Without choices life seems hard, cold and impassable. When we stop growing, we stop caring about life.
In 2015 I had a meeting with destiny where I had to decide how to put myself back together again. This storm did indeed rip me to pieces. So much so that I get teary eyed writing about it, but this was necessary for me to grow and I embraced this more than I had anything in my life which was good, because I needed every ounce of courage and stamina to make it through this!
In my present I still think about those days and I occasionally have to work through some old emotions. So I had a conversation with someone I just met over the weekend and we talked about diet restrictions. As I described the level of sensitivity and allergies that I have to foods, I got a sense that maybe there was some judgment there. Maybe it was just that she felt sorry for me? I began to second guess the number of questions that she was asking me though. Cutting out grains can't possibly help she said almost like she thought I was crazy for taking the number of steps that I was taking to reverse this condition? For a brief moment, it immediately made me feel like I did when I first started on the GAPS diet years ago and how the people around me had shook their heads at me in disapproval. Once again, how can I expect to be healthy if I don't take pills? Don't stop taking those pills I was told because Colitis will kill you. How can I be healthy if I don't visit doctors weekly? You need to get some blood work, you aren't looking so good! Aren't you going to die of a heart attack if you keep eating that amount of fats, this GAPS diet is not a good choice? You mean you can't eat cereal anymore? Man, I couldn't live without bread. No, no and no.
We do have a herd mentality in this country and standing apart is tough whatever it is. Food is so in the middle of everything in our culture, so this one was tougher than a lot of things for sure. The one thing that escaped me initially in the middle of feeling sorry for myself years ago when I embarked on this, was that it all was choice. Okay, so the initial path may have had limited choices, but it was a still a choice nonetheless! And in hindsight, it was the best choice for me and working with what I had at the time opened up more options in the future. For me I knew that something had to change. I didn't want to keep beating the same non-working drum so I seemed to swim upstream on this, but in reality I wasn't resisting, I was allowing and listening to something different. A different less traveled path.
The biggest idea of this whole post is that choices can be your saving grace in this life! Even if you don't feel like you have choices, take a step back and rethink it, because you absolutely do have one. You always have a choice to reach for a better thought. If I would have stayed on the course of hating everything about my new lifestyle, I would not have succeeded one bit. Sure there is an adjustment period to change, but learning to cooperate and be partners with change is the best thing I ever did. Let me just say this, disease sucks! For anyone that spends the majority of the day dealing with the symptoms, it sure is hard to think of good things. I know this! But what I realized is that what I was doing wasn't working for me anymore. I stepped out of feeling like I was painted in a corner with no choices to one of empowerment.
There are so many options to recovery even if things look bleak. For some, medications work to put disease in remission. For some, the medications stop working. You have to be willing to see the choices in front of you and take action to find the better one for you. Its so individual! For me it was a difficult choice to completely change my habits, but things just got to the point for me where I wanted something more empowering. I knew that there was something that I was doing that was contributing to my pain. I just didn't want to believe that there were no other choices besides surgery or harsh medications. Food is medicine and rather than slowly poisoning myself, I made a choice to leverage and harness the power of it. I identified the things food and non-food that were causing me to flare and I harnessed the power inside of me. We all have it and if you are reading this, just know that you have it as well! Embrace it and always look for the better thought.
Ian Sandage is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who speaks from the personal experience of someone with autoimmune disease and the highs and lows of a health journey