Thrive or survive?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

This question was raised recently on Instagram when we shared photos of the THRIVE t-shirts we purchased as one of the fundraising elements for Jen. You can read her story here (and find out how to order these shirts). Also have a look at #seehowithrive on Instagram.

It's a curious question really. I aim to thrive but there are definitely times I feel like I'm just surviving! One of the ways I feel helps me thrive is by feeding my body and brain quality nutrition. Almost 18 years ago I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease (an absolute allergy to gluten) after the birth of my first child. Those were scary days as I got really ill in those first days with my weight plummeting to 40kg within 2 weeks. There's nothing like a rattling skeleton with a newborn to get the doctors motivated! I talked in this post about how I went from a gluten free diet to a clean eating diet last year, endeavoring to eliminate all refined sugar, additives, preservatives and trying to even eliminate grains - rice flour included.

Well, it's been going pretty well. I guess I eat about 80 to 90 % on track but I've found it really difficult to give up gluten free bread. I'm also guilty of the odd treat and on Sunday I was punished for this!

We had gone over to the city to take my daughter and her 2 friends shopping as Anna had some birthday money and wanted to celebrate her 16th birthday this way. We left them to it and headed off to have a coffee. I asked the cafe assistant what was gluten free in their food cabinet and she assured me the friands were. Yes, when I looked properly, it was even written on the cabinet glass, so I ordered one. Special day and all.  That was sometime after 3pm.

Fast forward to 5pm and the journey home on the motorway. I felt like my jeans were uncomfortably tight and then... that horrible feeling of saliva in your mouth which accompanies nausea. By the time we dropped the girls off and made it home I raced straight up to our bedroom and ensuite and lets just say the rest of the evening was not pretty.

As I knelt over the toilet, clutching a towel for comfort, I felt I was in survival mode. It's awful. It's painful. And there's nothing you can do until your body has purged the toxic food. Which takes hours.

On Monday I spent the morning lying on the sofa, my brain in fog and my body lethargic and achy. As the haze lifted a little, I started thinking about food and its effect on us.

One of my food heroes is Pete Evans, a chef in Australia who has become passionate about the paleo lifestyle. He says "Food is a cornerstone and necessity of life but it can be incredible medicine or the slowest form of poison, depending what you choose." Aint that the truth?

You don't have to be allergic to something, like I am, to realise that life is all about choices. Making the right choices isn't always easy. Boy, do I know that. It's all a journey. Just read some of the stories people have written on Pete's Facebook page and you'll see that!

As I lay on the sofa, I got to thinking what other choices in life are helping me thrive. When I look back I think that last year was one of many turning points in my life. I like to call them forks in the road, because by circumstance, you're forced to choose which path you'll take.

Last year I believe that my One Little Word class work and research helped me to become more open to accepting that I can't predict what's in front of me and that I needed to be open to accepting that I can deal with what is, open to learning, open to pushing myself, open to following my heart and listening to my inner self.

I also believe that for some of us it takes adverse situations to jolt us into awareness. To make us have a better attitude and to work harder at thriving. Just like food, life can be incredible medicine or the slowest form of poison. I'm thankful I have a choice.

How do you thrive?


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