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Day 10 of Being Gluten & Dairy Free, a.k.a. “This too shall pass”

Attar of Nishapur, the Sufi poet, immortalized this saying with a little story. He told of a powerful king who assembled the wise men of his kingdom and asked them to create a ring that would make him happy when he was sad, and sad when he was happy. The sages pondered his request, and finally decided what to do: they handed him a simple ring with the words “This too will pass” etched on it. Genius.

Bahá’u’lláh says, in the Arabic Hidden Words, 52: “O SON OF MAN! Should prosperity befall thee, rejoice not, and should abasement come upon thee, grieve not, for both shall pass away and be no more.”

I guess there are echos of this in all religious, mystic, et al texts throughout recorded history. And right now, I’m clinging to these quotes for dear life.

Being dairy and gluten free is HARD. If I eat out, everything has gluten or dairy in it, or worse yet, being unaccustomed to eating this way, I will distractedly order something that contains them. Like Starbucks yesterday. I ordered a simple latte, waited for it to cool enough to sip, and then my spirits fell a little when I realized I had to pass it over to George and order myself something with soy in it. In the grand scheme of things, I suppose it’s not a big deal, but it starts adding up and gets a little overwhelming.

It’s difficult to gauge how it’s affecting me. There are external factors to be considered, but physically, this is basically it: I have more energy. I dance around a lot. My body feels stronger. I am losing weight despite eating like a pig (proof positive that fat is not the enemy — prosciutto, anyone? almonds?). I am sleeping through the night. My acid reflux is gone. It’s been 10 days straight without me getting a cold (unheard of before this, more so during winter months). It’s patently clear that there’s been an improvement, a huge one…

However! (There’s always a however!) Like I said, perhaps it’s the external factors, but I have never felt this out of control emotionally in my life. Today I spent six hours straight crying. Everything seems devastating, overwhelming, and like I am not capable of dealing with any of it. While I have the physical energy, I do not have the emotional energy to function. I have never, not even in my most awful teen/college days had thoughts this dark and overpowering. My only way of explaining it is to say, as someone else so adequately described it, you don’t want to know.

This is supposedly normal, some form of withdrawal as strong as quitting drugs. I didn’t anticipate it (I just thought I’d be sleepy, perhaps a little cranky). If you ever choose to quit dairy/gluten… be forewarned. Not everyone goes through this as harshly, but some people do. You will need an excellent support system, plenty of distractions, patience, and an insanely strong will.

And a reminder that this too shall pass.