hooray for hives

Ok, so maybe hives aren’t something to cheer about, but I simply love when my body communicates with me about the food I eat. Most recently, I thought I wanted Werther’s Original Hard Candies, so I got a small bag of them. The first day I had a few, no reaction. The second day, I wasn’t as keen on them but I had a couple anyway. The third day, I had a couple more and broke out in hives on my face. I wasn’t sure if it was the candy or not, so the next day I had another one… and they were back. I haven’t eaten any since (been over a week now).

I’ve started a list of things I’ve had negative reactions to – most of which weren’t as dramatic as hives. Since I’m making an effort to notice a food’s taste, texture, and how I feel when I eat it, I’m noticing that things I thought I really liked… I don’t. Take oreos for example. I had a couple the other day and they actually felt like they burned the inside of my mouth… plus, it seemed like they had a “chemical” aftertaste. The husband asked if I wanted oreos last night and I said, “Nah, I don’t think I like them anymore.”

Of course, I’ve already told you what happened with the Chocolate Cake. Well, I had a small chocolate cupcake this past week, and my nose crinkled (remembering my gag). I probably could have stopped at one bite. I didn’t, but I definitely noted that I have an aversion to chocolate cake now.

I was on a “bagel for breakfast” (with strawberry jam) kick for so many weeks. Why? Because bagels were something I denied myself for years (ever since my “low carb” days) I started noticing that my stomach would hurt a little while after I ate my morning bagel. So I cut back to half a bagel. That seemed ok for a few days, till one morning I was really hungry and went back to the whole bagel. My stomach hurt worse than before. I stuck with the bagel for a couple of days, but so far this week, I’ve been eating bananas and oranges instead for breakfast. Why? Because I started asking myself if I actually wanted the bagel… of course reminding myself that my tummy usually hurts not long after.

Now, I’m not saying I wouldn’t have eaten a donut if it were in the house, but I’ve even developed an aversion there. This particular aversion took place over the summer when the kids were out of town (and I wasn’t even trying to become an intuitive eater then). The husband and I had donuts several mornings in a row and I had such horrible sinus issues for days. It was like when I lived in Texas with debilitating seasonal allergies (chronic sinus/respiratory infections/bronchitis…etc). We stopped eating them, and my sinuses cleared. Then, just to be sure it was the donuts (and because I wasn’t sure I wanted to “let go” of them), I had them again for a couple of mornings… ack, it was back! I’ve also noticed the same “burning” in my mouth when I eat donuts that I got with the oreos. So, I rarely eat donuts now because it is not worth it to me.

Of course, I said “rarely”, because occasionally my inner “diet rebel” overrides my desire to avoid discomfort. (more on the “diet rebel” another day)

You may be thinking, “Well, of course you shouldn’t be eating those terribly unhealthy foods.” Ok, I suppose that’s fair… if you’re clinging to diet mentality. But what about grapes? Grapes are supposed to be “good for you” right? Well, I think I may have a problem with grapes too. I’m still investigating that, but it’s highly probable that grapes make me break out in hives. I know my “natural grape shampoo” gave me hives (I don’t use it anymore), and the other day I may have developed a rash after having grapes two days in a row.

What about tomatoes? I’ve stopped making my kids eat things they are adverse to. Yes, I still insist they at least try something, but if they aren’t digging it, I’m not pushing it. For years I made two of my kids eat tomatoes on their salads and sandwiches because it was “good for them”. No more. As I’m going through this process, I’ve discovered that I’m not really a raw tomato fan myself (still processing the “why”) and frequently choose to leave them off my salads and sandwiches too.

Now, does this mean YOU shouldn’t eat donuts… or Werther’s Candy… or Oreos… or Chocolate Cake.. or grapes… or tomatoes? No, it means I should consider the consequences if I choose to eat them. I don’t want anyone to follow the “Jules Diet”… these discoveries I’m making are tailor made for me. You will have to make your own discoveries about what benefits or harms your own body. That’s why Intuitive Eating (Hunger Directed Eating, Mindful Eating) is so awesome. I am influenced by these personal discoveries (internal) rather than being influenced by what someone else says is good/bad for me (external).

Who knows your body better than God and you? No one! And yet, we turn our health over to the “experts” to tell us what, when, and how much to eat… I’ve got news for you, the majority of us aren’t getting any healthier as a result.

Speaking of “health”, I haven’t exactly reached the point where I am totally in love with veggies… and I’m not sure if I ever will, but I did willingly eat whole foods for breakfast this week (except for my coffee w/ salted caramel syrup and vanilla almond milk) without some book telling me to do so. Also, I have willingly eaten salads more lately, especially since I started using a dressing I actually enjoy. This is definitely progress, because what I want is to naturally eat what nourishes my body and helps it run its best. I can only accomplish this if I’m listening to how I react to the fuel I take in.

So no, hives aren’t fun, but it is fun to get feedback and know that my body can be trusted to tell me what it does and doesn’t need.

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