I started writing this post back last August. I’d just bought and read Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar and, spurred on by the listlessness I was experiencing (as well as a dose of curiosity), I decided to take the challenge. A magnificent misjudgement of timing saw me quitting sugar right before my period was due, and if anything was going to test how well I was going to do, it would be that. It was hard, but not worse – actually, better – than the regular premenstrual shenanigans my body likes to go through. My hormone levels definitely levelled out. My mood improved. And then this happened.

Yes, all it took was a slight case of man flu to have me diving back into the Milo tin.

Be that as it may, here’s a picture of the new additions I made to our pantry at the time.

I quit sugar ingredients

The Stevia is almost all gone because I like it. Everything else is still in the cupboard. I’ve cooked with the coconut oil once. I’m still adjusting, obviously.

Afterwards, things went back to normal.

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Let’s fast forward six or seven months.

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Knowing my stomach pain was gut &/or ulcer related, I thought it was again time to swap to a diet that would be easier on the digestive system, perhaps more alkaline, certainly more plant oriented, and that those changes would (hopefully) make the pain better. Did it work? No. I went completely vegetarian for five days and dragged the kids and Adam, figuratively speaking, kicking and screaming along with me. By the end, because I was quite sick anyway, and perhaps the extra shock of it all, I wasn’t eating at all due to nausea. I’d lost two kilos by Easter. My medication slowly kicked in and I improved a little, but I was at the stage where I was standing in front of the open fridge or pantry door and wanting to cry out in despair because I was so confused.

And here I am now. I recently had a gastroscopy. I’m waiting to see if tests show if I’m coeliac. I’m reading a lot about certain diets, sampling and experimenting, trying not to be too extreme (I discovered my body really doesn’t like that). For example, I substituted quinoa flakes for oats for my porridge the other day. I will never do that again. Yuk.

I’ve started drinking, even making, my own green juices (and I don’t hate them).

I’m starting to work stuff out, being Paleo-ish, FODMAP-ish, trying to be at peace with the changes my body has undergone. Rolling with it.

I was recently telling this whole saga to a friend of mine, who’s had her battle with health in the past year, and I stopped before I got to the end of it.

“What is it?” she asked.

“It’s… just so boring,” I said. “All of it. I mean, who cares if I pick up an apple and wonder if I should eat it or not? Tedious, blah blah.”

She laughed. “I suppose it is if you look at it like that.” Then the yard bell rang and children came pouring out of the classrooms, we hugged each other and said bye for the day.

There was an unspoken message in the hug: Your health is your health: boring or not, consider the alternative.

Have you ever radically altered your diet for health/ethical/’just-because’ reasons? What was the hardest part?

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Karen Andrews is the creator of this website, one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Her latest book is Trust the Process: 101 Tips on Writing and Creativity