Today is the Super Bowl. The national championship game of professional American football. A day when those who love the Seahawks and the Patriots are in football heaven… at least until the game is over and then one of them is in football hell. A day when football enthusiasts will pick a side and see if their team-for-a-day prevails. A day when people who don’t even like football will join them to socialize and ask everyone to be quiet when the much anticipated commercials come on. (Seriously, it’s reported that a 30 second slot during the game cost $4.5 million. You better believe those companies intend to grab our attention!)
While all that might be mildly interesting, why am I writing about the Super Bowl on a blog about nutrition? Well, today is a day of indulgence on which people will consume all sorts of nutritionally deficient, calorie-laden food. Lest you think this is just an opinion, a recently published study indicated that people purchase food with more calories for today’s festivities than they do for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Despite all of our good intentions with New Year’s resolutions, it seems that we don’t really “clean up” our diets until after the Super Bowl is over. In the spirit of football, there will be an inordinate amount of French fries, chicken wings, pizza and sliders eaten today. People will snack on potato chips, tortilla chips, puffy cheese chips, onion flavored chips, and chips dipped in queso, salsa, guacamole or 7-layer dip. (Mmmmm… queso!)
So, why am I writing about the Super Bowl, unless my point is to pass judgment on football-appropriate food (which it’s not)? Because I am in the middle of a gluten/dairy/soy/corn/egg/sugar/alcohol elimination diet! And it’s Super Bowl Sunday!! Which means I can’t eat queso!!! (Mmmmm… queso.)
I mean, I know there is never a fully convenient time to do a cleanse, detox, elimination diet, or any other kind of diet in which beloved foods are restricted. There is always a holiday, birthday, celebration, or Saturday for which some currently forbidden food “should” be consumed. I get it. But I’ve never been four weeks into a protocol in which so many of the foods that I really enjoy eating are abundantly available and not “allowed”. Ugh!
To be honest, last week I was thinking about taking a day off from the protocol. It started with considering a full pass to eat whatever I want for today only. But I know that the rule follower in me would not allow that. So, I started thinking about just taking a break from the sugar and alcohol part (since those aren’t things that I’m “testing”). But then I realized that any sugar or wine would impact my immune system, and I’d likely have to restart the protocol on Tuesday or Wednesday after allowing my body to get back to my “new normal”. And that would mean that the whole process would take even longer!
The final nail in the take-a-day-off coffin was when I remembered that my health is more important than queso.
I am not doing this elimination diet because it is convenient or even fun. I’m not avoiding all of these foods because I think it will make my life easier. I am doing this because I want to know how the foods that I choose to eat impact my body and mind. I have made a conscious decision to further my understanding of my own physiology through a controlled process. I am doing this elimination diet, knowing that it’s never convenient, so I can further personalize my nutrition and be the best, most vibrant version of myself.