sticking to my resolution. I definitely experienced cravings, and I ate dark chocolate whenever I would permit myself. But my health started to decline — pretty rapidly, too.
I moved back into college (senior year, what what) and I was experiencing migraines everyday. I stress this because the feeling was familiar; I’ve had migraines before. In fact, I had them everyday for a year and a half when I was in high school. To combat it, I took Excedrin. Everyday.
Knowing now that my body tells me it’s in pain when my digestion is off-kilter, I tried religiously to figure out what was wrong. I ate foods and marked if I got migraines afterwards. I though I discovered a nut/seed allergy because I kept noticing that I would get them after indulging in some nice nut butters. I thought it was chocolate, too. I felt overwhelmed. Paleo, celiac, allergic to NUTS? What was I going to eat!?
I stumbled on this website about migraines, and I saw that eating a low-carb diet for a while was noted to help with migraines. On the 21DSD, you see, you’re not eating low-carb, per say. You’re eating clean foods, having an apple, grapefruit or banana, and you can eat beets, pumpkin, etc. So naturally, I’d been eating all of these things during my 21DSD. I met with a dietitian at my college when I came back to school, and she said, “Huh, I wonder if you’re glucose-intolerant?”
For the next few days, I went low carb — as low carb as I could muster — just to stop the migraines. Within two days, they were gone.
If you’re still struggling with dietary issues — bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea — on the paleo diet, it’s possible that you’ve uncovered a culprit. Perhaps, like me, you’re not sure what’s wrong with sugar, but something goes wrong when you try to digest it. Since I don’t have insulin resistance, but I still know I have a problem with sugars, I’m going to implement restricting the FODMAPs in my foods (which I’ve been eating religiously since starting paleo).
If this sounds like you, try not to be discouraged by a new set of things to watch out for. That’ll set you back. Just look to the positives. And remember that you always need to adjust it to yourself. For example, Paleo includes sweet potatoes. FODMAP guidelines say that sweet potatoes are pretty high FODMAP, so you need to watch out. However, white potatoes are fine (which is something the Paleo world is starting to approve). However, with celiac disease, white potatoes are a night shade and are possibly irritating to my stomach. Also, coffee needs to be taken with caution on FODMAP (as it’s a stomach irritant), but it’s basically a huge fat no-no if you have celiac because it’s cross-reactive with gluten.
Have you ever had those moments when you’re skin isn’t pretty, your teeth have lost their luster, and your hair is falling out in clumps in the shower? Yeah, that’s my life right now.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been having mini mental break downs over it. It’s stressful to look in the mirror and watch your body lose its gleam from what it once was. It’s hard. It’s sad. Because as I look into my eyes that don’t shine as bright and watch my skin flake, I try to smile only to uncover sad-looking teeth framed by limp hair.
Have you ever gone through this?
Again, like my migraines, it’s all another clue that something’s wrong.
And that’s okay. Things go wrong sometimes. The important thing is to remember a couple of precious things:
- No matter what, you are loved. You are beautiful, precious, and extraordinary. The fact that you care about your body shows how amazing you are. And even though you don’t feel pretty now, there’s always someone out there who thinks you’re beautiful. One day, I flew into a New Mexico airport. I walked up to the first counter I saw, having not eaten in eight hours. I had woken up at 3:40 a.m. I was starving, my hair matted, my face was dry, my make-up smudged. I picked out a chocolate bar from the counter and the man behind it said, “I’m sure you already know this, but you’re really pretty. You made my day by coming here.”
I’m sorry, what? I feel like the ugliest person in the world right now, but you, a complete stranger, thinks I’m beautiful. That’s amazing stuff. And guess what? Voiced or not, someone thinks it about you, too.
- This season that you are in — it is fleeting. The despair you feel, the horror, the fear — it grounds you in the moment and tells you that this state is permanent. But nothing could be further from the truth. I went from dull teeth to bright teeth to dull teeth again. It feels permanent, as if we’ll be in this veil of grief for so long, but the truth is that every moment we have is short. So don’t worry.Your happy moment will come again. Your sunshine will break through the clouds. Be patient. Love yourself. Love your body. Because even if it’s broken, even if it’s not what you want, it’s the vehicle that brought you here. It’s the vehicle keeping you here. To enjoy the sunshine, to learn to love, to breathe.You don’t have to love what you’re going through. Just love yourself.
- It’s okay to cry. I used to cry, and one of my relatives would yell at me for it. I used to be in relationships where the boys said they felt too uncomfortable around people crying to be okay. Remove yourself from those people if you can. They’re not healthy or helping. I’m in a relationship now where my boyfriend tells me to cry on his shoulder because he understands how much it hurts. He encourages it when he knows I’m ready to let the floodgates fly. It’s an intimate, beautiful experience, and it’s okay to let people see you hurt.
If you are out of hope like I’ve been, take comfort. There are paleo resources out there — people who have your best interest in mind. Right now, I’m on page 73 of 187 of the Skintervention Guide by Liz Wolfe. I chose this guide because it addresses hair, teeth, and acne. It recommends super foods, nutrition guides, and products for skin, hair, and teeth. I’ll let you know how it goes when I’m done with it. So far, it was worth it, to me, to buy it as the e-book. It was $37. Do I mind? No. You can’t put a price on hope and healing. If my body is happy, I’m a better person. $37? That’s nothing.