Andrew here, back with another ‘Be Well’ blog entry. This one is a bit more personal, and I’m hoping that opening up will allow the story to resonate with some of you; possibly helping you along on your personal journey.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled to get along with food. My relationship with eating has always been rocky, and for some reason, I seem to be one of the few in my family who has a truly rotten metabolism. I’ve been severely underweight (thanks to an OCD-driven eating disorder), overweight (definitely an emotional eater here) and everything in between. For most of my life, I’ve felt it has been and always will be virtually impossible to find a happy medium, to hit that perfect weight and size that I’m quote on quote ‘comfortable’ with. Then again, as I get older, I care less and less about finding a perfect weight. I just want to be healthy, fit and happy in my own skin.

That being said, my problematic relationship with food has always been a bit of an issue. Only recently have I started to tackle it head on, and it all comes back to the fact that I chose to eat foods, healthy or not, that just make me feel like crap. In particular, for as long as I can remember, I always felt off/uncomfortable when consuming dairy products and gluten. Dairy instantly puts my stomach in knots, has me feeling SO uncomfortable and the other makes me feel bloated, lethargic, weak and just crummy overall. To this day, I still can’t for the life of me understand why I continued to consume foods that caused me to react this way. I spent most of my 20s eating whatever I wanted and asked questions/regretted it later.

This is most likely due to the fact that I studied, worked and traveled abroad a lot in my early-to-mid 20s. I was exploring the culinary creations/delights that South Korea and Japan had to offer, and believe me, there were SO MANY. Tasty treats and eats galore, such as: chicken katsu sandwiches; delicious breads filled with cheese and others packed with whipped cream and red bean paste; breaded sweet and spicy Korean fried chicken; the irresistible Japanese ramen; fried tempura and korokke… the list goes on and on. I was living in the moment and wanted to try everything along the way. There were some foods I was able to eat that didn’t bother me as much, but I convinced myself that the pain was temporary and that it was worth it. I ate what I wanted, and spent zero time listening to the cues my body was sending me.

Skip ahead to present day, and now I’m back in Canada, thinking about settling down. I am taking the time to focus on the growth and development of my own consulting business. On top of all that, I have decided that there’s no better time than right now to commit to my health and wellness; to take it more seriously than I ever did before.

Late 2018 was a defining moment for me. I lost someone very important to me earlier on in the year, and the last quarter of the year hit me with a second loss that left me shattered. Two insurmountable losses in one year. Both rocked me to my core and changed my outlook on life… for the better. Looking back on how things have changed since then, this forced me to step back into reality. To come to terms with the fact that life is fleeting and we need to live in the moment. We need to listen to ourselves, to take the time to focus on self-love and self-care. Part of that realization for me was to put an end to the pain and stress that I’ve been putting on my body all these years. I decided to cut out those foods for good, to no longer let them drag me down. 

2019 is the year I officially took the plunge/pledge to completely cut dairy and gluten out of my diet. I’ve slipped a few times, I’m not going to lie, but I’m writing this blog in part to hold myself accountable. I will no longer allow my stomach to rage and cuss me out after every meal, every snack, every bite. I am committing to more energy, more will to move and to get out to exercise.

I should preface this by saying that, yes, I do work with Schoolhouse. I don’t want you to feel that I may be biased in any way. In fact, I’ve known about and have been enjoying Schoolhouse products before I ever started working for Jen & Aidan. I actually first discovered the Pumpkin Muffin when I was still living back home in Halifax, way before I took my diet seriously. I knew, even back then, that all of their products were delicious – that they made me feel good. That was the first time I found a gluten-free product that I really enjoyed, that I could enjoy without worry. My body appreciated the goodness, the nutrients and the gluten-free nature of the products.

Fast forward to present day, I still have not been able to find gluten-free products that match the quality and the amount of love that goes into everything Schoolhouse makes. Maybe you’re already a huge fan like I am… you totally get what I’m saying. Or, maybe Schoolhouse is still somewhat new to you and you’re curious to try more; to see if they really are that good. If they’ll impact your life in the way they have mine.

I guess I should get to the point, eh? What I really want to say is this: please listen to your body. Don’t ignore the signals it sends you. If you eat something and your body rejects or reacts to it in a strange or abnormal way, do yourself a favour and try cutting it out. Assess and isolate ingredients present; try to find out what it is that your body just doesn’t like. In my case, while I have not been diagnosed with Celiac Disease or a true to form allergy to lactose/dairy products, I know my body does NOT like them. I am choosing to cut them out entirely and have started to investigate further, to seek out the help of a naturopath. I am choosing to respect my body, to feed it the fuel it needs and the nutrients it deserves.

What about you? How did you first come to terms with your food allergy/intolerance/sensitivity? Was it a gradual discovery/acceptance or did you just dive into it right away, never looking back? What was the last straw that forced you to cut out the culprits entirely?

It is important to keep in mind that Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder and committing to a gluten-free diet is essential. For those dealing with intolerances or sensitivities like me – did you struggle to cut out the foods that bothered you? Or did you go cold turkey and never look back? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Love yourself. Love your body. Eat what makes you and your tummy happy, because you deserve to feel good!

In health and happiness,

IG: @andyroojohn 
Facebook: Andrew Fraser

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