Keep On Going

Why is it that making a change for ourselves has to involve everyone else we know and love?

Because what you do, I care about because it affects you. What I do, you care about because it affects me. And we all have ideas about what is good and what is bad for us. And we don’t want each other to be hurt.

So when we try to do something new for ourselves, especially in terms of health or wellness, we get a lot of resistance. It hasn’t been tried much. Media hasn’t caught on fire with it. Doctors wouldn’t approve of it. Or just don’t know about it. So naturally, our loved ones are going to question, bug, and all out resist what we try.

Sometimes, the clash ends well. We reach agreements, understanding, and most importantly, we see positive results. And the new stuff becomes commonplace, and we all return to eating egg yolks.

Sometimes, it’s not going to end well. We are just too deeply rooted in something. We’ve been told for so long one way, and we can’t begin to accept the other way. And we end up divided, some eating breakfast as the most important meal of the day, and others skipping it. Hopefully, everyone still sits together at the table to talk.

I’ve experienced both ends of the spectrum. And sometimes, I make compromises. One of the most effective diet changes I’ve made was to eliminate wheat for six months. Depression, mood swings, and joint aches all just vanished. I treated bread and pasta like rat poison. This caused surprise, anger, arguments, silent treatments, awkward situations, and all sorts of emotional turmoil for me, my family, my friends, and even my coworkers.

I spent hours thinking of what to cook, how to cook it, and how to pack food for lunch at work. Lunch with my boss and coworkers became less frequent, and lunchtime became a solitary ordeal. Visiting family often involved heated talks about food. It took a lot of work, a lot of effort, some pain, and tons of thinking to make a wheat-free diet happen. And the results were priceless. Just from that strict period of avoiding wheat, my mind, my body, my life changed for the better.

I still eat bread and desserts once in a while, knowing it’s gonna hurt. And it does. I know my limits. In the long game, I know where I’m headed. And I have to avoid wheat for my wellness. But it’s my decision moment by moment, even after the struggles I overcame. So I move forward.

Here’s the thing. Change comes when you try something new. Or when someone else does. And then, a dialogue opens. One person expresses interest, disgust, excitement about what the other is doing. And from there, it can be a long road to mutual understanding. For that to happen, you’ve got to be willing to share. What are you doing, why, and how.

Sharing means to open yourself up to critique. People get the chance to say things about what you’re doing. And you might feel vulnerable. But it’s the catalyst for change. And if you really believe in what you’re doing, because it’s changed your life, or it’s brought real benefits, or it’s made you a better person, remember the utmost important thing.

To keep on going.

Live powerfully,


Continuing Never

I felt, until recently, that being with friends meant that I could relax on my diet. I thought I should enjoy myself on the occasions that I was with people I loved.

I realized that I wasn’t in any kind of safe zone with nutrition just because I was with friends. I saw myself suffering the consequences of eating recklessly on these occasions, and even though I was having a good time, the aftermath just wasn’t worth it.

The hardest part was saying no when everyone else was eating something. I didn’t want to go against the grain, literally and figuratively. But this was me being externally oriented.

I should do as I please, and follow an inner orientation with all things. Especially food, which nourishes me and makes me who I am in large part. Meals can be social, but they shouldn’t be detrimental to personal wellness. But it’s hard. I’m human.

Recently I’ve returned to a near total abstinence from wheat. I say near total because so many different foods contain wheat, especially when eating out. Even sauces that are thicker tend to contain some sort of flour. But I’m doing my best.

It’s been about a month. The longest time I went strictly without wheat was a six month stretch, and the benefits were amazing. Though I’ve been minimizing wheat in my diet during the interim, the effect is not the same as completely avoiding the grain.

So once more, I am dodging wheat in every situation. The hardest part, again, is that everyone else is eating it.

So here’s the thing: it’s moment by moment. Setting a goal of never is daunting. It certainly hasn’t worked for me in a lot of areas. But seeing never as just a collection of individual moments helps. A lot. It’s easy to say no this one time. I don’t think about all the other times I need to say no for this to be never.

I could be miserable as the only one not eating cronuts, but I actually find peace in not eating. It’s a quiet appreciation of knowing my place. I understanding that I don’t need everything that is good. And I just have to make the decision for the one moment, as it comes. With no burden of forever.

It allows me to enjoy more of the moment with friends. Not indulging in a specific thing is a way of turning on mindfulness and focusing on the stuff that really matters to me. Rather than assume I should enjoy everything, I’m choosy with my attention.

So whatever it is that doesn’t work for us, whether it be a food, substance, or thought, we can make a decision about it just once when the moment comes. And we don’t have to worry about all the other times in the future we’ll say no. Because it’s not happening right now. Now, you only have one decision to make.

Live powerfully,


I Have a Problem

I’m addicted to wheat.

I’m not sure when it started. Maybe the very first bite of cereal or cookie as a child. Maybe during high school when I jumped on the high carb muscle builder band wagon. It could have been in college when I ate a regular menu of bagel for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, pasta for dinner. And desserts of course.

At the time, of course, I didn’t connect my diet to joint pains, knotted muscles, headaches, and mood swings. I attributed those to hard workouts, sports, and lack of sleep. Which probably didn’t help. But the problems persisted past college and into my mid-twenties, when I wasn’t playing rugby. I nailed down wheat as the culprit after much research and experimentation.

So, simple, now I stop eating wheat, and problems go away. Actually, this is exactly what happened. I started a hardcore wheat restriction for six months, eating rice for dinner and butter coffee with eggs, bacon, and no toast for breakfast. Things changed rapidly. Mood swings, joint pains, knots, headaches retreated and then vanished. I was a different person.

And then I had a dessert. A sweet bread or something, I don’t even remember. And when I do dessert, I really do dessert. I felt groggy, irritable, and achy. Then I fell asleep on the floor where I sat. When I woke up a couple of hours later, I felt miserable. I had the trademark headache, a hungover feeling, and just anger.

The tricky thing is that I never noticed how hard it was to not eat wheat until I began to avoid it.

For several days following this night, I kept craving bread, pasta, desserts. I just had this silent, inner urge to eat them. It was very strange. But now I understand it. I’ve gone through this cycle many times since. Why I would ever touch something with wheat in it, I still have trouble figuring. But that’s how addiction works.

I think I am truly addicted to wheat. Along with many, many, many other people. I’m pretty sure if everyone tried to do without it forever, people would find it a much harder task than it seems. And not because there’s a lack of nutrition that can replace it. I see the same symptoms in wheat addicts as those who are addicted to narcotics. Denial, craving, relapse, remorse.

Now, wheat is not as dangerous as cocaine or heroin. Is it? Perhaps not. But look at what Dr. William Davis, author of Wheat Belly, says:

“If you have an addictive relationship with wheat, e.g. one pretzel or one Twizzler (yes: wheat is the second ingredient) makes you want to eat the whole bag, then complete avoidance is also advisable. Because wheat triggers cravings that people often cannot stop once it starts, it is best to avoid wheat-containing foods altogether.

Many people who remove wheat from their diet have what I call “wheat re-exposure reactions” experienced as abdominal cramps, gas, and diarrhea (just like food poisoning); asthma attacks; joint swelling and pain; and emotional effects such as anxiety in women and rage in men.”

I second that phrase, “rage in men”. It is no joke. I get rage.

So, like many other addicts, I take a step toward recovery. I tell you, my name is Steve, and I am an addict.

Hi Steve!

Live powerfully.