Well it’s now 14 days since I started the candida diet and 9 days since I started taking the Nystatin. After the crazy die-off symptoms, depression and mood swings of last week, things are getting exponentially, and rapidly, better. I haven’t felt this energetic or just… okay in my body for years. I have at least another two months to go before my doctor will even think about allowing me to try reintroducing certain foods, but dang, I woke up this morning with a bounce and was like “What’s the story, morning glory? I’m cured!”
Of course, it’s not that simple. I’m not “cured.” One of the things that is really starting to sink in is that this isn’t temporary. I don’t actually get to go back to eating whatever I want in two or three months. This is something I have to stick to for the rest of my life. Sure, it will expand a bit in stage 3 but I can’t eat whatever I want every day, not ever again. Not if I want to stay healthy. I think I’m moving into acceptance around this whole thing. As I slowly reframe my outlook, I’m doing my best to just hang out with it, experience the disappointment and then move on. There is SO much habit, emotion, and attachment wrapped up in what we eat. Those things are harder to combat than the yeast, at least in my opinion.
So… travel. Oh boy. That was an eye opener.
I met the Cap somewhere midway between the mountain and LA this last weekend, just so we could spend a few days together. I didn’t really think about it – until it came time to find a restaurant for dinner (and again for breakfast.) Normally when I travel I am all about eating all the things. Local diners, street vendors, great breakfast plates, the best pie in a new town, different bakeries with wonderful bread… I love that. And now I can’t do that.
Frak me. I may have to take up antiquing.
Finding anything that I could eat (so, so, so limited) once we got there… that was hard. We managed, but it was a significant issue. I didn’t like being “that guy”, the one who quizzed the waiter about every little thing. That was a pain in the ass. We’re obviously going to have to camp or stay in hotels with kitchenettes so we can cook for ourselves while traveling. The summer shows will be interesting, especially since I have to travel to some of them. Sometimes you just have to eat out. Sometimes there’s no kitchenette and no campground. Sometimes you just plain want to sit in a restaurant and have someone bring you ice water.
So on that note, I’ve got a couple of tips about how to travel and eat in restaurants without being a total dick about it. If you’ve been doing this for a while, this is old hat, but I’m just figuring it out, so I thought I’d share.
1. Stock up on snacks before you go. Stuff like precut veggies, Sunbutter, fresh berries and maybe some lean protein. Whatever is in your food zone, really. Put a cooler in the car for your drive. Create a safe food zone while you travel, so that you don’t sabotage yourself if you can’t find restaurant options.
2. Use the internet! Before you leave, make a list of potential food options in each city or town you might stop in – and print out maps so you can get there from the freeway or where you are staying! Pro tip: search Yelp for “gluten free” or “paleo” restaurants. I promise this will narrow it down a lot for you.
3. Avoid big national chains – I’ve noticed that most mom n’ pop style places (especially ones that offer gluten-free options) are generally more accommodating about substitutions.
4. Don’t try to explain. Just say you have allergies. Your waiter doesn’t care that it’s a sensitivity or that you’re paleo or that you are candida cleansing… Let me sum up.
Buttercup is gonna marry Humperdink in half an hour just say allergies.
5. If your waiter got you veggies instead of potatoes, walked to the kitchen to talk to the chef on your behalf or otherwise took care of good care of you… tip him or her really well when you leave. Say thank you for the specific thing he did for you. Show appreciation. You’re frontloading the deck for the next guy. Or for yourself, if you come back. When you get home, give ‘em a nice Yelp review so the next food-sensitive guy to visit Fresno (or Topeka or Honolulu) knows he can get a decent, hot meal that won’t make him sick.
6. It’s a big old multicultural world out there. You can get these nifty cards to hand your waiter to inform them about allergies. They come in different languages. Consider acquiring some. They are Helpful.
Yes, it’s SO much work.
All the planning. All the money. All the chopping. All the dishes. (SO. Many. Dishes.)
And yet… it’s worth it. Completely. I’m so glad I stuck to my guns and ate the right way on my trip this weekend. Because I feel so good. When I did Whole 30 last year, I just couldn’t wait for it to be over so I could have the things I liked again. It was all about what I couldn’t have till Day 31. It’s not like that now. I’m thinking of “when it’s over “ in terms of maintaining a lifelong, yeast-hostile, and delicious diet, just… with a little more flexibility. HUGE mindshift.
But I’m really not sure that antiquing is ever going to replace pie.