September the Road to Recovery: Sidewalk

There’s a moment in life where it suddenly dawns on you that every plan has gone hideously awry, you’ve tripped over a random crack in the sidewalk and are about to slam your chin to the cement. Pain is inevitable. Blood maybe. Possibly some laughter, depending on how many people are watching you try to make out with the sidewalk.

Sidewalks are not good kissers, believe me.

A few weeks ago I took a literal tumble on the sidewalk that left me shaken, laughing at myself and soaked from the wet grass I rolled in to get up. I spent an hour or so in wet jeans and a silly smile on my face. Taking a silly tumble like that was funny. Momentary. Fleeting.

No harm done.

But when you take a tumble in life, when all your best plans suddenly fail in the most dramatically traumatic way, it’s not as funny.

Or as painless.

September happened. I’m sure we all remember the gorgeous weather and increasingly tense election. Amidst all that, I had no sugar. I followed my candida-killing diet. I made food. Lots of food.

I made progress.

Then my plans kissed the sidewalk and I’ve been in pain ever since.

Progress report? Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to jail.

I know, this would be such a better read if at the end I suddenly jumped in with, “But wait, everything is cool because I found this magic cure!”

I didn’t. I don’t. I haven’t. I might not ever.

But that, my friends, is okay. Because the sidewalk hit me and it hurts, but I’m on my feet, thanks to God’s grace and all my peoples.

I spent the morning trying to console crying babies, while working off of 4ish hours of sleep and absolutely no caffeine because I’m not allowed to have it. I spent lunch at a fabulous vegan restaurant with some friends. I spent the afternoon saving Paleo and Candida-diet recipes and making plans.

Maybe some adjustments will help.

Plans and more plans. The sidewalk may grab for me again, but until then I’m gonna keep limping along.

Where there’s life, there’s hope.

~JRR Tolkein


September: The Road to Recovery

September_the road to recovery

There’s a downward spiral with diets and special cures. Gluten-free, Paleo, Vegan, Dairy-free, organic…sounds like a rich dude’s excuse not to eat with the masses at Taco Bell. And it sounds even more ridiculous when you don’t happen to be a rich person, but more like a person who gets by with a little help from my friends.

Then you find out that the sickness that’s been destroying your stomach and cognitive abilities can only be cured by a diet more restrictive than Paleo. And you start to think that maybe everybody else has it wrong…

I promised myself, as a writer, filmmaker and generally legit person that I would never venture into writing about food or health like one of those experts who publishes meal planning guides and gorgeous pictures of food that shouldn’t look that tasty because nothing in it is normal.


I have started a new diet that involves cutting out gluten, dairy, corn, sugar, all processed grains, and most oils. Oh, sugars includes most fruit, too. And alcohol, coffee, soft drinks, fruit juice and ALL caffeine.

I know, you would rather die with your Hazelnut breve latte in one hand and your jumbo cinnamon role in the other.

I almost would too, but it might actually kill me.

In 2013 I had to make a huge change in my life. I was so sick that I couldn’t eat, I had lost massive weight, I couldn’t think properly and I was in so much pain that I could barely work. So I started cutting things out of my diet.

I cut corn and milk first.

My brain worked again.

I cut gluten next, although that process extended over a very long period because it is exceptionally hard to cut out all shreds of gluten (gluten is a protein in wheat, barley and other grains that manufacturers use as a filler and preservative. It’s in everything, dude. Everything).

Now, I was cheating a bit. I still had dairy to a certain extent, and I still had problems. I learned to avoid foods with a lot of grease, olive oil, soy, processed-ness and other triggers that kept me awake at night with abdominal pain. Eventually it was too much to bear, and in January or February of this year (2016) I cut out dairy completely.

Weeks passed. Fake cheese started to taste better than real cheese. My favorite cheesecake is completely bereft of dairy, soy, corn or gluten and still tastes like a dream. Mmmmm.

I felt better. I had less problems. I had more energy. Some weird things that I’d been dealing with since I was a young teenager disappeared.

But I still had a digestive problem that lead to reoccurring infections.

So I kept researching. Reading. Thinking.

Then I found information on Candida overgrowth. I read through the causes first – excessive sugar/alcohol diet, antibiotics, contraceptives/birth control, and stress. Since the first three weren’t a factor in my illness that started when I was about 16, I focused in on the last one. Stress.

And I realized that for a person who claims to love God and trust in His promises, I shouldered a lot of burdens. I worry about things I say to friends, even close ones. I worry about social engagements of any kind. I worry about my films. I worry about writing instead of just writing. I worry about my family. I worry about my friends, even though most of them are grown adults. I worry about politics and the world.

I worry about food and health and my husband and my phone usage and whether or not my car is going to stop working on the highway and I get crushed by a semi going 80 miles per hour.

Here’s the thing; I started the Candida diet, which is basically a cleanse that annihilates the overgrowth but promotes a healthy gut and Candida level. It cuts out all of the things I mentioned above and focuses instead on healthy green vegetables and meats. I am taking probiotics and drinking only warm things without caffeine. I even added vitamin C to my daily routine, because it’s the main ingredient in helping the body naturally fight stress.

But none of that will be enough unless I let go of my burdens, trust God, and stop letting other people take too much out of me.

This is why I haven’t been writing. I have been very sickish, in my heart, my head and my gut. But I’m on the road to recovery. That’s September.

September is my chance to be free of a 10+ year disease.

I’ll be praying every day.