Friday, June 1, 2012

Beating That Gluten-y Horse!!

I hate to do it but I can't seem to help myself.  I keep revisiting the ol' gluten issue.  I let something creep into my diet last week and didn't realize it until early this week when the rash came up.  I know what it was.  It was something that I started eating, regularly, and it was manufactured on shared equipment.  That is always the toughest for me since I can rationalize the reason why it is most likely safe.  But then someday I will learn that "most likely" doesn't mean "IS" safe.  In fact, in that situation, I usually don't have a strong immediate reaction.  Instead, I have low grade symptoms that build over time and are often mistaken for things like a mild virus, nervous stomach, dehydration, or training fatigue.  I may at this point overlook the fact that there was that subtle little warning on the label and continue to eat the culprit food.  Then the rash comes and it becomes clear why I have been feeling lousy.

I spent last weekend feeling miserable and did not workout at all over the weekend.  You don't need to know the gory details but suffice to say, I felt miserable.  I thought I had the flu, was really run down, that my joints were killing me from working too much and my GI tract was angry from coffee.

Then the rash came up.

Gluten.  Dammit!

Wednesday, feeling mostly recovered I had a dish at a Vietnamese restaurant that should by all rights be gluten free.  The waiter didn't really understand but the recipe is generally pretty safe... unless they use cheap rice noodles that have a percentage of wheat flour in them.  I believe this is what happened.  I was horribly ill all afternoon.  I missed both my workouts for the day and slept most of the afternoon.  I was awake for a while in the evening with a crushing migraine, then went to bed and slept it off for twelve hours.

The next day I felt a little better but I was still getting sick following each meal.  I had to take a nap after each time I ate, like digestion was an exhausting process.  Fortunately, I felt fine otherwise and logged two very sharp workouts.

The problem is three missed workouts in less than seven days.  That is not okay.  I am trying to maintain a modicum of consistency and that becomes impossible with these health issues flaring up.  If I continue to make mistakes, I will have to go back to logging every bite of food that I eat, tracking my sleep, and monitoring my well-being, not to mention avoid eating out and boil myself back down to the very basic (boring) diet that I was using when I was first trying to get this under control.  If I make another bone-headed mistake, this will need to be my next step.

These days, I have the healthiest relationship with food and my body that I have ever had in my life.  I am eating intuitively, losing weight at a healthy pace, feeling good (when the gluten isn't a problem), training well... all good stuff.  If I bring back the food journal, I am afraid that I will go back to a less healthy outlook on food which can be a very slippery slope for me.

Over the years, I have struggled with my eating, probably to the point of disordered eating (having bounced from binge eating, to binge/purge, to starving myself, and back again), and the freedom from that in recent months has been a blessing.  I have worked to separate my emotions from food, to address things at their source... if I feel out of control, instead of responding by either binging (mirroring the feeling) or starving myself (manipulating food for a feeling of control), then I try to fix the part of my life that actually IS out of control.  Food has been relegated to it's proper place... as fuel, and meals have become low stress, sometimes social events.

That is all wonderful, except that I have basically poisoned myself twice in recent weeks.  That cannot keep happening.  It is interfering with my training and straining my overall health.  Today I feel better than I did yesterday and with care, I should feel even better tomorrow.  I understand that I am having to relearn more than three and a half decades of eating habits and that is not a quick or foolproof process.  I just hope that if I have to go back to journaling my food that I can keep it in perspective and not lose the intuitive, relaxed quality of my current patterns.

Life has a learning curve.  It looks like this.

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