Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Drastic times call for drastic measures

Paraphrasing the title from my first-ever blog entry seems apropos. I find myself at a tipping point just as I did back in 2004, though my situation today is vastly different. Back then, I was fed up with being fat and the limitations obesity imposed on me. I was in my 20s but felt 80. At my highest, I weighed in at 350 pounds and I was actually bigger around than I was tall.

Today, I'm a mom of a busy toddler who is struggling to end the cycle of obesity and engage in an active lifestyle with my family. Yet, life has its way of throwing curve balls. Seven years post-op, I would consider gastric-bypass surgery a success for me. I've maintained a loss of about 170 pounds even after getting pregnant and having my daughter. I've suffered some complications along the way, but I am grateful every day for the privilege of living life at a normal size.

The curve balls, however, have kept me reeling. Nutritional deficiencies and reactive hypoglycemia have plagued me since my small bowel obstructed in 2007. My daughter was diagnosed with food allergies at her two-year check-up this year, many of which involve her favorite foods. But the icing on the cake was when my husband (also plagued by food allergies) was diagnosed with diabetes two months later. Individually, none of these issues is damning. But combined, it can be overwhelming because it means everyone in the family has a laundry list of "can't eat" foods with what feels like minimal crossover.

Luckily, I'm not one to spend much time crying in my soup. Like the good former journalist that I am, I cope with such challenges by going into research mode. And it's that research that's led me here in creating this specific blog. After spending the past seven years believing I can't digest starchy carbohydrates or synthesize protein from non-animal sources, I'm trying something new. And I'm willing to try it because what I have read and seen leads me to wonder if eliminating animal protein can alleviate some of my daughter's worst allergy issues and cure my husband's diabetes.

I have no way of knowing whether this will work -- or even if anyone in our family can sustain a meat-free/dairy-free lifestyle for any extended period of time. But I am willing to try, and I'm willing to share our successes and failures here.