|Oh, you wicked rooster, why do you hate me? photo credit|
So far, I have learned that there are far more things I am sensitive to than i realized! In fact, I'm struggling to be sure that even ruling out grain and dairy is enough. I've had more down days than up these past few weeks, but the two truly good days I had were enough for me to realize how much I am affected on a daily basis. I'm pretty sure I have an issue with corn, and I'm 90% sure (but not willing to test the 10%) that I have a strong reaction to xanthan gum (which, if you didn't know, is derived from corn).
What kind of reaction? In short, I get a little stoned. Yes, you read that right. The longer I pay attention to my diet and my body, the more I have been able to identify my symptoms. The two times I had xanthan gum recently, within half an hour I became extremely tired and slightly disoriented. My eyes were heavy and I often had to blink to get them to re-focus. After thinking about it, this is what I feel like nearly every single day! I am perpetually struggling to think clearly and linearly, to the point that most days I can only attend to the boys' basic needs. There have been far too many times in the past year when I was out driving and felt slightly... un-focused, I guess. It's hard to describe. I never understood why, it's not like I drink or have any other issue that would cause impairment. Prior tests said there was nothing wrong with my blood pressure or blood sugar, so I could rule that out. There was never an instance where I thought I was unable to handle the vehicle or navigate traffic, so I never worried for my safety. But still, I could tell I was not fully "aware," if you will.
Being able to attribute this to a food reaction has really opened my eyes (pun intended) to how careful I need to be with my food intake. The second time I accidentally ate xanthan gum, I found it at the bottom of the list of ingredients on my beloved Rooster Sauce! And I had only eaten MAYBE a teaspoon TOPS. Whether I am simply more sensitive to the xanthan form of corn or all corn, I don't know. Clearly, I will need to make sure even minute traces are out of my diet if I hope to see improvement.
Has all this diet fuss been worth it? Yes and no(ish). Because I seem to react to each food differently, I would never be able to identify them all without peeling back each layer one at a time. My only frustration is that I did NOT get that three-day turnaround that I got last time I went gluten free. In fact, every day seems to be a roller coaster of clear moments and pure exhaustion. As careful as I have tried to be, I will still find myself reacting to meals that should be safe, and what's worse, I don't know which of the 5+ ingredients are the culprit!
I'm starting to think an elimination diet would be worth the frustration. I've contemplated an elimination diet before, in fact GAPS Intro is very much like an elimination diet. Each time I have considered it, I have always talked myself out of it, and I know why. It has been so complicated, expensive, and isolating to cut out grains and dairy, that I absolutely DREAD cutting out any more foods. It's all I can do to feed myself right now, but to take more of my building blocks away would be devastating! What if it's coconut? Or tapioca starch! (my go-to grain sub right now) Or worse, what if I lose eggs????
I know, I know. The truth is, whether I know that a food upsets me or not doesn't change the fact that it is affecting my health. It simply pushes me to act accordingly if I want to be healthy. And that's what it all comes down to. Do I want to FINALLY be healthy, energetic, clear-headed, and HAPPY? YES!!! A million times, yes! Well then, Maria, you are going to have to accept the difficult task of MAKING IT HAPPEN. Nothing good can come without sacrifice.