Before I was diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency, and was attempting to use Google instead of a medical professional, I self-diagnosed as having adrenal fatigue. It very neatly checked off all of the boxes for what I was feeling and what I knew to be wrong. Of course, there still could be adrenal issues (though my bloodwork tells me my thyroid is just fine).
My self-diagnosis led to a massive change in my eating habits. I read a few books and blogs and decided to follow an adrenal fatigue diet, which is fundamentally incompatible with veganism. I’ve re-incorporated eggs and poultry and fish into my diet, and I’ve stopped referring to it as cheating when I have dairy. I’ve eliminated all processed sugars and refined carbohydrates like bread and pasta. I’m eating small meals/snacks every three hours.
Overall, I think I’m getting healthier, and I’ve continued this eating plan even after getting my vitamin D deficiency diagnosis.
But here’s where I have to be careful: I can’t call it a diet. I can’t say “I’m following an adrenal fatigue diet” or “that food isn’t ok on my diet.” I have two young girls, and I’m raising them in a country full of body issues, where you’re shamed if you don’t fit a size zero, but you’re also bombarded with ads that say things like ‘real women have curves.’ What’s a girl to do? Starve yourself skinny and be told you aren’t a real woman? Gain weight and be told you aren’t pretty because you aren’t model-thin? Stress over your food and measure every calorie? Workout so you’re allowed to indulge in a piece of cake? Constantly worry about what you can and cannot eat?
I want my daughters to be healthy. I want them to feel good about themselves and their bodies. Will and I often preach moderation, yes you can have cookies, in moderation. Focus on healthy foods to help your mind and body grow. Sugar, yes, in moderation (especially at Grandma’s house). Run and play and climb because it’s fun, not because you need to work off your food.
I don’t want them to hear me talk about being on a diet. I don’t want them to grow up thinking that going on diets and depriving oneself is a way of life. I don’t want to normalize the concept of ‘dieting’ as deprivation. I don’t want them to look back and think ‘oh, my mama was always on a diet, that’s the way it should be.’
So I tell them I’m trying a new eating plan, and I’m trying different things to get myself healthier. And they ask me if things are on my eating plan. I was at the grocery store with Mellow and she held up a bag of lollipops and said “Mama? Can you have these? Are these on your eating plan?” and of course I told her they aren’t on my eating plan, but they are on hers, as long as she doesn’t eat too many at once.