I have been realizing that being part of this challenge has been a really good thing for me. I am succeeding with being gluten free more than I have in the past. I am learning that even if I don't do things exactly right, I don't have to give it all up and fall apart with my eating. I can have something that I shouldn't eat and then go back to eating healthy, all is not lost!
One of the things that Mia and I have been talking about is being grounded in what I am feeling. We talked abut my desire for comfort foods versus lighter foods like salads. I grew up eating meat and potatoes and pasta for most of my meals as well as sandwiches. These are the foods that I constantly crave. I really enjoy eating more vegetarian or vegan, but since my kids don't seem to like that and they like eating meat, I started eating more meat. The more meat I eat, the more I want to eat it. My goal is to start eating less meat and more beans and veggies and appropriate grains.
One of the reasons that I want to eat this way is due to my BRCA2 gene mutation. This puts me at greater risk for breast and ovarian cancer as well a couple of other cancers, but breast and ovarian are the greatest risk. Eating a more vegetarian/vegan diet is more alkaline which has been recommended for me to follow. The nice thing is that not eating gluten also helps to keep my body in a more alkaline state. I can have surgery to remove my ovaries and my breasts, but that is not something that I want to do. To return to the discussion that Mia and I had about feeling grounded: she recommended that I eat more root veggies. She also suggested that I start using my slow cooker. I love root veggies, and am actually looking forward to eating them in more ways than the plain boring ways that I have in the past as well as trying some root veggies that I haven't eaten since I was a kid (the ones that I hated). I am hoping that maybe this will help me feel more grounded and less all over the place and scattered with life.
Within this context, I'm hoping that I can get rid of some physical clutter as well. I have started trying to get a little more organized with different things in my life including meal planning. I have started getting more organized with my laundry. My goal is to do a load a day, instead of letting it build up to the point that I don't even want to attempt it because it is too overwhelming. I started cleaning up my bedroom too. I am hoping that as things in other areas of my life get more organized, I will be more organized with grocery shopping and meal planning. If I am more organized with shopping and meal planning, maybe I'll save money and eat better. If I plan better and eat better, maybe I'll start to lose weight. Maybe, if I continue to eliminate gluten and other foods on my allergy/sensitivity panel, I'll have more energy and I can start to have energy to exercise. I know that eliminating gluten definitely impacts my energy in a positive way. I just need to keep doing it!
I am starting to learn more and more about myself and my behaviors. This challenge may also help me when it comes to focusing my career. I have been a geriatric/nursing home social worker since I was a senior undergraduate student, more than 15 years ago. I am done with being a nursing home social worker. Part of me is done with being a social worker, but I'm not ready to give up. I am now thinking that I may look at including nutrition and how it plays a role in people's psychosocial wellbeing/mental health and eating disorders as a population to focus my career. I have thought about doing art therapy as well, and can really see art therapy being beneficial in working with people with food issues. We'll see where my career goes, but this challenge is making me think that this is a possible focus when I return to full time social work.