This has been an interesting summer. Seriously.
If you had told me back in May that I would be pretty much gluten-free and caffeine-free by August, I might not have believed you. Facebook maybe, but the others probably not.
Now I haven’t done this all summer long, but I will give you a quick run-down of each of these and why.
I have always had headaches – ever since I was a little girl. I can remember going home from school and lying down on the couch with headaches. Finally my parents took me to the eye doctor and glasses were prescribed for me. This helped much.
Hitting my teens and twenties I was able to control headaches, but noticed that caffeine made them worse. Still, I wasn’t willing to give up caffeine unless I found myself pregnant. Then into my thirties they seemed to get worse and worse. Going to the chiropractor helped somewhat, but it didn’t seem to help them much for long.
Over the last couple years I noticed my stomach also starting to act up badly. I’d begin the day feeling good but by evening I had bad stomach pain and bloating. I kept thinking it was something I was taking supplement-wise that affected it. But I just kept putting up with it.
Fast forward to this winter and spring . . . and I found that the headaches were coming more and more often. They also came with a distinct migraine-like aura and nausea. I just kept swallowing the Tylenol. And felt bad doing that since I know it’s very unhealthy.
By May when my sister was visiting, it finally hit me when she showed real concern that my headaches were so often. It was honestly getting debilitating. Isn’t it funny that you and the ones you live with can get so used to something that you don’t stop to really think about it until someone outside mentions it with worry?
Well by the time my sister’s family left, I decided it was time to do something. I also have another friend – and this one eats gluten-free. And every time I would be around her with a headache, she would tell me I need to try going off of gluten. It had helped her migraines to cease.
So on the first of June I wrote on my calendar that I was starting this gluten-free diet. Within a week, my headaches were greatly decreased and I noticed that my stomach did not hardly hurt or have any bloating whatsoever! I know this sounds funny to say, but I honestly did not realize how gross I had been feeling until I felt better.
Cutting gluten from my diet has not been as hard as I thought it would be. In another post, I will share with you some of my favorite links and products for this whole gluten-free thing. But even though I am an amateur, it still is fun to think about it all differently and try new things.
Please remember that I am no doctor or scientist, so I don’t even know whether my body was reacting to gluten, or the wheat, or even maybe just the glyphosates on the wheat. But I am taking a supplement called Restore to help heal my gut. You can find more information by clicking here. We are hopeful that perhaps I may not have to be gluten-free my entire life, yet that prospect honestly doesn’t scare me. My family is even learning to eat more meals this way and I think it is actually better not to eat so much wheat anyway – instead add in more variety of grains, vegetables, and fruit.
About three weeks after I stopped gluten, I began to realize that I still had a small headache coming now and then. I began to watch when it was and realized it was almost 24 hours or so after I had had caffeine. I also realized I was using caffeine to keep those headaches away and it began to look like an addiction to me. I hated that feeling and decided that was going to be the next thing I gave up.
What did my body feel like without the stimulant of caffeine? Did I even know anymore? I had found myself getting the high of caffeine and then the crash . . . and this was also affecting my moods. And how could I deal with six kids when my moods were up and down within hours?
It didn’t take long for me to junk the real coffee. But oh buddy did I ever get a headache from quitting! Seriously, I think I had a headache for almost a solid week. Google told me that the heavy caffeine users can have withdrawal headaches for two months! I was rather discouraged but stuck it out.
It got much better and even though I have had a bit of caffeine now and then, it is rare and I can usually just plan on my head hurting at least slightly the next day.
I like to use a good decaf coffee now such as Kicking Horse Coffee. They use the Swiss water process to extract the caffeine from the beans. I had found one Swiss water kind in our store but can’t find it anymore, so I am going to be ordering this soon.
Overall, I have felt better this summer than I have for probably two or three years – once all the withdrawal stuff got out of the way! My gluten and caffeine headaches have reduced so much. I would say I went from about 5 bad headaches a week to now only having one a month . . . and hopefully that will totally get eliminated with time.
Honestly, I am not a person to jump on bandwagons just for the fun of it or to be in the cool crowd. But when you feel bad physically, you get desperate enough to try some strange ways of eating. And besides, like my friend would encourage me, what can trying hurt?
Now for Facebook and going off of it for a big portion of the summer . . . I will have to tell you this was not my original idea. Instead, I saw a friend of mine that posted a picture of her kids and said she was going to be off of facebook for the summer because her kids were growing so fast and she wanted to spend time with them. Or something in that category! This stuck with me for several weeks and it began to soak in around the third week in June that I only had about two more full months before five of my kids would be gone from me for seven hours every day. It actually made me rather sad.
So I decided it was time to trim down the extras in my life so that I did not miss anymore moments than necessary nor look back on this summer with regret. School years can be hard since some of our kids have lots of homework and they must work long hours at it. It’s not a relaxing time.
Instead our summers are when we are free! We love to have no rigid schedule and if we feel like swimming in a lake at 4 in the afternoon . . . we take off and go jump in it. If we want to ride our bikes to the coffee stand in the morning, we hop on and enjoy those icy treats in the summer sunshine.
Summers in Idaho are too short. I think we should have two of them! But in our short summers, we squeeze as much as possible into them.
Going off of Facebook has been such a blessing and I really haven’t missed it much at all. I don’t say this to offend those of you who are my friends on there – but it has brought peace to my life. I did not realize how many voices we have shouting at us in this culture with our internet and social media and everyone giving their opinion on something.
I have found that this summer has been a quiet one. It’s been one where I can hear more of what the Father is saying through His Word, His Spirit, and my circumstances . . . I don’t hear so much of the world. Simply put, it has taken a few distractions out of my life – ones that I didn’t realize were beginning to affect me. And I am glad for this!
Will I stay off of Facebook forever? Most likely not. I planned to stay off until around the time school starts in September. However, I have had to log on once or twice – plus put posts like this on the Shoe page via a page manager app, which works really great by the way!
I know this idea may sound strange to some of you, and we are all different in what distracts us . . . but I believe it glorifies the Father when we are willing to set aside those distractions – at least for a time – to focus on our relationship with Him.
So there you have my interesting summer.
Full of moments praying in my peaceful garden. Caring for my beautiful flowers and crying to Heaven for the souls that I love so much here on earth.
Singing “Jesus Loves Me” when a certain four-year-old needs a nap. Rubbing noses before he goes to sleep.
Simply sitting and relishing the banter between my children. Watching them grow.
Delighting in the pure joy of a teenager who leaps into cool mountain water.
Learning, crying, loving, laughing.
This has been my summer.