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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

When Healthy Choices Feel Like Punishment

You're out to dinner with friends and everyone is drinking alcohol and you choose water with lime because you don't want the effects drinking can bring later. Maybe you skip the bread. It isn't a good time for yeast and your happy with your salad and entree. Then comes dessert. You know how knocked out you'll feel for a couple of days if you eat the sugar or how your stomach will be bloated, ankles swollen or maybe a couple of days later you might have skin eruptions that will take weeks to heal. You have tea while your friends share a double chocolate fudge cake and homemade ice cream and you feel left out and frustrated but glad to stick with your food choices.

My reactions to certain foods over the years has changed. I've never been one of those people who can indulge just a little bit in unsupportive foods and just wind up a tired from it. I get reactions ranging from a little bit uncomfortable to huge blisters that take weeks to heal that are painful and ugly. It's just not worth it for me to eat the cake or have the sauce with cane sugar in it.

Sometimes there are wonderful restaurants I can steer friends to where I don't have to worry about questionable ingredients. I certainly do find myself in many a situation though where I have felt like the odd man out and cannot share in what everyone else is eating. Parties, events, even some coffee shops friends want to meet in, can feel like I'm being punished for my inability to metabolize all of these tantalizing creations. It just isn't worth it though, and I have to remember that feeling good is far better than those few minutes of fitting in and playing along.

My strategy is to tell myself that I will go and get, or make, a healthy what-ever-it-is that I'm wanting, later. Like tomorrow or next week when I return to a kitchen or a city that has something I can feel good about. Even if you live in a place that doesn't have a vegan bakery with agave sweetened delights, there is always the Internet! Babycakes ships, healthy chocolatiers ship, Diamond organics is a mail order place so there are some options.

Another option if it is a party or gathering in someones home you can bring your own dessert or dish to share with everyone. If it is in a restaurant you may want to call ahead. Often they would rather accommodate your special request rather than have you bring in outside food but some are more than happy that you bring your own cupcakes or pastry because keeping you happy means you might come back again.

I often travel with my homemade amaranth bread to eat for breakfast if I'm in a hotel for a couple of days. If I'm with others there has never been a problem while I sit at the table and enjoy my own bread and order a tea. Usually my friends or family wish they were eating what I was.

The biggest lesson I've learned to incorporate over the years so that my healthy choices do not feel like punishment is to just be happy with my choices and let go of that left out feeling. The world is very slowly recognizing that the way I've learned to eat for energy, health and vitality is the way to go, but it's slow. I can find more and more restaurants, prepared foods and as my body is always changing for the better, I do tolerate more and more so a little of this or that affects me less if I do want a taste.

Lighten up and take yourself out of the prison and into your life.
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