Interesting things are happening since going gluten free. I have become more aware of how food makes me feel, and how it is supposed to make me feel (In addition to the improvement in my Fibromyalgia symptoms).
In the past a lot of my meals would begin either low carb or gluten free, not because I was consciously avoiding carbs or gluten, but because that is what I wanted to eat. For instance, one of my favorite breakfasts to cook is scrambled eggs with ham, swiss & fresh spinach wilted in. My husband and I love this for breakfast. And after eating it we would both feel satisfied and energized, but without that “oh my gosh I ate too much” feeling. But here is where things are different now. In the past I might have eaten my eggs, been satisfied – but not full – so I would end my meal with a piece of buttered toast. It was like I did not recognize being full without feeling FULL. Does that make sense? For years my mind has been conditioned to associate the heaviness of feeling full with having eaten a complete meal. Since going gluten free I seldom get that heavy full feeling and I am satisfied for hours after eating. All of a sudden I am becoming aware of how much extra I was eating to satisfy my mental hunger. My body can clearly subsist on much less than I was providing it.
We talked a lot last week at my support group roundtable about the social and emotional component to eating. I associate food with a lot of different things. Mashed potatoes are my go to comfort food when I am emotional. I ate a lot of mashed potatoes when recovering from my accident, which goes a long way in explaining my 17lb weight gain. Homemade spaghetti and meatballs is the one dish that is sure to bring my entire family together, and there better be a big pot because we come hungry and eat a lot! And thank goodness there are no Original Tommy’s Burgers where I live, because every time I see one I want to pull over and order a plate of chili cheese fries, because that is what I would eat with my friends at 2 AM after we had spent the evening drinking and dancing. All of these “bad for me” foods make me feel good when I think about the memories I associate to them.
At our meeting one of my members suggested I start a Food Mood Diary. For years she has been charting what she eats with how she feels, and she has been able to clearly identify patterns between her Fibromyalgia symptoms and the food she consumes. For instance, she expects and prepares herself for a flare-up at the first of the year based on the rich foods she eats from Thanksgiving to Christmas. When she said this, a lot of us nodded our heads, remembering how awful we feel around the holidays and first of the year. But even on a smaller day-to-day scale she is able to determine what foods attribute to which feelings and symptoms. It makes sense. And now that I am becoming more aware of what I am eating and how I am feeling, I think it would be a good time for me to begin a diary of my own.
As I mentioned before, I do not believe that everyone with Fibromyalgia is also gluten intolerant, but I do believe that what we eat and drink plays a large role in the severity and frequency of our symptoms. It is common sense that eating vegetables makes us feel better than eating fried foods, but often the emotional or social component of eating outweighs the common sense component. Maybe by charting mood with food, it will be easier to make that connection and begin to make the healthy food choice. You can be sure I will be sharing with you all of my successes and failures and I am interested in hearing any of your own.