Today’s post is a follow-up post from Looking You in the Face, Part 1, regarding my two-year struggle with bulimia back in my early college years.
My bulimic habits may have been fueled by some psychological, social, and emotional issues, but I firmly believe the problem that allowed the fire to catch was my body’s physiologic dependence on flour, mixed with a little butter and sugar. During family practice residency, as I counseled my diabetics, I always tossed up a prayer to the Power that Is, asking, “Please don’t ever give me diabetes. I couldn’t give up eating this stuff, no matter what my blood sugar.”
I don’t think I’m alone. This is a story. My story. I don’t write it to air my dirty laundry; I prefer people to think I’m perfect. Stop laughing already.
My hand hovered over the blog site’s “Publish” key quite awhile before I submitted these two bulimia posts. However, push it I did. There’s no “one size fits all” in this life, but maybe my story will resonate with somebody.
A few years ago, one of my much-nicer-than-I-am sisters told me as we were politely gossiping (we always politely and kindly gossip) about somebody, “Well, everybody’s got some addiction, I suppose.”
“Everybody?” I thought. “Not me.” Alcohol, gambling, or exercise? Nope, nope, and nope. Sex? Shopping? Nope, nope. “No addiction here,” I thought.
Until the GAPS diet I started last year for my GI tract difficulties stared me in the face. To oversimply the GAPS diet: no grains, no sugar, and no high-starch foods. Carbohydrate addiction exposed.
I wasn’t caving on this thing. I was bound and determined to see if this voodoo diet called GAPS could help me poop more than once every two weeks, and no carbohydrate addiction was going to stop me. Fruits, vegetables, and meat products contain about all the nutrients I need, give or take a few nutrients here and there, and I was sticking this crazy maneuver out.
I was a caged animal. Pacing my kitchen. Throwing open cupboards. Slamming them shut. Peering in the refrigerator. Snapping it closed. Thinking, thinking, thinking. “There has to be something in this kitchen I can eat to feed this need.” But no matter how you mix them, meats and veggies don’t add up to chocolate cream pie.
I wanted the “feel-good stuff.” I needed my socially acceptable, socially encouraged, socially forced upon you FOOD. Aaaaaaahhh. Aaaaaaaaahhh.
Finally, after one year on GAPS, I’ve faced the demon, and I am in control. Not food. It was a bumpy road, with some setbacks here and there, usually involving almond flour, honey, baking soda, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and some eggs–maybe GAPS diet, SCD, Paleo, or Primal compliant–but not nutritious for me. Not for this brain.
Bulimia. Cured. Actually, cured years ago.
Carbohydrate addiction. Controlled. Maybe never cured.
Nearly 17 years ago, I really had shed bulimic habits and curbed my bulimic thoughts! However, I still intensely craved all things made from flour and ate those as the foundation of my diet. I felt safe doing that; that’s what the food pyramid said to do, in a roundabout way. My bulimia nutritionist counseled me this way.
But I don’t think it’s safe for me. There is obesity and diabetes type II in my family history. Sadly, about 6 months ago, my first cousin once removed died of complications related to obesity, and she was buried with a candy bar. A love of her life. There, but for the experiences of my life, go I.
Abstinence from food is not an option. Abstinence from processed carbohydrates is. I am grateful I found the GAPS paradigm and “related diets” to help me focus on food in a new way. GAPS desires that all people go back to eating some sort of grain products. I don’t know if I will be able to or not. I may be “Paleo” forever. Who cares what the darn you call it, real eating to promote the health of an individual organism, rather than detract from it, is absolutely ideal.
My carbohydrate monster rages again if I eat too many baked almond flour products or dates. So as much as I want to go slapping beautiful, sweet treat recipes on my blog site three times a week, I cannot. It’s not fair to me, and it’s not fair to others like me. I can make some tasty almond flour and coconut flour treats; they almost replace in my heart the wheat products I love so much. They don’t give same the euphoric kick I got out of wheat flour cakes, breads, and cookies; so the addictive forces aren’t quite as high for me. They REALLY helped me bridge this year without wheat. Without them, I would have caved for sure. But now that things are easier, I can focus better on really packing in the awesome nutrients my body really needs to function best.
Changing food choices is not an easy road for some of us. Moderation is touted, but look around, we are failing moderation. Some of us just may have to choose abstinence. My husband showed me this article, and based on my experience of finally feeling comfortable with my food choices and observation of those around me, I agree with this physician, Keith Ablow, MD.
“But we have gone way too far down the road of suggesting that addictions, in general, are beyond the control of individuals…And the choice is not beyond that person’s control. It is a measure of how much discomfort the person is willing to endure, in service to himself and others.”
I’m off to my 20th year high school graduation reunion. Have a great day or evening. To those who know me, thanks for being a part of my life. To those who don’t, I really hope you find something here that resonates with you. The best to all.