I'm officially 21 weeks pregnant and finally starting to feel normal-ish again as I settle into the second trimester. Ok, I don't feel normal in the slightest, but I no longer feel like I'm knocking on death's door.
The first trimester was really rough, and my greatest love was taken away from me (no, not my cats, but great guess! And it’s not my husband. He's on my shit list because he “did this” to me).
FOOD. I lost all desire for food.
Everything tasted and smelled disgusting, and I wound up eating my weight in Saltines and ginger chews.
Feeling sick for a week is one thing, but having it last three months really wears on you. Slowly I stopped caring about avoiding gluten and dairy and just went with whatever I felt I could keep down.
I went back to my Jewish roots and starting eating bagels with cream cheese and matzah ball soup.
A few weeks ago, I noticed a weird rash on my arm. Then a spot on my back, then a spot on my leg.
It took me a few days to connect the dots, and then it hit me. "Holy shit, my diet gave me eczema in less than three months!"
Mind you, I grew up eating gluten and dairy and never had skin issues. I had tons of digestive issues, but this is the first time I've ever experienced eczema.
This is confusing because we expect the body to stay the same all of our lives, but it doesn't work that way. New symptoms and communications can pop up at any moment.
My new leopard spots kicked me into clarity, and I got back on track. It was very humbling but also extremely reassuring as to why I put effort into eating a healthy, gluten free and dairy free diet.
You may be thinking that this wouldn't happen to you, but just because you don't get a rash doesn't mean these foods aren't causing inflammation in the gut and brain. It can show up as depression, poor memory, lack of focus and so on. Gluten and dairy affect more than just the digestive system and your skin.
If you've always wondered why I promote a gf/df lifestyle, read some geeky science here and here.
I'll keep you updated on my spots, but in the meantime, I want to share these very important reminders.
- We are human and therefore imperfect. If we want to live a life where we are learning and growing, we need to accept our bumps along the way and forgive, forgive, forgive.
- The body is constantly communicating with us via symptoms, mood, energy, etc... We need to slow down and listen so that we can guide ourselves to our right path (not THE right path, as there is more than one).
- You have nothing to lose by cutting out gluten and dairy entirely for one month and see what comes of it. If you do this, you must cut it out entirely to get accurate results.
- Don't fight the messages from the body even if they aren't congruent with what you have experienced in the past.
Weekly Meal Prep
Shepard’s Pie with Mashed Cauliflower - This is such a warm, comforting dish in the winter. Sometimes I make it with mashed potato (yeehaw!) and most times I use the cauliflower and just get over myself.
Chicken and Broccoli with Sesame Noodles - I was missing those cold sesame noodles I would eat growin’ up as a NY kid ordering greasy Chinese. I found this recipe for NY Style Cold Sesame noodles and created a meal around it.
Warm Winter Kale Salad with Roasted Pine Nuts, Eggplant, and Sun-dried tomatoes in a Tahini Sauce - I’m sorry I keep cooking this. It’s my favorite warm salad ever and I could eat it every week, obviously, because I do. If you haven’t made this yet, what's stopping you? It’s been on my weekly meal prep 40 times already!
Crockpot Pork Loin with Roasted Brussels Sprouts Coated in Balsamic and Honey - Notice that I have at least one crockpot meal per week. It allows me to cook another meal while this one is cooking and is a must for any health-nut who believes in cooking the majority of their own food. If I get supremely lazy I throw the veggie in the crockpot at the end but a warning: it makes everything taste the same.