Begin Within Monthly Journal
& Favorite Easy Meals
March 2015; Letter 4
Sign up now to get the free monthly newsletter & new posts directly in your inbox
(Your email will never, ever
be shared, I promise!)
I tried eating gluten again last week.
I guess I need to test it out every year or so. I start imagining that it’s all in my head, that cutting gluten is just unnecessarily restricting myself. There are a lot of articles around these days that make out that gluten-intolerance is just a mass fad. So, like drinking too much every few years to remind myself why I don’t drink too much, I also have to test out the foods I have cut from my diet to see if the benefits I think I am getting are real.
On Monday night I ate four small pieces of a very dark bread (thin sliced, from the end of an oblong loaf). I felt fine and forgot about it. However, the next afternoon I got so tired I had to lie down instead of getting in my usual walk or yoga. That night I got very uncomfortably constipated and didn’t sleep well because of it.
The next day was about the same, though a bit better. I worked out, but the very light effort I managed to do came primarily from will power. And during this time my mind was not as clear or on task. It was harder to get up in the mornings. In general my energy was low.
It was Saturday before I felt a return of the energy I’ve become so accustomed to having over the past couple of years.
Anymore it has become normal for me to sleep 8 hours and wake up before the alarm clock. I used to ’need’ at least 10 hours regularly to feel reasonably good- though I could have slept 12 hours anytime, easy.
(AND I no longer even drink any caffeine! I have my ginger lemon tea in the morning (about 3 cups). And I drink a minimum of 5-7 more glasses of water a day- three of those with 2000mg ascorbic acid and two with 100 mg B3 (niacin) powder.)
Anyhow, based on the recent test I will continue to not eat wheat. It’s SO not worth it to feel that way. I always thought I was just a low energy person. I would watch people who could go and go (my husband for one) and I just couldn’t understand it. All I wanted to do was rest, and rest, then go push out a workout, and then rest some more.
Now, if I had gone to a doctor I doubt any would have found anything wrong with me. I functioned and was probably considered healthier and fitter than many.
Goes to show that often the only way to find your true health is by going inside. Only you know what it feels like in your body. Only you can say what is ‘right’ and what isn’t. What feels good and what doesn’t.
Of course this isn’t to say that there isn’t a place for doctors and medicine, only that it has it’s limits- often severe limits.
When you are ready to really get healthy, then it’s time to turn inwards. The answers always lie within.
What If It Isn’t Food Causing The Problem?
It’s a process to discover which foods are causing problems and which aren't. A mistake I made many times was to get frustrated and to make a bunch of changes all at once. Then if there was an improvement I didn’t know was was helping and what wasn’t… or if it was the combination of everything!
Really there are two way to go about it: Remove one thing at a time. Give it a at least a week (better would be two) and see if there is any change. Or, go whole hog, and do a complete elimination diet. Cut out everything (wheat, dairy, nuts, grains, soy, etc) for at least a couple of weeks and then gradually add one back in at a time.
I don’t think you can take some diet list, whether it’s GAPS, or Candida, or whatever, and know that the foods that are and are not recommended are the most appropriate for you. There is no one size fits all. Maybe nightshades (eggplant, tomato, etc) aren’t good for some people, but maybe they are a food that suits you well to eat regularly. My point is that only you can discover this. And the only way is by taking the time to experiment and pay attention to your body.
Eventually you can create your own list of foods to eat and to avoid:
Very Rarely Eat (a few times a year)
Occasionally Eat (1-2 times a month)
Eat Regularly (Weekly)
Eat Often (Daily)
Now, all of that said, the mental and emotional factors are incredibly important. There’s no understating that fact. Your state of being inside is more important that anything else. Whatever you are thinking about, afraid of, running from (metaphorically speaking), hiding from, ignoring, blocking, refusing to let go of... all of these can be the real cause of your health problems. Just as a placebo can have just as powerful an effect as a ‘real’ drug, what you think and feel is just as potent. (More so really, because everything comes from thought.)
The most nebulous of my symptoms has been the rash on my chin. It has been so tricky because just when I think I’ve found the trigger it will flare up again. I’ll retrace my steps and the things I was sure had worked for months hadn’t changed, and I hadn’t eaten a trigger food either.
It recently flared up again and when I traced back over what I had been eating I couldn’t find a single trigger that I was sure was the cause- no spicy food, nuts, dairy or chocolate. Then, in a book I was reading, it was suggested that skin rashes are more commonly psycho-emotionally caused than any other physical ailment. Based on that, I looked back to what I was doing during the time that it flared up. I keep a pretty detailed daily schedule that I fill in at the end of each day. And lo and behold we been out to a dinner that I had been dreading, and then I had gotten upset (on the inside). If we take it literally, I wanted to hide, to hide my face and be anywhere but there. And just after that was the first time my chin had flared up in probably a year. Interesting.
The next time I did my daily ‘meditation’ I focused on releasing the energy of fear and hidden resentment, and inviting in freedom and release. (I put that in quotes because I don’t meditate in any ‘traditional’ sense, at least not in the stiff way that I was always taught and that didn’t ever work for me. More on that another day.)
You know what? The rash started to subside almost immediately. I am now just beginning to connect the specific emotional feeling- the one that progressively got worse during the year leading up to my health meltdown, and beginning of recovery- with the build-up of the rash on my face. I have always had struggles with socializing, especially the ‘forced’ type where I feel like I am the person in the role of making everything pleasant for everyone.This goes back to my upbringing and I’m realizing now how strongly it has affected me (even when I don’t consciously acknowledge it).
I'm thinking it’s time to move beyond it. I’m not attached to having this face rash, I’m ready to let it go :)
All of this is not to say that you might not have a food trigger for your rash or skin issue (or a reaction to a body product, cleaner, or something else environmental) but I am coming to see that mine goes deeper than that.
Maybe sometimes it isn’t just what you’re eating, but what’s eating you?
I’ll finish up here by saying that there is nothing you can’t face, there is nothing that can hurt you, and the only way out is through. To pull back or block one area will have spillover effect in areas where you probably don’t want it. You must go inside, release, and move forward. Get out your favorite tearjerker movie if you need some help getting unplugged, so to speak.
Lastly, one of the best tools I used during ‘my year of healing’ was the food diary. I wrote down everything I ate every day for a year, including any vitamins, supplements, or natural treatments I was trying. I also made notes at the beginning of each entry about how my face rash was doing or other health related comments (energy levels, intestinal discomfort, etc). This allowed me to cross-reference the foods I ate with my health experience and then to discover and then directly cure a number of ailments. More on those specifics soon.
Until next time!
PS. This month I also want to share a favorite book recommendation:
You can transform your life and relationships. And no one else even has to participate… Not your spouse, kids, parents, friends. Believe it or not, you can change ANYTHING from just your side.
('Why should I have to?', a little voice whispers. Like, hey, why don’t THEY work on themselves! Well, you don’t have to work on yourself either. It’s only if you want to be happy and truly free.)
Now that I am reminded of this, I think I'm going to go read it again :)
Favorite Easy Meals- February 2015
Weeknight Gourmet- Tomato Pesto Gluten-Free Pizza
Here’s another version of my gluten-free pizza. The toppings on this one are super fast and easy. You can find the original recipe here.
This time I used 100% chickpea flour in the batter and doubled the recipe for a bigger flatbread pizza crust
Then I topped it with tomato paste combined with very finely minced fresh basil (at least 3/4 of a cup) for a tomatoey, nut-free, dairy-free ‘pesto'. Finally some sliced fresh tomatoes, green olives, capers, and camembert on half for my husband.
I meant to put some raw spinach on top before the final bake, but I forgot. Fresh arugula would also go great, added just before serving (not cooked).
Easy Lunch Bowl-
White Beans, Avocado, Tomatoes, Rice
White beans, when cooked this way, are delicious. Leftover, I just heat them up in a little olive on the stovetop and toss in some leftover rice at the end to warm through. Then some fresh avo and tomato on top, a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of good olive oil, and a little salt and pepper. And that’s lunch!
Sometimes I just want to grab a bite out of the fridge. But I need it to be satisfying, to fill me up for a while. For me, hard boiled eggs fit the bill. They are also handy to keep on hand for fleshing out a meal with extra substance and protein, such as my Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad.
The problem I always had with hard boiling eggs was the mess that made of my pot and the loss of one or two eggs as they invariably cracked and ‘exploded’ while being boiled. And after all that they were often hard to peel. I tried all the recommend tips and tricks and finally discovered the real solution. It is to STEAM them, not boil them. They turn out perfectly cooked and easy to peel every time…
Best Easy &Healthy Dessert-
A reminder: When you crave something sweet, fresh fruit makes a perfect treat or dessert. And it can look beautiful too. Go with whatever is freshest and in-season.
We are coming to the end of nectarine season here (boo!), and there are still some pomegranates around. We almost always can find kiwis at the market here in Argentina. Mmmm... sweet and a little bit tart. Add yogurt if you like.
Ask me anything or add your comment here.