But when you’re ready for it, if there’s one bit of wisdom I can share which is a little bit yogic and a little bit me: when we say things like “I’m a baker” remember that it’s a story we’re telling ourselves… Now, that “drop the story” advice can sound like new age claptrap. When people tell me to do it, it drives me totally bananas. Sure, it sounds Buddhist and everything but what does it mean anyway? Also: I’M A WRITER. Stories are important!
So here’s my twist on the “drop the story” advice. You are a baker–but what does it mean to be a baker?
To me, it means more than flour and butter and sugar. And to me, you are not simply a baker: you are an alchemist and a magician because of the love and intelligence you put into your food: that will not change simply because you use different ingredients.
Rarely, if ever, do I share personal correspondence on this space, however, one of my dearest friend’s emails put me on pause. These past few weeks remind me of the early days when I gave up the drink–back then I was a walking wound, face and body all bruised from battle. Everyone was too loud (quiet, please) and everything hurt. Yet, over time, the wounds healed and the voices that were once blaring fell below the din. The world shifted from sepia to full-on technicolor, and I was privileged to finally see the world not only how it was, but how I envisioned it to be; I was happy to finally see something other than the darkness, which lie in front of me, a loss of color and light that was seemingly endless, bottomless.
Lately, I’ve been climbing my way out of a different sort of dark, and although I haven’t endured severe, tragic illness, it doesn’t make my experience any less painful of palpable. Just when I thought I could indulge in a bowl of pasta, I was plagued with sickness–red marks, itch and burn all over my body. Gluten and dairy trying to make its way out, too, I suppose.
And then I meet with Dana, my extraordinary food coach, who takes me through a list of my food sensitivities (cue the woeful graphic, above). Over the course of four years, I’d done so much damage to my body by overdosing on gluten and dairy, that I’d made myself vulnerable to a host of other sensitivities. At one point during our session today, I snapped, Is there anything I can eat considering turkey is out for Thanksgiving, and bananas are verboten for seven months? Dana was calm, kind and patient, and talked to me about making realistic choices (yes, you can have garlic, blueberries, lemon, but try not to overdo it. You need to be strict about the gluten, dairy and yeast, and you will need to moderate for the rest of your life.)
I am allowed to mourn, I should mourn, she told me, but imagine a life free of sickness. Imagine a body healthy and strong, and isn’t this what I wanted? Wasn’t food something I loved? Much like how I once thought I could never live my life without a glass of wine, I’ve come to realize that what I’ve given up is so much less than what I’ve gained. Sober, I have a command of language I’ve never had previously. Sober, I have a circle of close girlfriends with whom I can be my most raw and real self. Sober, I receive emails like the one above, from people who love the woman I’ve become. Once the mourning period has passed, I have to remind myself of the maths. The foods that are greater than.
However, there is GOOD NEWS. Over the course of a month, I’ve lost TEN POUNDS OF FAT. I have a ways to go to return to the weight I was four years ago, but I’m losing steadily. Being the addict I am, I’ve created reward systems for weight thresholds, and for my first ten, I’ve gifted myself with this stunning Bauble Bar necklace. Isn’t it gorgeous??!! Also, as a gift to myself for dealing with this ordeal with as much grace as I can muster, I’m trying out Sakara Life Organic Meal Delivery next week. Although the meals are A MILLION DOLLARS, I’m hoping to get a fresh start and recipe ideas from the experience. Also, I’m honestly buying some time as I compile more recipes, do more research on living gluten + dairy free, and practicing self-care so I can get to a place where I was when I realized that bad things happen when I drink, and wouldn’t it be more amazing to live a life without the drink?
Wouldn’t it be amazing to live a healthy life?
And naturally, I got some feedback on my FOOD DIARY. More veg, more veg, more veg, and I need to nix the Think Thin bars, because Dana confirmed that these processed bars are the spawn of Satan. I might as well eat nuts as my body will at least know how to process a food it can recognize. She also emailed me tons of menu options and recipe ideas so I can get out of my cooking rut. Because while I’m inventive when it comes to baking, thinking of the myriad of ways in which I can cook squash baffles me.
Finally, Dana echoed my friend’s note. I am a creator. I love to craft something from nothing. I love the immediacy of it, the tactile nature of it. Now, I just need to find another way I can create. Another way I can fall in love.
GREAT TIPS: My friends/readers have been killing it with the tips lately, and I’ve since downloaded the Fooducate + Gluugle apps. For $2.99, I can scan labels using my phone and the Fooducate app and discover which foods have hidden gluten + dairy. Naturally, I went bonkers and scanned the contents of my cabinets. Gluugle gives you a list of gluten-free eateries in my area. I can’t wait to get serious about both.
I’ve also ordered a ton of books off Amazon, and I will keep you posted on the greats once I’ve had a chance to review them.
If you have any blogs, tips, etc, feel free to share them in the comments below!
Note: My journey (and food diary) are meant to inspire you, not as a means for you to directly emulate. My supplements and food plan have been completely customized for me, my body type and my health goals. In short, what might work for me may not make sense, or work, for you.