Back to Reality: Post Vacation

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.

The Guilt
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.

The Preparation
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!!

The Recovery
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.

The Inspiration
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 🙂

Just bring your own…always!

Paleo Lesson #4: When attending someone’s house for a BBQ, assume what you are eating will probably make you sick, no matter if you THINK the plain chicken hasn’t touched the chicken that normal people can eat. #glutencanteleport        posted July 21, 2012

Now this was such a fun night!! Well, the actual night was fun not the evening or day after. Sometimes you just need a good game night with friends. I don’t even remember the name of the game. But it has to be great when at one point you have to fall out of your chair and yell, “You’ve thwarted me once again, you vile beast!” I remember having a huge bruise on my leg from all of the times I had to do this. It was a great night. We’ll have to play again if someone can remember the name….

Anyways, you know who doesn’t play games? Gluten. It really is in so many things that may not be clearly listed, like my friend’s favorite Greek seasoning. I chose some of the chicken that didn’t have any seasoning, but you can’t expect your friends to understand that gluten can teleport to other parts of the grill. I am also sure my friend didn’t want me hovering over him the entire time making sure my chicken never touched the other chicken, or that he used different utensils when flipping. Nonetheless, the chicken was delicious and I can certainly see why this is his favorite seasoning, but my headache began even before I had finished eating. After 24 hours, I had recovered and learned that you should always just bring your own. I know it’s not fair and it sucks, but it is the safest for you and your friendships.