But, but I like gluten!

So the entry after writing about how I like to listen to my body – diet and exercise-wise – I’m writing about diet changes.

In August, my doctor found a cyst in my breast, commonly caused by excess caffeine consumption. I was told to cut it down to one cup of coffee or tea per day. I tried. Really I did. I was drinking 2-3 cups per day. I eliminated that occasional third, and got it down to two. 16 ounces.

I texted my friend, who had similar issues, to tell her I’m just going to have to do the cyst drained, because I can’t get it down to one. But I became more mindful about my caffeine. I don’t just refill without thinking anymore.

In October, I saw an internist because I was feeling nauseated or dizzy if I went long without eating. And by “long,” I’m taking two hours. The doctor told me my body doesn’t have enough reserves (apparently this isn’t uncommon for slender, active women). He said there’s little to no room in my diet for sugar or other worthless food. Everything I eat needs to be high-quality protein, grains, veggies, etc. He advised I swap high-sugar fruits like grapes and pineapple for apples and pears. I needed to swap cookies for a nut-packed trail mix.

This shift was a little easier for me. I’ve been cutting way back on sugar the last couple of years (save for the week Tara visited). I don’t drink soda or eat white bread.

To comply with doctor’s orders, I:

  • stopped relying on sugar-packed granola bars for work snacks and started bringing apple slices with a swiss cheese wedge and plain yogurt with pumpkin-flax granola for snacks.
  • replaced my morning cereal with peanut butter on multi-grain toast.
  • swapped white pita chips for lentil chips and carrots as the vehicles for hummus-to-mouth.
  • added chicken to my salads.
  • went to Bougie James’ house twice for steak. Confession: I hate cooking meat. I eat it with no problem, but raw meat grosses me out. That’s why I usually eat beans instead.
  • stocked up on steam-in-the-bag veggies. So easy & delicious, too.
  • made three big pots of protein-&veggie-packed soups for my freezer.

I was feeling good about my diet shifts until Thursday when I saw a new dermatologist, last stop on the Tune Up 2013 Tour. First of all, I loved the doctor. She talked the entire time she was checking my moles, giving me helpful tips and talking about rosacea triggers. Then she told me, “I can be as natural as you want me to be. It sounds like you want to treat this naturally, or I can give you the pills.”

I told her I wanted to treat it naturally, if possible. “I think you should try being gluten-free,” she said point-blank. Nooooooooo! I wanted to scream. I change my mind. Give me the pills.

The doctor went on to say everyone has their trigger. Usually it’s gluten, but it could be dairy or sugar. Spicy food, alcohol and hot beverages are universally bad for rosacea.

She also told me to take vitamin A and vitamin B6 and B12 supplements as well as a probiotic. She wrote out notes for me.

Then I asked for the pill and cream prescriptions as a backup. I filled the cream and bought all the recommended vitamins. I decided I’d start the elimination diet after Thanksgiving because well, Thanksgiving and because I have a kitchen full of food that I don’t want to go to waste.

So my dilemma is whether to start the gluten-free or dairy-free part first. I’m supposed to do six weeks of each. I think dairy-free might be easier (except did I mention there’s a pizza place in my building?), but I also suspect gluten is my problem, not dairy.

Now accepting your advice.

Published by Candace

I’m a journalist, nutritionist, doting auntie, one-time bobsledder, and wannabe health nut (who loves chocolate and pizza too much to fully commit). I don't want you to think my life is perfect. It's not.

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