It was great to take a little "off the beaten path" look with my readers at one of the deeply emotional, but not to often discussed aspects of long-term illness. "How do I handle the way it has changed my outside?" I hope that reading the various perspectives of working artists on the nature of sickness & beauty was inspiring to some of you. Being able to view our bodies in a new light or even to stretch ourselves so much that we are able to view the illness itself as a sort of gift, is a very "lightening" act.
As I thought more about "lightening" acts, I started to consider how much my entire life has been changed in just over six short months by eating the AIPaleo diet. I thought I'd use this post to detail a few of those areas. Long time readers of mine know that I love, love, love lists. Naturally, I'm going to use a list format to lay this out.
Five Ways That AIPaleo Changed My Whole Life:
1) It changed how I feel. The big obvious one . . . I feel waaaay better. There's no denying that I still have alot of healing to do. As I address issues, new ones are uncovered & I have to double-down on my efforts to repair the damage that Celiac Disease has done. BUT, let me tell you, at this time a year ago I was an utter wreck ready to admit myself to a psychiatric hospital. In my humble opinion, AIPaleo is nothing short of miracle. A miracle that I can literally feel in every cell of my body.
2) It changed what I think is delicious. It isn't like I forgot how rewarding a beer is on a hot summer afternoon or how indulgent a thick slice of chocolate cake is at the end of a nice dinner out. I know exactly how comforting a big bowl of pasta can be or how easy a slice of pizza is at the end of busy day. AIPaleo is helping me stop associating adjectives like rewarding, indulgent, comforting, & easy with the actual taste of my food. My food is just as delicious now & it doesn't include poisoning myself over adjectives.
3) It changed how I think about disease. Disease does not seem like an isolated event in an isolated part of my body anymore. I have learned volumes about how the disease process works, how one sickness in one body system cascades into others, & most importantly, what I can do nutritionally to support or oppose the disease.
4) It changed my garbage. No really. I'm serious here. My husband, daughter, & I produce roughly 20 pounds of compost a week now. Before I went AIPaleo we produced at least that much, if not more, in straight up trash. Almost all the food in our home is fresh produce now, so we cut down on a huge amount of packaging. Now we have a tiny "trash" can, a big recycling bin, & a compost bucket. I don't have a garden area at my home (hopefully we can give container gardening a try next spring), so every week I transport my compost to work & give it to my director. She's got a big garden that will be really happy next year.
5) It changed grocery shopping. I'll admit, West Africa was my real introduction to modified grocery shopping. The standard American approach to buying groceries just does NOT happen there. The leap to purchasing appropriate foods for AIPaleo was that much easier thanks to that experience. Now I basically do "perimeter" shops. I start at the produce, move on to the butcher counter & meat cases, & sometimes stop in the spice aisle. I do not even go down any of the other aisles. My cart is so noticeably different that on three separate occasions in the last six months the checker has said to my husband & I, "You have the healthiest cart I've seen all day." I'm looking forward to ordering CSA boxes in the spring, so I can skip the produce section. I'm even more excited for the day when my budget will allow me to go 100% grass-fed, organic or wild caught on the meats & fish, so I can cut that out of my trip too.
This is only a partial list. I'll be doing more of these in future in order to give you a closer look at how much AIPaleo transformed my life. I'm sure the longer I do it, the more areas I'll notice changing. If you haven't yet considered Paleo or AIPaleo (if you are battling autoimmunity), I encourage you to give it shot. Just think, "What if changing what I put in my mouth could change my whole life?"