Let’s get liberated. The struggle with dietary restrictions is real, people! Honestly, letting this sh*t go is freeing as f*ck.
When I went plant-based, gluten-free, no corn/soy/oats, I had all the feels about it. And hey, where was this list eight years ago when I started this whole process? I wish someone gave me some #realtalk about the mental struggle with dietary restrictions. I could have REALLY used a lil help.
So, here are all the things I stopped doing with my allergies & dietary restrictions that made a HUGE impact on my happiness:
#1: Stop looking at your allergies as a curse.
To start, reframe it as a gift. You are healthier, more in control of what you eat, and more educated on food and agriculture. Plus, if your allergies and autoimmune diseases are some of the challenges you’re dealt with in life, consider yourself lucky. Others are born without arms and legs. And honestly, this stuff is totally figure-out-able compared to any of that.
#2: Stop believing in the scarcity mentality.
At first, I felt like there was nothing I could eat. Then, when I found something tasty, I’d binge on it since I worried I’d never find something so tasty again. Good food isn’t scarce. It is bountiful and everywhere.
#3: Stop thinking you aren’t worth good, nutritious food.
Don’t shaft yourself to only eating the cheap, crappy shelf-stable protein bars for lunch. (I did that for too many years throughout college). Believe that you are worthy of delish, nutritious meals. You are worth the special treats at Whole Foods and the nice vegan mayo. You really are.
#4: Stop focusing on what you can’t eat.
Focus on what you can eat. Plus, it will make everything a million times easier. I had a friend once tell me to: “just f*cking tell me all the things YOU CAN eat instead of listing all the food you avoid!” Point taken. Focus on the positive. Focus on the abundance.
#5: Stop worrying you’re causing a fuss.
Honestly, whenever it was my time to order at a restaurant, I’d want to hole up and hide. I worried I would be judged the others or the waiter would think I was one of those high-maintenance-Hollywood-super-fussy types. You are not a huge bother to the waiter or the host if you are at a party. People genuinely want to help you. (P.S. Read this how-to guide on going to restaurants, weddings, networking nights, and basically everything that could possibly involve food and awkwardness).
#6: Stop waiting for someone else to chime in.
For example, don’t wait for your partner to bring it up at Thanksgiving dinner that you won’t be eating the turkey. It feels really uncomfortable at first to tell your partner’s family that you going full-on plant-based, but it will totally be all A-OK. It’s your job to speak up and take care of yourself. If you don’t do it, no one else will.
#7: Stop smelling the food.
Don’t smell your pal’s pizza or take a whiff of the chocolate cake on the table. Sometimes I would just stare longingly at pizza. Also, doing this makes you feel melancholy and it triggers the scarcity mindset. It’s honestly a weird form of self-torture. I wish some just flat out told me to “stop doing that, Kelly! WTF! Let’s go get something you can eat instead.”
#8: Stop asking how it tastes.
Sure, ask to be polite. But don’t ask so you can pity yourself and fantasize about eating your partner’s meal instead.
#9: Stop going into bakeries.
Honestly, don’t go in there and daydream about “the good ‘ol days” when you could eat those sorts of things. I wish someone asked me what the hell I was doing in a wheat-filled bakery when I walked in on occasion to “simply reminisce.” Plus, celebrate how far you have come instead surround yourself in pastries that you can enjoy. Today is a great day. There STILL are great days ahead. (Even better ones too!)
#10: Stop judging your weight.
Wellness practitioners might say you’ll lose weight as a result of your new eating habits. (To be honest, that’s not really the goal. It’s about feeling good and having a functional life.) So, don’t look in the mirror daily, take “before” pictures in a bikini, or try on jeans from the 10th-grade to see if they now fit. (I did all those things and they all sucked). Also, don’t get obsessive about it or judge yourself if you aren’t “losing weight.” Focus on how stellar your body feels instead. (Oh, and I finally donated those 10th-grade jeans. Liberating!)
#11: Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Lastly, I was the queen of pity parties. I’d be mopey at family dinners and silently mourn the loss of regular ‘ol bread and butter. The sooner you can come to terms with your dietary restrictions, the sooner you’ll feel more abundance in your life instead of lack. (Gluten-free bread and vegan butter tastes just as good – I promise!)
Plus, do you have any other tips to share? Let me know!
Peace, love, and cheers to ditching the struggle with dietary restrictions.
-Kelly from The Wild Manifesto