Dietary Limitations Can Bring Out Creativity

For the last 10 years, I’ve been battling severe intestinal cramping. Not all the time, but bad enough that doctors had given me muscle relaxers for the intestines. Bad enough that it could easily keep me out of work for a morning, or in some cases a full day. I couldn’t figure out what was causing it and just assume it was me, that something wrong with me, rather than the food I was taking in. At the same time, and since my mid-twenties, I had been battling reflux and heartburn. Of course, the doctors give you pills and say it’s necessary. At no point did any doctor ask me about my diet or say that it could be something I am eating.

About 10 months ago, my wife convinced me to go to a local naturopathic doctor who she was seeing. She’s an MD, but practices naturopathy first, before prescribing pills. I took the Carroll Food Intolerance test and it came back as positive for potatoes (including sweet potatoes and tapioca), wheat, and soy. No wonder I was having so many problems, those ingredients are in everything! Although, for someone who considered himself primarily a baker, this news was devastating. I went with it and committed to the elimination of those ingredients from my diet. Within three months, I was off my heartburn medicine and the cramps had ended.

I should have known it was something I was eating because as I’ve experimented with the Paleo Diet over the last couple of years, I always felt a little better. The trick is, as we start to feel better, we start to cheat, and we put ourselves back to the point of not feeling well again. Then we justify it all by saying the diet isn’t sustainable. Well, I hit the point last week where I had gained several pounds and I was fighting heartburn on a not infrequent occasion. I opened my fridge to see a couple of six-packs of beer and left-over pizza. I was back there, cheating and paying for it.

If you read the last post on Imposter Syndrome, you’ll know that writing about food, and food in general, are passions of mine that I want to dive into fully but keep holding myself back. I’ve been ignoring them too much lately for the sake of focusing on work. As I, hopefully, get this blog back in full swing, I am going to adjust how I approach things.

Last week I started a ketogenic diet. I’m using it for the entire month of March as a reset to my system, no alcohol, no sugar, no cheating. I’ve been doing it for six days and I’ve lost 3 pounds and feel amazing. No hints of heartburn or cramping, which is the real indicator that my body prefers what I am eating now. The goal is to determine at the end of March whether to relax into a paleo diet or to stay on a ketogenic one. Either way, I realize I can’t go back to the way I was eating before. I’m sure I will eat non-paleo foods on occasion (I love fancy tasting menus), but it has to stay “on occasion” and not something that becomes so regular that I end up with beer in my fridge.

So, future posts won’t be super sweet baked goods or things of that nature, unless I can make them keto/paleo. I’m going to be learning a ton about cooking this way and look forward to putting that professional cook certificate to use making things my body is OK with. The part that excites me is I believe having more dietary restrictions will force me to be more creative! I hope that I can learn, create, and give back to the same community of bloggers who are teaching me now.

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