My foray into alternative health started around 10 years ago, right about the time of my 30th birthday. I started developing allergies, which worsened every year until I was around 35. Traditional western medicine offered me no cures, as the blood tests concluded I wasn’t allergic to anything. I have since found that my allergic symptoms seem to vary greatly depending on what I choose to eat.
I have tried to adhere to a gluten free diet for the last year or so, with varying degrees of success. I commented to my new naturopath/homeopath that I was having difficulty being a gluten free vegetarian with my travel schedule. She told me that she has various food allergies as well, and that it is easy to travel and be gluten free.
Her comment bothered me on several levels. First of all, I completely disagreed that it was easy. It was easIER than it was a year ago when I started, because now I knew what to substitute for wheat. As a long time vegetarian, I had been eating wheat and dairy at almost every meal. She had been gluten free for so long that I thought she had forgotten how hard the lifestyle change was when first going gluten free.
Secondly, her comment gave me an uncomfortable feeling about myself. I thought to myself, “if she’s saying it’s easy, then there must be something wrong with me because I think it’s so hard. “
I have a chemically sensitive friend, and one day I mentioned that it must be really hard for her to eat out because she is allergic to so many things. She replied, “It is as hard as I choose to make it.” That statement resonated with me and made me feel good. The naturopath telling me it was easy when I knew it wasn't just made me frustrated and grouchy.
Another friend of mine suggested that instead of saying, “It’s as hard as I choose to make it,” that I say “it’s as easy as I choose to make it,” – using a positive term instead of a negative. That didn’t feel right to me. Why did it feel better to say hard instead of easy? Did I need someone to acknowledge that what I was doing was difficult? And why was I making it difficult? Why couldn’t I say it was easy?
“I think you just have a problem with the concept of easy,” my friend said. I argued that if I told her flying a plane was easy that she might not agree. Gluten free might be easy for someone else, but not for me. She then came up with a profound concept that suddenly put everything into perspective for me.
Anything is easy when we decide to go “all in”. When we fully commit to something with all of our heart, soul, and determination, it is easy. It’s while we are still on the fence that it is hard. I know from my ups and downs with my diet over the past year that I am not fully committed to a gluten free lifestyle. When I finally make that decision, then it will be easy. But until then, it’s as hard as I choose to make it.