Tears and guacamole. Come to the table; you’re not alone.
Hi there! So this will be my first completely transparent post. A new uncharted ground for me but one I know I need to stand on; journey on. Anyone that knows me, knows I love the table. I love what it represents. I love to gather people around it. To ‘break bread’ together is truly sacred and is one of my greatest treasures. So I’m about to ramble on about my health journey but if you want the cliffsnotes version, it’s this dear one: we ALL have our quirkiness, you are not alone, you are invited, wanted and accepted at the table; no matter what. Just show up.
I will work my way backwards a bit in this story but here’s a recent snapshot. We were with extended family at a Mexican food restaurant over the holidays. The server was making his way around the table taking orders. When he got to me, I discreetly as I could (I ALWAYS feel like I’m high maintenance because I am and that’s okay;)), asked the server what vegetables were available. I had already called ahead that day and found out that all the meat had a marinade that included ingredients I couldn’t have. When he ran through the list of veggies, not kidding, this has never happened, I could have NONE of them. Zero. So with tears stinging my eyes (l was so sad and hungry) and trying to pull myself together (telling my tears to just STOP), I swallowed and ordered a side of romaine lettuce. That’s all that could work for me from this menu and did I mention I was hungry? And even more hungry to ‘break bread’ with everyone else. Not just visit and wait to eat until we got home which can often be the case. As the entrees were delivered to the table, this particular night, I felt so stinking alone. And in that loneliness, I felt Jesus scoop me up and meet me and love me exactly where I was. It so just happened that we had ordered table side guacamole which became my meal. Blessing. It had a little extra heat that night that I was suppose to be avoiding but it worked. Praising God then and now I can still eat avocados. So in my tears, loneliness and guacamole, He met me there.
So a little background on my journey with food. I started eating grain-free refined sugar free over 7 years ago and quickly realized how much my overall health improved. I still had unhealthy habits (Diet Coke, artificial sweeteners, lots of processed stuff...) but for the most part, I was feeling great. However, I was on a prescription medication for digestive issues. I would like to say that I just had an aha moment of holistic health but that path wasn’t my choice until our insurance changed and that single prescription medication was now going to cost $400 a month. And not to mention, I didn’t even love the way it worked. So it was at this juncture (now over 4 years ago), that I chose to not continue the medication and jump in with both feet to a more holistic approach to my health. I cut out any and all artificial anythings. No more Diet Coke. No more artificial sweetener in my coffee (that was a tough one). No more artificially sweetened protein bars, etc. Blessings followed; cleaning up my diet did truly improve my overall health and I no longer needed the prescription medication.
Fast forward a bit in time to a couple of years ago and I started battling heavy (for me) outbreaks of eczema. Some were more discrete, no less painful, but not so visible. But the absolute worst was on my lips. It’s so hard to describe. I want to say they are like severely chapped lips and then imagine the most hideous clown lips and you get the picture. If I smiled too big, they would crack and bleed. They were always burning and blistering down into the crease in my chin. It hurt for anything to touch them; including kisses from my man. To forgo the long list of practitioners I consulted for help, all the way from dermatologist to acupuncturist, I settled into working hard to heal my gut and then prayerfully, seeing that health making its way to my skin. So early September I started following the autoimmune protocol. It’s kinda funny (not funny at all) that I thought it would be restrictive until I had to keep removing foods to see what my triggers were/are. Based on feedback from some holistic practitioners, during this healing time, I have been eating ONLY meat, limited vegetables and specific fats. And lots of bone broth. That’s it. It is now mid January and I have a few answers as to what creates more immediate flare-ups and my lips are stronger. They’re not completely healed; I still have lots of questions and I still suffer flare-ups but my lips aren’t cracking on the edges and the sensitivity seems to be lessening. My goal is to continue to get stronger AND add so many of my loves back into my diet. I wish I could put a bow on it all but I’m just not there yet. But here’s what I will commit to: I will keep showing up. I will cry over guacamole or espresso or anything else. And I will meet you at the table with open arms.
I share all of this because what I didn’t realize coming into this was how having so many food restrictions would be so isolating for me; physically and emotionally. But here’s the deal, we all have different journeys. We ALL go through things that make us feel isolated, alone. The enemy wants nothing more than for us to feel defeated and outcast; we are not. Let’s keep showing up. Let’s come to the table hungry and ready to break bread and to be held. Whatever has you feeling isolated; let it go. Let’s take back our space together. Share you. You are loved. The journey is worth it. The table is worth it. We’re worth it.