January 1st always feels like a fresh slate, but I like to think we can all have a clean start every Monday so today I’m challenging you guys to join me on my quest to feel better this month. It’s never too late to start feeling good!
After the holidays I pretty much always feel like a congested, achy blob, so this year I started a little early and the day after Christmas I gave up gluten, dairy, and wine… A random combo, you say? Why yes, it might seem that way from the outside but after years of listening to my body, I’ve learned that when I cut these three things from my diet, I feel my best.
And guess what? I’m feeling good… like really good. And on top of it, I lost the last of my baby weight in the process which was a happy accident.
Here is how I learned that these foods negatively impact me:
About eight years ago I had sinus polyps which meant that I couldn’t taste or smell anything for a year… a YEAR! It was awful and so annoying. I went to a homeopathic doctor who had me cut all gluten, dairy (I was already dairy free), sugar, citrus, alcohol, and caffeine. My polyps started shrinking and my sense of smell started to come back. I ended up getting surgery to remove the polyps because I just wanted to nip it in the bud, but in the process I learned just how much food can impact your health.
Then last year when I was trying to get pregnant, Aimee suggested that I give up gluten and wine (I was allowed vodka and tequila only). After about two weeks, it felt really easy and I had never felt better. I got pregnant a month later after 2 miscarriages and trying for 18 months with no success. Go figure!
I’ve always had sinus issues and when the weather starts to get cold I’m constantly blowing my nose and feeling congested. Ever since I started this January challenge, my sinuses are almost 100% clear. It’s actually mind blowing how much these three food groups (yes wine is a food group) can affect me. Not only do my sinuses feel clear, but my stomach isn’t ever upset, I have more energy, and I’m just plain happier.
Let me break it down…
Gluten Free: I don’t have Celiac Disease and I don’t have a gluten allergy, but I notice that when I go gluten free I feel better and my belly fat (hate that phrase) disappears into thin air. Every time! A lot of the gluten-free alternative foods are packed full of crap so just watch out for that. For gluten-free snack ideas, check out my go-to 15 favorite snacks.
Dairy Free: I was dairy free for 10 years because of what I was pretty sure was a whey allergy (I was always sick as a kid and had constant stomach pain until I finally gave up dairy in my early 20s), but then I got pregnant and started craving cheese so hard that I gave in and just went for it. What was crazy was that I had no issues with it whatsoever when I was pregnant and breastfeeding. Sadly, the second I stopped breastfeeding, it made me pretty violently ill again and made me very stuffed up. Luckily after so much time living a dairy-free life, I am used to it so it’s not hard for me anymore. I do eat ghee, butter, and parmesan cheese which don’t seem to affect me. If you’re looking for ways to cut out dairy, but aren’t sure how, this Dairy-Free Pesto recipe might be a good starting point.
Wine Free: Usually I do dry January but this year I decided that after a dry 9 months, I was going to just ditch the vino. I don’t like beer (it usually has gluten anyway) so I’ve been pretty much sticking to vodka and tequila only if I’m out with friends. If it’s one of those long mom days and I really want a drink, I try my go-to ways to wind down first and usually don’t need one after that.
Ok, so now that I’ve shared my three no-no foods, tell me yours! What can you give up for the next week or two that will make you start feeling good? For more food inspiration, read my three day food diary and check out my recipes page.
Photos by Carter Fish.