Eating clean(er) has had some benefits I wouldn’t have expected. One that I noticed a while back is that food has more taste – literally MORE. It’s like my taste buds received a power wash or something, and I can taste more of the detail in food, if that makes sense. So much of the “good for me” foods taste so much better, and likewise, some of the “not so good for me” foods have a different taste than they used to. With prepared foods, it seems like I can taste the chemicals or something. They just don’t seem to taste the same. Some are still delicious, though, and that’s when I have to look at them with my “that’s poison for me” lenses on.
This has been a tough journey; I’m not gonna sugarcoat it (pun intended). I reference “me” in the quotations above because I have a very specific set of items/ingredients that I have to stay away from. It’s not just about the obvious unhealthy items. In fact, some items that I thought were healthy, simply are just NOT for me, but may be very healthy for someone else. That is part of what’s made these changes difficult.
I grew up in a pretty health-conscience family. My grandparents were always trying the latest, greatest, new healthy food or recipe. I recall that we were one of the few homes that was eating wheat bread at one point – way back, of course! Over the years we and I have adjusted accordingly. Then one day I got sick. And then I stayed sick. And I couldn’t seem to get well. Let’s cut out the middle and head straight to the answer. I have a host of chronic and autoimmune illnesses – lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, chronic migraine, GERD, and… well, for the sake of the length of this post, that’s good for now! More at another time.
For years I’ve struggled clumsily through chronic illness bouts. Recently, about 8 months ago or so, I did myself a huge favor and did a food allergen lab test (under the supervision of a Naturopathic Doctor). Surprisingly (to put it lightly), I am either allergic or showed high inflammatory responses to quite a lot of foods. Even more surprisingly, several of these items were foods that we mostly consider to be healthy or part of a healthy eating regimen.
So life changed – again – and now breakfast feels like the most difficult meal of all suddenly. That’s a complete switch from what I was doing before. I sometimes wander around trying to figure out what to eat for a couple hours before breakfast even happens. I realized the other day that it’s not so much that there’s nothing for breakfast anymore, as I just need to retrain myself about what breakfast can be. I grew up and also raised my kids on a typical American type of breakfast, i.e., eggs, bacon or sausage, pancakes, waffles, or french toast, or oatmeal or cold cereal choices.
So life changed, and I had a beef tamale for breakfast the other morning, which seemed so weird. But it was delicious – or I might have been nearing starvation after wandering around for a couple hours trying to figure out what to eat. Either way, it was so good and I felt great after, and nothing bad happened because I broke the breakfast rules that I had been stuck to. I had a cup of coffee with it and some jicama sticks and cantaloupe on the side. I then bought a whole bunch of frozen organic tamales yesterday. I probably need to calm down about the tamales and continue to expand. But for now, I feel pretty good about it! This morning I had my go-to, which was a cup of coconut-based yogurt with some added collagen peptides, and some berries thrown in for good measure.
I’m just glad to still be here and relearning my entrenched idea of breakfast, and finding new ways to feel well. It’s 8:30 p.m., and I’m already thinking about what tomorrow’s breakfast will be. Life is about food a lot these days. It probably will be for a long time, if not always, until I get the hang of what healthy means and looks like for me, and not necessarily what is normally healthy for most people.
Like most difficult lessons, I would have liked to have learned these latest ones an easier way, but it’s okay. I’m super enjoying my new taste buds and my increasing energy, and looking forward to the day when this new way is something that feels normal and not new.
Enjoying the ride (mostly)! 😉