Aah! yes, a little vacation to wake me up and make me realize why I eat paleo in the first place. Ugh! I just got back from our family trip to Louisiana and I feel awful! Don’t get me wrong. We had a wonderful time with family and I miss the terribly, but I do not miss all the complications with choosing the right foods. I knew it was going to be difficult to eat completely paleo, especially in the south, especially in New Orleans. Here is what I didn’t know, and I wonder if I should have been more prepared.
This guilt was two fold. At first, I felt guilty immediately walking into the door of Tim’s grandmother’s house. She couldn’t wait to show us all the gluten free products that she found, including pancake mix. I felt like I had to eat it. She went through all that trouble. Explaining to people that paleo is more than just gluten free is like telling them I eat bugs or something. “Well, What do you eat?” I began to hate this question. “I don’t eat crap,” I wanted to say while they devoured the crap that I was referring to. How do you say that without sounding like a complete food snob? So it was just easier to just eat the gluten free pancakes, crackers, and candy (ok, ok. The candy was my choice). Then the second guilt showed up. “I can’t believe I just ate that,” I would wallow knowing I would regret it later.
The Side Effects
This also came in several parts. The physical ones (bloating, cramping, etc) were expected. What I didn’t expect was the emotional side effects. I found myself getting sad and angry for no apparent reason. I even pleaded (with tears) with my husband to help me find paleo options when we went down to the French Quarter the next day. I also couldn’t believe how dang tired I was all the time. I had absolutely no energy. Instantly, I knew that it had to be from the small amount of grain and sugar that I had allowed back into my diet.
So how prepared do you need to be? I packed some of our own food including, snacks, cereal, and salad dressing. But maybe that just wasn’t enough. Maybe I just wasn’t ready to go be on my own, away from my own house. Other people’s home and restaurants provide too much of a temptation. There are so many gluten free options out there that are so delicious. I thought as long as I still stayed away from gluten I would be safe. Ha Ha! I know many think this, but you are probably experienced the same issues. Maybe I just need to be more forceful when eating at someone’s house. Believe it or not, it was easier to eat out at a restaurant than it was to eat with family. Tim’s grandmother had found our favorite grain free bread! Yay! But no matter how many times I said I didn’t want mayonnaise on my roast beef po boy, there was always mayo on that sandwich! How do you balance tactfulness without being rude? I just want to make my own sandwich!!
Now that we have been home for a few days, it is harder to stay away from the foods I know I shouldn’t eat. Withdrawal is hard, but I am happy to be home. I know it will take awhile for my tummy and body to be happy with my again. I am actually looking forward to planning out my meals for the week and heading back to our regular schedule.
There is a plus side to all this discomfort. I have learned so much from my first vacation away from strictly paleo habits. I continue to learn new ways that my body reacts to food, and in the long run that is helpful. Secondly, I have so many new ideas inspired by New Orleans cuisine. I wish I could spend all my time in the kitchen to practice. My jambalya recipe is almost ready to share. I am also thinking of a gumbo and of course, a king cake. Yum 🙂