Not this time.
Yes, February 11th will mark the official start of my five-month stint into a very challenging adventure that I'm lovingly chronically here, The Rabbit Food Diaries. I'm beginning a gluten-free, vegan-friendly, whole foods, plant-based diet (read the first post here to find out why) - and I've already started cutting things out of my life. The first few that were relatively easy to break up with were alcohol, meats, and most dairy, which really has been helpful to aid in getting my body ready for this big diet change. I was worried this past week because I began having some pretty epic headaches, even though I was eating super healthy. So, I started reading up (naturally), and apparently it's something a lot of people experience. The changes my body is currently going through (and about to go through more intensely, sorry bod) is making my system re-regulate itself and detox all the bad I've been putting into it - fried foods, added sugars, sodas, intense amounts of white flour and breads - I'm pretty sure it's just massively confused right now. I've felt foggy, like a grade-A space cadet, with headaches and nausea here and there. I thought I'd turned a corner recently, finding several stellar restaurants that serve great TRFD-friendly foods here in New York, while the headaches have blessedly gotten less intense.
And then... I went to the grocery store. Not to my little, organic, family-friendly produce market where all the hipsters in my neighborhood go (no hate, it's my favorite!). I went to the actual supermarket. And they had everything there - EVERYTHING, y'all! - from my favorite Velveeta Mac and Cheese to the White Chocolate Peppermint Pretzels that are leftover from this past holiday's food stockpiles (they're one of my favorite things on this whole entire planet). And I was not okay. I picked items up, I put them down. I picked them up again, reading the labels, thinking, "meh, maybe I can get away with this?" and then putting them down again, realizing how ridiculous I was being.
And then I got to the oats aisle. There were so many different options, and I felt incredibly overwhelmed. Some of them said, "gluten-free," others didn't. Some were instant, some were steel-cut or slow-rolled. Some were thick, some were fine. There were different flavors. And, of course, I didn't write down EXACTLY what kind I needed. So, I googled from my phone, "Is oatmeal gluten free?" The answer that I got was not as straightforward as I had wanted, so I proceeded to spend 45 minutes staring, looking at every single oat brand until I gave up - only to circle back around to the same aisle 15 minutes later. Visibly upset (I'm sure) at the amount of choices, and the mislabeling, and the many questions that I had that I knew none of the clerks around me would be able to answer, I was so mixed up that I almost had a straight-up panic attack on the supermarket floor.
All of this said, I realize now that all it takes is just a little more planning and a LOT of self-control. Telling myself "no," especially when I don't want to hear it, is probably one of the hardest lessons I'm going to learn from all this when it comes to food and regulating my diet. I've always, always had this love affair with comfort foods (I miss butter so much, I can't even begin to talk about it), so I'm really not sure if I'm going to be able to go back to that grocery store for a while. The produce sections, while very reassuring, colorful, and welcoming, are overshadowed by the horrors of the bread and cereal aisle. And don't even get me talking about when I walked by the bacon. Or the beer. Or the potato chips. Le sigh.
At the end of this whole ridiculous trip (after I freaked out over these things that in the long run hopefully I'll be able to grow-up and get past), I was able to find a brand of gluten-free oats that I'm sure will be delicious in an overnight oatmeal recipe that I've been dying to try. I also found a pack of "pretzels" that are vegan and gluten free - which, mind you, taste nothing like the glorious gluten-filled real pretzels, but are crunchy and delicious nonetheless. This is going to take a lot more getting used to than I thought, so if you need me, I'll be the girl in the grocery aisle tearing up while looking at ingredient listings on the labels.
If you have any tips, blogs, recipes, or books that would be good for me to take a peek at, please feel free to tweet @hippieteaparty, or e-mail me suggestions at email@example.com.