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this choice

Last weekend, my husband and I had a conversation about choice.

I told him I’m choosing to continue eating autoimmune protocol through the holidays. He replied that I didn’t really have a choice.

I disagreed. “I do have a choice, though. I can eat all the stuff that makes me feel shitty and then feel shitty myself, or I can choose to eat well and feel good.”

He challenged the idea that this represents a genuine choice*, so I elaborated. “It is a choice, and it’s important for me to acknowledge that I have a choice. One way–I can’t eat that!–feels like a prison. The other way–no, thanks, I don’t eat that–feels like a bountiful freedom. No one is forcing me to eat this way. No one’s holding a gun to my head, saying, ‘Eat that walnut. I dare you!‘ Without anyone forcing me, I am making the choice because I want to feel good again.”

I just summed up the choice well in a letter to my siblings. I wrote them to explain that I will not be joining in Thanksgiving food festivities next week, though I’ll heartily join in celebrating the excellent company. I asked for their support if anyone gets aggressive about how I’m eating, which is entirely too common in general, though not too likely here.

People often interpret my not eating the same foods as them as a judgment of what they’re eating, instead of a personal choice based on my own body’s needs. It’s not about that at all.

Clearly, others don’t feel the craptitude I do after eating certain stuff. Why should they give up food they love if it doesn’t bring them grief? That’d be silly. That’s not at all where I’m coming from.

Where I’m coming from is this: No, I cannot have just one bite. Yes, just one bite can make me feel like crap for weeks.

I summed it up in this sentence to my siblings: “Two hours of mouth joy is not worth weeks of all-body suffering.”

No one’s forcing me to do this. I’m a grown woman. I can eat whatever the heck I want, whenever I want. I just choose not to eat it all, because my life is so much sweeter when I make this choice.

* I agree that not all “choices” are really choice, especially where poverty and politics are concerned! This is where he was coming from: “But you and I both know …” True, just not applicable in this particular case. 🙂


  1. November 17, 2017 at 6:02 am

    I think you said it best when you spoke of celebrating the holidays with the people. Only possible if you choose wisely with the food. All my best to you.

    • November 17, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Exactly! I am so, so looking forward to moments with lovely people I only get to see once a year. It doesn’t matter what we eat; my heart will be overflowing thanks to their proximity.

  2. November 17, 2017 at 6:29 am

    I love the way you summed it up! wish I had your mindset, Deborah. Two hours of mouth joy is ALL I think about, then suffer horrible pains and aches later. Then I promise myself I shan’t do it again, but the next day there I go doing it!

    • November 17, 2017 at 11:25 am

      I’ve been reading a book about “food freedom,” and it’s really, really helped reorient me!

      Anthony recently asked me what he could do to help me get back on the right track. I said that I needed to read more to feel the inner inspiration instead of forcing it upon myself. That made all the difference. 🙂

      • November 28, 2017 at 6:54 am

        That’s certainly a great way to go about it. I need to gather some reading materials on the subject too, any recommendations? 🙂

  3. November 17, 2017 at 6:38 am

    As a Crohn’s and Celiac patient, I get this! My mouth may be saying please one bite but my tummy is saying NO! I don’t like spending hours in pain for a bite of dressing! Luckily everyoone in my family are Plant based eaters so there is always something to eat. Stick to it!

    • November 17, 2017 at 11:29 am

      “My mouth may be saying please one bite but my tummy is saying NO!” Exactly! I made the wrong choice enough times in a row to understand very, very well its consequences. Before, I could downplay those, but now? I’ll grab a few berries and enjoy their sweetness. Goodness on the tongue, and no downside!

  4. November 17, 2017 at 7:08 am

    This reminds me of a conversation we had in college that spilled over into multiple classes. Choice is a multidimensional concept.

  5. November 17, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve spent the last year learning what my body needs and how to make choices that help me feel good (which has benefits much deeper and wider that just physical!). I’ve struggled recently, my thoughts very much reflective of old prison-like thinking, which is cyclical for me, only compounding the problem. That choice to do what’s best for me is so empowering! The prison is angering, shameful, and ugly all around. I don’t like it at all. And it’s true that many see my choice as a judgement of theirs, which isn’t the case at all! Thank you, again, for the reminder to empower myself. 💜

    • November 17, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Oh, man, I so hear you. I spent several months feeling like I was in prison, trying to force myself to do the right thing but really struggling and just feeling tired of it all. This ended up contributing to the kinds of choices that left me regretting them for weeks, and then feeling like I’d failed.

      I picked up a couple of books that got me really interested in reminding myself why I began eating clean, and how good I felt when I did. That so helped get me back to a place where I can look at foods I’ve long loved but hurt me and go, “Nah, I’m good.” It’s a lovely place to be–but sometimes a hard one to reach!

      Sending so many well wishes ♥

      • November 17, 2017 at 12:33 pm

        Yep!! That’s how it goes for me too. I remember you wrote about those books. I’ll have to go look for that. I could use it. Thank you!

  6. November 17, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Oh yes, here you have a choice. A fairly clearly definied choice, but a choice just the same. And how I wish that choices were open to more of us.

  7. November 17, 2017 at 11:07 am

    I find it so good, that you are listening to your body, Deborah 🙂
    Through many years, I have been fighting first for my kids, later for myself, about the right to not eat anything, that make us feel uncomfortable after.

    • November 17, 2017 at 11:37 am

      That is such a worthy (and unfortunately necessary) fight!

      It’s good to be really listening again. I hope to keep it up, and continue feeling all the good that flows from that.

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