The Perils of a Non-Wine Diet

No, no, not having wine has been fine - TOTALLY FINE.

I've mentioned before that I have SIBO (aka Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), which basically means at some point I had one too many bouts of food poisoning/food allergies, and now I have no clue what I should and shouldn't be eating to get better. I've spent the last couple of years dabbling amongst gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free (EGADS cheese-free) and sugar-free diets. Oh, what a joy it's been!

For the last year, I've been mainly sugar and grain-free, which hasn't been too terrible. Sure, I gave up a lot of bread and desserts, but I still had my honey and my wine, so they were my trusty companions on my life raft of diet isolation. The funny thing was, being a candy/sugar-holic my whole life, I actually started to TASTE things in vegetables that I hadn't before. Now, I'm not going to tell you that suddenly asparagus tasted like Lucky Charms, but I have found veggies to be not as horrific as I once thought. Tea is suddenly less bland! I can stomach the idea of cauliflower! WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME!

But, unfortunately, as much as I wanted to convince myself that the diet was slowly choking out the SIBO on its own, I had to admit it wasn't quite gone. And swallow my fears to visit the doctor my gastro recommended . . . who just so happens to work at the CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE - how's that for reassuring me and motivating me to try the next step? So yeah, I put off going there for ohhhh about 6 months. Maybe a bit longer. C'mon diet, do your magic! Ugh. So eventually I sulked on over to the CID and met a lovely doctor who was completely reasonable and non-panicky and recommended I try both the antibiotic I'd had previous success with combined with another one that MAY OR MAY NOT CAUSE LIVER DAMAGE AND HEARING LOSS. She laughed and said "Ohhh, only if you take it for months, and you'll only be taking it for 2 weeks, no big!" So I got the prescription filled in record time (I was hoping they'd have to take years to fill it) and sat staring at my latest round of antibiotics. And proceeded to put off taking them another 2 months. Hey, I'm a travelin' fiend, alright? I can't be expected to sell comics and travel AND be taking a zillion ear-murdering pills every day!

So I waited until I was going to be at home for a solid 2 weeks. And I decided that in conjunction with the liver/ear slaughtering meds, I should probably give up alcohol for the duration too, just to give it the best chance to work. As much as I was dreading taking the pills (because it's always fun having people make assumptions about you when you're a lady of a certain age being nauseous in public), I was dreading going alcohol free more. Two weeks without my wine! Now I'm just trapped in this boat with my honey!

So here I am, a week in. One more week to go! Will this work?? WHO KNOWS!

Here are some of the things I've discovered so far in not drinking wine:

  • I am much more active. Not drinking means I won't go "Oh, I had a glass of wine today, therefore I can't go for a run/bike ride/exercise activity at all".
  • A lot of times I feel obligated to drink. Not by any other person, more just in the situation. I used to feel the same way about food before I had any restrictions in my diet. "I CAN eat chips, so I might as well eat chips nonstop at this party" became "I might as well drink wine, since it's not like I can have dessert"
  • I'm also more productive. "I can't drink, so I might as well get these pages inked." Not drinking wine = boredom = gettin' shit done.
  • I sleep better. Like a ROCK, in fact.

Now, I'm not making this list to tell y'all that I'm going to be giving up wine. Rather, I find it kind of interesting that as with restrictive diets, I've discovered cutting out one or two things for a short duration provides me with perspective and an opportunity to learn how good I can be at flexing my willpower muscles. And it's true when they say that flexing willpower gives you more confidence to conquer other things. Hell, I should've already learned that when I had to give up cheese. If I can do that, I CAN DO ANYTHING. The thing I need to figure out is how to do that without restrictions when (if ever) I'm back to my normal life. How to retain some good habits without being all hardcore about it? I'm like a cheetah in that regard - I'm successful at short bursts. I'm not a monster.

But I did already pass my first test last weekend, when a mistake with the food at my favorite restaurant motivated the manager to BRING US OUT FREE MIMOSAS. My fiancee, who's kindly been having a dry 2 weeks with me, had to take one for the team. Because of course you're offered free, delicious alcohol when you can't have it. Of course.

And thus continues the latest chapter in my ongoing GUT WAR. I'll let you know what happens when I get my wine back.

Wanna read the whole story of my food drama in exciting, whiny installments? Click here!

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