Monday, August 26, 2013

It's all about perspective

There are some days that eating can be a challenge.  Actually, the eating part is easy, it's the what to eat part that can get frustrating.  Starting out on a diet free from allergens/food intolerances can feel daunting and overwhelming.  Even with several years of experience there are still some days that I feel lost in the meal planning department.

Usually just an adjustment in perspective is the key.  Focusing on what we can eat and not what we can't is the first and biggest step to keeping the pace in this food intolerance journey.

Here's the pep talk that I give myself from time to time when my focus becomes fuzzy and discouragement is wanting to take up residence:

Conquer Fear

The biggest hurdle to cross when starting a "free" diet, is to conquer the fear that "I will never get to eat my favorite foods again!"  Don't allow any room for that fear, and don't start looking for foods to replace with which you have always been familiar. Instead of thinking in that direction, start fresh. Turn a new leaf and look for new and fun foods to try! You will find some things that will surprise you and you will probably even come across some treats that taste pretty much like an old favorite!

Think Simply

Don't overthink recipes, but enjoy foods in their created state.  Put simple flavors together.  Think basic.  Use spices.  Use new-to-you spices.  I had never heard of Garam Masala or Chinese Five Spice before I started to cook 'free.  Use recipe search engines to track down recipes that are already naturally free of your allergens/food sensitivities.  Look for cultural recipes and broaden your knowledge and your palate.  Eat an apple.  Peel a cucumber.  Enjoy a grilled steak.  Make a fruit slushie.  Food doesn't have to be complicated to be good!

Try, Try Again!

Just give it a try.  Tweak and try again.  You may not win every time you try a new recipe, concoct your own, or feel brave enough to use an old favorite with substitutions, but perseverance does makes the taste of victory sweeter.  You gain knowledge and experience with every effort that cannot be earned any other way.  A failure is only that if you don't learn from it, get back up, and try again!

Maintain Focus

Everyone makes dietary changes for different reasons.  Keep your goal forefront and your eye on the prize.  Don't look back and bemoan what you will miss.  Pick yourself up and march forward.  Even on the most trying days, you win every time you turn down the old troublesome foods and look for a new one.  On the days that I feel run-down, I have to stop and remember to not consider the foods that I can no longer cook with, but think of all the ones that are at my disposal!  The list is greater than I care to try to write down and the resources available today are easily accessible. 

Well, I think I feel revived.
I think I'll go eat an apple, and I might just enjoy some nut butter on top!

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