The Countdown is Over! (subtitle: Now What?)

You may notice that the countdown on the sidebar is at 0 - or rather, it was at 0, and has since been restarted for another purpose. The old counter reached the 0 mark at precisely 7:55 am this morning, right about the time that I was sitting in my doctor's office talking about my symptoms, improvements since last visit, any odd changes, etc. The result of this visit was my doctor giving me the go-ahead to start adding food back into my diet - slowly, one food per week, so I can assess its effects on my system and adjust my No-List as necessary (meaning, leave the food on, take it off, or put lesser restrictions on it).

So, this should be joyous and overly-exciting, right? I've been waiting for this moment since mid-March when this whole thing began... and yet...

Exactly: And yet...

Here's the thing. I've gotten so used to these restrictions that, for all I've talked about getting back to a "normal food life," my definition of "normal food life" has changed. To me, now, this restricted diet is more normal (albeit crazy restricted) than what I used to eat. [Granted, I used to eat crap, so part of the adjustment in definition is a good thing, but that's not exactly the point here...]

Really, what it comes down to is that I'm so used to not eating all of this food, that I'm afraid of what will happen now that I can start trying to eat them again. My mind equates these foods with pain. That's a powerful feeling, and a powerful source from which fear can arise.

For most of the day today, I've been thinking about what food I want to try out first. And, it wasn't much of a contest: tomatoes have been at the top of my wish list for a long time (read: ever since they were taken away from me). But, just as I geared up for the excitement of trying this out, I realized that I'm actually quite afraid of the reaction my system will have. Will I suddenly revisit the pain of so many months ago? Or will a new pain arise due to the fact that I haven't eaten tomatoes or tomato-based anything since April? Who knows? Perhaps it'll be perfectly fine, and I'll be able to eat all the tomatoes I like.

Another thing: this is all rather overwhelming. I've been given a completely green light, no instructions about what order to use when adding food back in. Think about it, this is the best scenario - I don't have to wait for a doctor to tell me what's best for me and what to do next. But, well, have you looked at my No-List? I mean, really, how do I decide? It's like being in my freshman year of college all over again and sitting with the course catalog in front of me: How do I know what I want first? What order to put them in? Does it even matter? Yeah, same feeling, except sub food in for courses.

What all of this tells me is that I need a bit more of a strategy for adding foods back into my diet. A plan that will make this a little simpler, and thus stave off some of this fear. Because there's that risk that something will make me ill again, I need to do a little reworking of my week to allow for "sick evenings" (a.k.a. evenings in which dinner with the 'new' food was not such a good idea). And I need to think about what's being added each week - perhaps trade off acidic-food one week and non-acidic-food the next. Think about how exactly to implement the trying out of the 'new' food - what form in which to cook it, how much to try, what else to cook it with...

Wow - who knew this was going to become so complicated?

The current plan (subject to change, of course) is to take this week to plan this out a little more and then start introducing foods back into my diet next Monday. And I'm updating the sidebar a bit to make this all a little more interactive. Hence the new count down. It's counting down to dinnertime (7:00 pm) on Mondays, and I'll reset it each week and update the "Food on Deck" item below the counter. The "Food of the Week" is the item I'll be working on for the week. I think this'll be a good way to look forward to things, keep my mind on what's happening now, and also a good way for me to remember what's coming up.

In the spirit of how I've come to view this "crazy restricted diet of doom" (as I once called it), I've decided to look at this as an adventure. An adventure on the road to a healthy, less-restricted world of food. It'll be an exciting, potentially bumpy, perhaps a little windy road - but the destination will be so worth it!

Ready, set, go!

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