I truly, truly do. There’s a difference, I’ve noticed, between liking food and liking to eat. My husband likes to eat. He’ll spend all morning working, and then come downstairs ravenous and make himself some toast and thoroughly enjoy eating it. I, however, like food. I wake up thinking about what I’m going to breakfast on, what I’ll do for lunch and then what I’ll make for tea. I play around in my head with what tweaks I’ll make to something I’ve made a thousand times before. I think about food an awful lot.
Baking is also a hobby of mine. I enjoy the whole process from concept to finished product. My youngest brother commented about a month ago that he knew I was feeling better by how many pictures of bakes I was sending him :D.
A lot of what I’ve read about recovery is based around what you eat. Most people agree that you should cut out gluten, dairy, sugar, caffeine and alcohol as an absolute minimum. When I first got sick and was doing all the reading about what I had and how to fix it, I came across these suggestions again and again, and being a foodphile, I just couldn’t take that step. Caffeine and alcohol are no-brainers…no one wants to feel like they’re dying for the sake of a mug of coffee, but sugar? dairy? gluten? Are you INSANE?
Since I started my recovery, I switched to sourdough. It took a year after I got ill to make the move because I couldn’t get my head around the instructions. Sourdough is delicious – crusty, golden and just so tasty smothered in butter and marmalade. But this year I was making progress in my energy levels and I decided that May was the month to take my eating habits more seriously.
Up until then I was eating healthy meals but still fitting in gluten-free Nairns biscuits, or cakes that I made, milk on my cereal and lots of butter. I decided May was going to be gluten, dairy and processed sugar free. That meant that I was going to have to make a concerted effort NOT to eat what I bake.
It has paid off, I actually lost weight that month whereas up until now I’ve been maintaining with Intermittent Fasting. I’ve put on a lot since getting ill so maintaining excess weight isn’t ideal. I’ve also become a lot more creative with what I make, and I’ve broken free from sugar. I still bake for the family, that loaf up there is what I make for them, but I don’t eat it. I bake a different cake for afternoon tea every Sunday, but I don’t eat it, and I genuinely don’t feel hard done by.
I now have a gluten-free sourdough starter running alongside my other one, and it’s not as bad as I expected. I make oat waffles when I fancy them, buckwheat pancakes, amaranth porridge and I use honey or maple syrup when I just want something sweet. I have 90% dark chocolate and enjoy it. I settled on coconut milk, I already eat a lot of oats and I didn’t want oat milk on top of that, and the coconut tastes lovely with the buckwheat granola I make.
The big problem you might have noticed with all this is that I currently have the energy to make a lot of food from scratch. That isn’t always the case, and I’m aware that I might drop back down to “survival mode”, in which case, I hope my husband will be up for making the granola and I’ll just make do with what I can. In the meantime, I have more energy, less brain fog and no gut issues whatsoever. I’m sticking with this way of eating for the time being and we’ll see where it takes me.