I've been Paleo for three years now, strict. I know what I am eating and how it affects me. Which is why my infrequent but severe attacks of acute gas and indigestion have baffled me.
My attack yesterday would be my fourth attack ever.
Is it the coconut? No.
Occasional seeds? No.
I've even gone on a bacon fast to see if that was the culprit. Thank the stars, no.
It starts with a small headache. Low and in the background at first the dull pain in my head grows over the course of a day. Since going Paleo I never get headaches - unless this is about to happen: the horrible gas.
Not just "you smelt it you dealt it" gas. This is painful gas.
Actually, I think it's the gas that causes the headache. I'm like a balloon being over-filled about to burst. (Nice, huh?)
Usually I do.
I know. Ewww.
It is a relief when I actually throw up. Sometimes I try to throw up just get it all out so I can stop the pounding in my head, the aching in my neck and shoulders, and the stabbing pain in my gut.
This horrible feeling lasts about 2-3 days. Sleep is a welcome oblivion when I can get it.
When I felt the headache coming on yesterday I was angry. I did not have time to be sick. I was too busy homeschooling three children, dealing with an "issue" in my life, and masterminding the heck out of things.
What did I eat differently?!??!?!
Hold the phone.
That's when it hit me.
"I was angry."
Yes. Yes, I was. In fact, I had been spit-mad angry about something since late Saturday evening. I was stressed out to the gills, swirling around in my head about something I could not stop obsessing over. On Monday morning I starting to get that low-grade headache and then, on Monday evening, I was starting that painful burping.
This was the same pattern as the other times.
Now that I thought about it, each gas attack coincided with a hard 48 hours where something I was bothered about had me eyes-glaring angry or pull-my-hair-stressed. The gas attack brought me to my knees and I stopped caring about that other issue, just begging for physical relief. I was always so grateful when my body felt better again I forgot to be angry or stressed or upset about what was bothering me in the first place.
Like cleaning up my diet with Paleo, I have done a lot of work to clean up my life. I do not walk around angry or stressed out or worried often. This is why, like these gas attacks, I can count on my hand how many times I have been spit-fire angry or really freaked out in a year.
Come to find out they line up.
So this time, instead of analyzing my diet, I cleaned up my emotions. I consciously sought relief. I meditated. I breathed evenly. I reminded myself that nothing was more important than that I feel good. I let that thing that was bothering me so much go.
And you know what happened?
As my mind calmed, my stomach did, too. My gas dissipated. My headache dissolved and I felt fine again. No more burping. No more headache. No desire to throw up.
I am still a bit shocked about it all as I type this but I guess it makes sense. Stress probably churns up your stomach acid. I could research it but I don't want to right now. I'm too happy with my own personal healing to bother. :)
And now I know what to do next time. Eat the bacon. Laugh with life. Done.
"How are you doing?" my husband asked.
I frowned. I had just been thinking about how comprised I felt being 9 1/2 weeks pregnant and how it reminded me of when I used to eat gluten.
I'm not complaining. (Well, maybe a little.) I want this baby. This is a choice. I know how blessed I am to have an awesome husband, two amazing daughters and the opportunity to have one more. I do.
But now that I have experienced outrageous relief on my Paleo diet in my body, I'm a bit floored at how it feels to have a body working this hard again just to get through the day. This time it's for a good cause, but before it was just to survive the diet I was feeding it.
I'm having a revelation here.
The other week a salesman was trying to sell me meat out of the back of his van. When I told him we only eat grass-fed beef because we are Paleo it started the discussion I am now quite fond of, if just for the entertaining way people's eyes bulge out.
"What's Paleo?" he asked.
"Well, we eat like a Paleolithic cave man. No grains or sugar or processed food. No dairy. No beans."
"What? No grains? No bread? How do you live without bread?"
I recently went to a wedding. Buffet. Cake. Food everywhere. It was a joyous occasion and I loved being there. In the past I would have used a wedding as an excuse to eat. "Of course I'll have cake!" (and everything else, too, whether I was full or not).
But this time I celebrated the bride and groom with a smile, a bottle of water and a small cooler filled with Paleo snacks. (Bacon and dates, anyone?) I was happy as a clam and I felt great, too.
I looked at the cake a lot. It was a beautiful two-tiered, square affair with light blue frosting flowers. I really thought it was gorgeous. But I didn't want to eat it.
Or did I?
Paleo is not about what you eat, it's about what you don't eat.
I'm not sitting around eating vegetables while holding my nose like I'm in 5th grade and my parents are tormenting me with asparagus again. Rather, I'm not eating anything that causes inflammation in my body, chains me with addictive behavior or smacks me - and everyone else around me - with mood swings.
Cutting those things out of my diet made me feel happy, instantly.
I feel free!
My friend sent me the funny gluten-free video below and we threw back our heads and laughed. Both of us were gluten-free for months before we went Paleo and we each agree:
Life is easier when you're Paleo.
Even now, after a year of eating Paleo, I can't think about "eating healthy".
That sounds so boring. And forced. Like my mom making me clean my room.
I remember when I first went gluten-free. It was February 2011 and in less than 24 hours I felt like a new person. No more brain fog or grouchiness. No more fatigue or food cravings. I lost 20 lbs eating gluten-free junk. That's because I did it to feel less crappy, not to eat healthy.
I like the easy Paleo stuff.