(Straight Hair courtesy of Ali Owen and Beachy Waves courtesy of Holly
Williams at Hagoyah- Kansas City, MO)
This amazing opportunity to take part in The Daily Dietribe's Gluten Free Health Challenge has been a whirlwind of knowledge, emotions, progress, obstacles, empowerment, exposure to resources, and above all, an unforgettable experience, showered with tons of love and support.
I have gained so much since embarking upon this challenge. I now have an active and sincere support system, accessible via the internet, that I had never even realized was possible. I have learned a lot about myself and life in general. And I have built relationships and support systems with folks who I am not sure I would ever have come into contact with if it hadn't been for this challenge.
My health coach, Eryn McEntee, has been instrumental in guiding me through some tough times that I had been struggling with all on my own. She has been a lifesaver and angel in so many ways, and I feel so grateful to have had the chance to work with her. Depending on where her career path takes her, I plan to seek out her services - hopefully in the capacity of being a patient in her naturopath practice.
None of us would be here without the beautiful, magical, and inspiring Iris Higgins. What a true, real-life fairy angel she has been for us. This challenge fully exposed us to how we can all enhance our lives by working on the dynamics of our Mind, Body, AND Spirit. Iris managed to bring it all together with perspective and a nurturing, skillful approach. I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to participate in our guided meditations and receive the thoughtful encouragement offered by Iris throughout the challenge.
For me, this challenge is far from over. But I am no longer feeling as lost as I was prior to taking part in it. So many doors have opened, and I now feel like I am not alone in this journey. I plan to continue documenting, rambling, and hopefully sharing some progress and revelations online, via my personal blog (and my online identity), Feud With Food. I would love to keep in touch with all of you, and maintain those lines of communication going forward.
The main things I will take away from this experience are:
- A support system from the online community. Thank you to everyone who has already supported me. It has helped immensely.
- New perspectives, recipes, ideas, and resources.
- Strength, courage, and hope.
I am stronger than I was before I started this challenge. I plan to take what I have learned during our guided meditation sessions and call with with my health coach, and move forward with my own journey of healing, minus the level of fear, failure, and frustration that I had been experiencing before. I have already started to benefit from the knowledge, hope, and even just the ability to practice more self-care during the challenge. I really do feel as if it is now solidified more as a learned behavior and part of my routine. I can sincerely say that being gluten-free is EASY compared to many of the steps I have taken since removing gluten. The emotional component was much more difficult to battle than the removal of any one food. I believe that all of the good energy I was able to put out thanks to the support I was getting has a lot to do with the good energy that has come back to me recently in the form of new endeavors, opportunities, learning experiences, and friendships.
My relationship with food has changed since starting the challenge, and I am much more mindful of how I feel while I am eating now. The emotional state I am in and how I am dealing with stress at the time I am actually consuming food at a particular time has a huge impact on how my body reacts to said food. That has been one of the greatest pieces of the puzzle I pieced together during the past six months. And I believe being aware of that will be very helpful going forward. I now make a conscious attempt to be present during each meal, and avoid taking that first bite until I have diffused any type of stress or pain. I am finally at a point where I am not regularly using food for comfort or stress relief. And when I am faced with that scenario now, I am more likely to realize it, and instead opt to use the coping skills I have learned during the challenge versus using the food itself.
I hope to meet many more online comrades in the coming days, and perhaps have the chance to follow the progress of those of you sharing in this crazy world of gluten-free and dietary restriction adventures on a path to healing. I will do my best to update my blog regularly. I may likely continue with the Marisa's Menu type of posts. They will just now be located at Feud With Food.
My personal feud with food has been an interesting journey thus far. I am so thankful that Iris presented this opportunity for me to grow as a person, access additional resources for healing, and understand the benefits of sharing this experience with others. I had kept my own blog private up until the time of the challenge, and am now looking forward to sharing and maintaining it. I am also in the process of attempting to finance my return to school for holistic nutrition. Having such a fantastic and inspiring community with this challenge has given me the motivation and strength I needed to follow through on something I had been wanting to do for years. Thank you!