Let's be clear: This isn't my ideal situation. I would love to be able to enjoy any food I want without repercussions but that will never happen. Nobody is going to give me a new body better fit to handle my favorite foods. I only have one chance with this one body for the rest of my life so I have no choice but to take care of it and make the most out of what I have. So here are some of the better things my dietary restrictions have given me:
1. I feel amazing. Being pain-free is something I'll never take for granted and it's something I rarely experienced before I discovered what I could and could not eat. When I used to feel sick and in pain nearly every day, it was always on my mind even though it was the norm. There was definitely a conscious effort to ignore it, if that's not ironic. Even though feeling great is my new normal, it still feels new and rewarding almost 3 years later.
2. I never have to eat anything I don't want to. Sure, I really miss trying other people's cooking and eating out at restaurants, but let's not think about that! Since I have to make every meal I eat, there's no reason to fill up on something I don't like. I only cook things that taste good to me. Makes sense, right?
3. It has made me a better cook. I used to be pretty good at ingredient substitutions when I didn't have time to pick something up at the store. Now that I've lost as many ingredients as I have, I've become extremely good at it. This type of eating and cooking has really forced me to get creative and learn new techniques using new ingredients. Being able to re-create favorite recipes makes me feel like I'm not giving anything up. Besides, I can make and eat all the Créme Brûlée I want. What else do I need?
4. Community. The way I eat has introduced me to a huge community of people ranging from those who eat this way because they have to, to eating this way so they can be healthier and feel their best. Everyone is so supportive, creative, and positive about their diets and that helps a lot.
5. I can help you Eat Something Delicious. Whether or not you eat like me, I love sharing my recipes. I try to provide something for everyone, including people who can eat whatever they choose - I hope that my recipes can be enjoyed by everyone. This blog has allowed me to use my undesirable situation to develop a hobby that I hope you benefit from too.
6. It's harder to make unhealthy choices. Like I said, I have to prepare all my own food. Working hard on a recipe that makes me feel like crap when I eat it, just isn't worth it. (Buying a safe treat made in a dedicated gluten-free facility sometimes is worth feeling a little crappy though ;) )
7. I get to cook...a lot! So I say I have to make my own food but that's not always a bad thing. I've loved cooking for a long time and find it very fun and rewarding. So now I get to cook all my meals plus bonus recipes for the blog! I also have an awesome collection of Meagan-friendly cookbooks.
If we look hard enough, we can take something positive from every situation. Have you experienced something similar? Is there something you wish you could change but instead are forced to accept it? If so, I encourage you to take that circumstance and turn it into something positive. Can you help somebody in a similar situation? Join a support group? Blog about it? Focus on what you can do and what your talents are. Find something you love and don't let anything stand in your way. For me, that's something a simple as cooking. What will you do?