WHY // am I doing this?
This is the question I will no doubt be asking myself frequently in the weeks to come as I try to implement a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free diet.
WHY // are you doing this?
This is the question you might internally be asking me now as the terrifying concept of trying to exist without gluten, dairy and sugar sinks in.
WHY // am I blogging about it?
This is the question I am asking as I type, and that you might be asking as you read this post.
On Saturday evening I announced frustratedly to my mum that I felt bloated 70% of the time. This isn't the first time I've made this kind of angry statement: for as long as I can remember, I have struggled with IBS-like symptoms on a daily basis. There are certain foods that I won't eat if I'm with people, certain foods I won't eat if I want to feel pretty, certain foods I won't eat if I don't want to feel like a sickened, bloated zombie. Over the years, the list of these 'certain foods' has lengthened until I very rarely go a day without experiencing mild to moderate discomfort. I have watched enviously as my friends get up after a heavy pasta meal looking slim and comfortable while I heave myself off the chair, unable to suck in my now distended stomach. I have attended wedding receptions where I find myself looking at the bride tucking into dinner and knowing that I would not - could not - eat any of those things on my wedding day without swelling up like a balloon by 5pm.
And yet I have chosen to remain in denial for the longest time. I didn't want to keep a food diary or go through the elimination diet, like some suggested, because then I would be faced with the unavoidable truth that my very favourite foods were awful for my body. I loved bread, chocolate, pasta, butter, cakes, and sauces too much to purge them from my diet. I still love all of these things (chocolate cake! hot cross buns! spaghetti carbonara!) but they don't love me. And this unrequited love, this tragic tale of love lost, has led me to do the unthinkable. My mum's simple response to my outraged complaining was this: "Well, you know what you need to do." And, indeed, I do know what I need to do: give up gluten, dairy and sugar for an undetermined period of time.
So here I am, on Day 2 of a reluctant but necessary journey. I don't want to come across as that person. I'm not going to be making anyone feel guilty, I'm not going to be food-shaming, and I am going to try very hard not to go on about my new eating regime. Believe me, I am shocked at the fact I am actually going through with this - anyone who knows me knows that I have done my fair share of scoffing at things like quinoa.
I've already been experimenting a bit with Ru's new vegan recipe book - the Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon - and made some gluten-free granola and a gorgeous dairy-free chocolate smoothie. Ru's been a fan of this kind of eating for a while now, and so I've already been depending on her knowledge when it comes to things like substitution. I've told myself that I will be positive about this, and that it is possible.
So why am I blogging about this? In a word: accountability. I want to prove to myself that I can do something as difficult as changing my diet, and posting about it is both a personal promise and a public pledge.
I'll be gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free. But hopefully I'll also be bloating-free. I'll be pain-free. I might, essentially, just be free.