I’ve been on a crazy health journey for 11 months. Although I haven’t written much about it, it has pretty much consumed my life. At the urging of my husband, I give you…the time I broke down in the deli line.
My doctor recently put me on a 21 day cleanse in which I was restricted to eating fruits, veggies, poultry and fish (after the first 11 days), special protein shakes, and ½ cup of lentils or brown rice each day. It sounds horrible, but it was actually awesome and I was feeling great! Then came the end of the cleanse, where I would normally “treat” myself for following my doctor’s orders for so long. But I decided this time was going to be different- I was going to slowly re-introduce foods and see if I could find a clue as to what has been giving me so much trouble.
On Saturday my sweet husband swept me off my feet and told me he wanted to take me to lunch. I asked him where he wanted to go, with that skeptical “remember I can’t eat anything” look on my face. He suggested Pilgrim’s Market, our natural grocery store that recently opened an amazing hot deli bar. “Yes, a place I can eat!!” I thought as we grabbed our coats and headed out the door.
Once we arrived at the deli, my enthusiasm quickly vanished. I couldn’t have any of the burgers because of course they all came on a bun, and 95% of them did not fall into the category of chicken or fish. The hot bar offered delicious looking lasagnas and casseroles that contained wheat and cheese, the vegetable salads contained veganaise (not sure what that is, but it sounded like it should/would be off limits), the salmon patties were made with cream cheese, even the quinoa salad had….well, quinoa! It seemed as if the options were endless for any normal gluten free or vegan customer, but for me, every option was a dead end. It took me about 15 minutes to carefully examine the ingredients of each item while contemplating the riskiness of choosing something off the diet. I finally placed my order (a chicken breast) and quietly walked over to the ice cream case with tears in my eyes. It was a very quiet lunch.
Eventually I was able to pull myself together and apologize for my bad attitude. I told my husband that I just needed to be sad for a while. Luckily with a little explanation he understood my frustration. I have worked so hard to eat whole, healthy food from scratch every day for the past month (and really 90% of the past year). I’ve completely transformed my diet and made the necessary life changes to make it possible. Sometimes all a girl wants is a night (or in this case, an afternoon) off! I knew I was a long ways off from hitting up Red Robin or Le Peep, but I figured of all places, I would be able to find something at Pilgrims. Pacing back in forth in front of the deli case made me realize that maybe I wasn’t as close to the light at the end of the tunnel as I originally thought. And that was overwhelming. It made me sad. It made me feel like there is something wrong with me. It made me question why other people don’t have the same reactions to food that I do.
But in the end, all that matters is that I was able to enjoy my chicken and vegetables. I was focusing so hard on the 90% of items that I couldn’t have, that I almost missed the delicious 10% that were safe. I’m also thankful that I have a husband who stands beside me (even when it takes me 15 minutes to order), and who lets me be sad for a while.