Spending the weekend in Milwaukee, land of beer and cheese, and being gluten and dairy free is no small feat. Breads, pastas, etc are no biggie for me to avoid…but call it my Czech blood or my years in The Pacific Northwest (aka Microbrew Heaven), not having the occasional beer is a tough one for me. I don’t struggle with eating veggies, I love protein and don’t mind skipping desserts and avoiding sugar. All in all, having a clean, healthy diet is not that difficult for me, but I do feel a little restricted when it comes to truly avoiding all gluten. Feeling restricted, whether by choice or because our doctor or nutritionist imposed a new rule on us, doesn’t feel great. I personally get a little agitated, and then just start feeling sorry for myself. We all have girlfriends or colleagues that can eat whatever they want and look great – and are seemingly in good health. It’s just not fair. I feel the same way when I see how little work some people have to do to lose weight or stay in shape. For me it requires a pretty strict, healthy diet and I work out hard, often and regularly…why do I have to try so hard? My advice to myself here: Get over it. It’s not fair, but it is what it is. If I want the benefits of feeling and looking good, this is the price – no one is going to cover it for me. Living from a place of resentment is totally disempowering. You can’t move forward – you just sit there squirming in your puddle of self pity. It’s way easier to just get over it. When it feels like a struggle to avoid these problematic foods, I think of my two and a half year old niece, Miluse (pronounced May-loosh). A year ago she was having horrible digestive troubles, constant nasal congestion and rashes. Her docs were baffled and finally her Pediatric GI doc said “It was probably nothing to worry about, but he wanted to put her under and take 11 biopsies – from one end to the other.” It was just before Thanksgiving and I was in Texas at a seminar and then flying to Colorado, where she, my brother and sister-in-law were. I felt a little helpless as the doc in the family, as I was far away and rarely treat children. Over the phone, I heard the fear and concern in my brother’s voice as he asked, “Is there no middle ground between, ‘It’s probably nothing and 11 biopsies?’” Wanting to help and listening to my internal naturopathic voice I said, “You can’t do the procedure until after the Holiday anyway, I’ll be there soon and in the meantime let’s take her off wheat, dairy and soy and just see if any of this is possibly food allergies. It can’t hurt.” By the time I got there 3 days later she was fine. She’s been gluten and dairy free since and guess what? It’s not a big deal to her at all. Recently she went trick or treating for the first time and the only treat she received that she could actually eat was a box of raisins. She was thrilled….and grateful.