Updated: Jan 21, 2020
How I became a modern-day Hippie or something close to it: Becoming a Hippie SUCKS!
Becoming a hippie sucks and I totally mean that, it ducking SUCKS! I'm a person that can cope well with change, but this was much harder than moving house, getting a new job and making new friends (and I've done that five times in the past ten years). It takes time for all the health and emotional benefits, to outweigh the inconvenience of the massive lifestyle changes. And YES, when I started out, I looked at most of it as an enormous inconvenience. Your time spent in the kitchen triples’, eating out becomes challenging, a nice glass of red wine after a hard day’s work- NO MORE. You keep falling down a rabbit hole of knowledge that you're not sure you want and the best one of all, your family and friends think you’ve gone infertility mad!
Changing your diet (cutting out gluten, sugar, dairy, alcohol and eventually nightshades), is hard for one simple fact: It requires A LOT of effort to do it right. You can't be a little pregnant (there's irony somewhere in there) Dr. Tom O’Bryan said on a podcast about Bulletproofing Your Gut. And he was right; I couldn't be just a little on my journey to becoming a hippie. It had to start now; I couldn’t hide behind tomorrow anymore. All the cans, food boxes and wheat products got thrown out and my new way of eating begun- well kind of. I stumbled A LOT and used (the just as bad for you, but in a different way) gluten-free foods (especially cereal) and had my fair share of cheat days. I went along like this until the health benefits started to outweigh the cravings, but that was way down the path.
But let’s go back to the start. After a month of regular eating and writing it all down, my Functional Medicine Practitioner reviewed the information and set me on a 30-day challenge of no gluten, alcohol or anything that can in a box or can, cut way down on the fruits and dairy and add protein and veg to every meal. Breakfast was the hardest. For someone who loved toast & cereal and was usually shoving it down in the car on the way to work, this was a big change. It wasn’t until one morning I caught myself in the biggest grump.
I was sat alone at the table eating my organic steak, poached eggs and raw spinach (I know, some say don't eat raw spinach- but you decide for yourself FYI: I don’t anymore). Anyways, I started laughing out loud, at myself. Really- WTF, how could I be grumpy about this situation? Here I was eating a nutritious and full-flavored meal, and I was acting like I had to shovel sh*t at 6 am. That was the last time I felt unhappy towards a good meal and also realized that this was going to be a lot harder than I thought!
My first big social event came too soon- I think five days into my 30. My husband wasn't on board and even suggested I just give in for the night and start again tomorrow. I wanted too, but for us, the next social event is always just around the corner. I asked him "when was it ever going to be time" (?) and like I said before, I couldn’t hide behind tomorrow anymore. The first hour I wanted to cry- nothing but everything I wasn’t allowed to have was all around me- seriously I had actual tears in my eyes, and I’m not a crier!
But I made it through the night and ended up having a nice time sober; even though I did feel like a total reject eating my midnight hamburger with a knife and fork because I couldn't have the bun. The next week passed the same, and I kept to my Functional Medicine Practitioner's guidelines, but I was struggling not having my husband’s support. I finally hit the wall, and that was it- if he wasn't on board with this new cleaning eating lifestyle, having kids was off.
Enter the only time my husband I butted heads during this whole process. Over the first few weeks, my husband’s routine stayed the same: sleeping in as long as possible, a sh*t, shower & shave and a small bowl of Coco Pops. As far as he was concerned, there was NO way possible for him to eat anything else in the morning "I feel sick" and how could he possibly avoided all things gluten?! For me, I needed my husband’s support, and that meant making the same sacrifices I was making to have kids. Also, I simply felt my husband needed to start eating better- he made up half of the sh*tty embryos, so therefore he needed to improve too. (FYI: My husband’s little swimmers were totally FINE according to all the doctors. When he got tested again after we changed our diet, his test improved by millions!)
One long heated conversation (ironically in the kitchen) he was on-board; barely. But as time went on he got much better at conforming at home and out, with our new clean eating lifestyle. As for me, I finished my 30-day challenge, which included free headaches (another reason becoming a hippie sucks- your body has to detox all the sh*t out of it!) and started to see the light at the end of the tunnel. That's a ducking lie, it was no easier after that first 30 days, but I did gain a good understanding of how my body felt after eating cleanly for a while, and it felt great! So great, that it gave me the motivation I needed to keep pushing on.
So I’ve got my support system and together we became social rejects and the constant questions about the how, why and WTF’s made us become food science geeks. (Great spoof article- wish I had this two years ago.) Do you believe me when I say gluten (white, all the way to whole grain bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, cookies, cakes and used as a filler in loads of different thing) is not as healthy as you think? And when I tell you why or say you don’t need it for health benefits, how would you react?
You totally would think I’ve gone down the Hippie Rabbit Hole and you’d be right. The Rabbit Hole is the biggest reason why becoming a hippie sucks. (I want to put here: at first, but even two years down the line I still deal with this emotion from time to time.) Your friends and family sit by and watch you fall, slowly but surely down, down, down! Where does it stop- seriously!?! The more you understand about your health and the impact of what you put in and on your body, the more dramatic steps you’re willing to take. Then all of a sudden you’re down a deep dark hole, covered in coconut oil and full of bone broth and organ meats! I say this jokingly, but it’s true. Especially if you have more than common issues and you’re determined to figure it all out.
So after almost a year of clean eating, I can honestly say that the journey sucked. I haven't even gone into the countless hours in the kitchen; not only prepping, preparing and making meals; but eating before you go out or bringing your own food wherever you go. Falling short of your goals when you haven't bought any food and then eating a load of sh*t; eating things you thought were good for you, only to find out they're not. The money spent and the time wasted on beating yourself up when you've just given in. It was hard and still is a lot of effort. I get increasingly frustrated by the so-called experts in the clean eating field, who write books and tell the world, just give yourself ten-day or 2 weeks, that's all you need to change- Duck off, you all know it's a LOT hard than that!!! (Sorry rant over.)
When we set off on our second round of IVF, we felt much more prepared. We got talked out of doing the genetic testing; the consulting doctor thought we didn’t fit the mold. (I don’t know what it is about a doctor’s office and the ability it has to make me act like a deer in the headlights. I instantly forgot about my first someone- WTF! That was the whole reason we went to this clinic!) But we followed along with their advice and I must say, that the experience and the outcome of the second round were 100% better- six healthy embryos, one put back in and five on ice. All the hard work and sacrifice paid off, but unfortunately, the results were that same- I didn’t even make it to 28 days. I wasn’t sad this time, I was mad and was ready to give up- I even printed out a surrogacy application form and told my husband I just couldn't do it anymore.
NEXT TIME on How I became a modern-day Hippie or something close to it: Dealing with the Emotional Side of Unexplained Infertility
Until you radically look at your food (and drink), you have no clue how physically, emotionally and subconsciously addicted to it you are. And when you decide to cut anything in your life, the people who live in your house have to do it too- FACT! It's just too hard- you'd never expect a newly recovering alcoholic to hang out in a bar and not drink, so how can you expect the same from yourself in your household. And you can't beat yourself up when you do give into that bag of cookies in the cupboard because willpower is not finite! How many times have you said “I’m not going to have....” and 6:30 pm hits and you’re downing a big glass of wine? Me- A LOT! (Great podcast about this) If you’ve done it alone in a house full of temptation and little support from the ones closes to you- I take my hat off to you. For me, I needed my husband's support, and I couldn’t have it in the house (I still can’t keep red wine in the house- pathetic, I know, but that's just how it is).
The support from my husband at the beginning was key to our success. He’s still very supportive, but because we have embryos on ice, he feels he doesn’t have to be as good anymore. He’s back drinking beer, will have a bun at a BBQ and he loves KFC, but his morning routine has stayed the same; the 3 S's and up early enough to have breakfast, which includes protein, healthy fats, and veg! And for me? I, fortunately, don’t need his support as I did in the beginning. It's taken me a long time, and I'm still not 100% there, but I've dealt with my physical, emotional and subconscious addictions to food and drink. I know my body and mind still have a lot of work to do, so I keep a quite strict diet (that works for me), and I'm determined to figure it all out. Two years down the path, I feel great about falling into a deep dark hole covered in coconut oil and full of bone broth and organ meats (Well, most days).
FEEL SUPPORTED & GET INSPIRED - Other great post about my journey:
Positive Thoughts, Positive Me
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Anything written or said about health and diet are my opinions, that I have formed over the years, through trial and error, study, reading, listening and observing. What worked for me, may not work for you. I am not a doctor, nutritionist or dietician and all medical advice should be gotten from a qualified professional. Product recommendations are based on what I used during my infertility journey or wish I had.