It was the fall of 2012, and Harriette and I were sitting in her living room. Her kitchen had just been certified as a gluten free commercial kitchen, and she’d brought me over her not only to show me what she was doing, but also to try to get me to listen to the message she’d been hinting at with me for months.
I saw Harriette sporadically, usually at dance weekends where her catering business, True Color Cooking, provided us delicious meals with many dietary options. Since she only saw me once in a while, Harriette was the perfect person to notice the physical changes I was going through.
The most frightening part of this was the swelling and arthritis pain in my hands. I couldn’t bend my right thumb at the first joint more than about a quarter of an inch. As a person who literally works with her hands, I had already become scared enough to go to a rheumatologist the January before.
By Christmastime I knew I couldn’t go on like this. I made an appointment with a new, highly rated rheumatologist for the beginning of February. And on New Year’s Eve, bloated and sick and unable to fit in my dress I’d planned to wear, I decided that my New Year’s resolution was going to be to give up gluten.
My wonderful new doctor, Teresa Lawrence-Ford, said she’d heard about gluten intolerance (that was a new thing in 2012 – it was celiac or nothing in the medical establishment) and that the only way to find out if I had celiac was to go back on all that food I’d given up and then have an endoscopy. So, I went on my “Farewell to Gluten” tour. I had Krispy Kremes, and poppyseed scones and hamentashen, and bagels, and rolls…. And within a week I was SO sick that I never wanted to eat any of them ever again.
It was a long road back to health, working with Dr Lawrence-Ford, dietary doctors and integrated medicine physicians to help cure my leaky gut and make sure I was eating what my body needed. But I now remain within my normal weight range, I feel better, and my arthritis bothers me very little.
In terms of giving up an addictive habit, I don’t think there’s anything to do other than go cold turkey, as hard and unpleasant as that is. When my body craved bread, I had to learn to find ways to pause and listen to what else my body might like to eat that would be healthier for me. I also had to learn to say “no” to myself. Now, I’ll never go back to eating wheat. We’ll probably never know if it’s gluten itself, the protein gliadin created by hybridization of wheat, or side effects of pesticides, but whatever it is, I don’t need it in my body.
My healing here was both physical and mental. I wasn’t crazy, I was really sick. I had to be my own body detective to figure it out, and then find the right doctors to help me. I will always be grateful to Harriette for opening up my eyes and suggesting what turned out to be my solution.
Have you had to address habits that are harming you?
How did you do it?
Have you considered becoming your own “Body Detective?”