What happened when I took charge and became my own private investigator is nothing short of amazing. AMAZING!
I did one of the popular cleansing diets for a few weeks, nothing drastic, I was still having some relatively normal meals. I devoted myself to the program for six weeks: no sugar, no alcohol, no unhealthy snacking, just whole foods and some protein. My one daily treat was the eight-ounce cup of coffee that I enjoyed each morning. By the end of the six weeks, I felt great. I had lost 10 pounds and had a noticeably more positive mental outlook.
The way an elimination diet works, you start adding foods back and if suddenly a symptom returns, then you have demonstrated to yourself that that food is somehow a culprit in your particular body. Some people might get headaches back; some people might feel depressed; others might get a surge of inflammation like muscle pain or a rash that had quieted down during the experiment.
So I started adding foods back in, one by one, so that I could observe if a particular food was driving any of my health problems. I liked how I had lost weight on the elimination, and I didn’t want to undo all the good results by mindlessly returning to my old ways of eating. It just so happened that I walked up to my desk and someone had left a cold frosty diet soda. I certainly hadn’t been drinking soda on the diet, and in general I have a soda only now and then, but there was this frosty can sitting on my desk. I sat down, opened it and took a few deep drinks straight from the can.
It was a good thing I was sitting down because it wasn’t long before I suddenly lost my vision. The vision loss was like large black circles in both eyes; there was light and a kind of peripheral vision. I couldn’t believe what was happening, I think I was in shock. In any case, I can’t remember any other symptoms because my anxiety was through the roof. As I sat there, after several minutes the blackness faded and I could see again. The experience certainly got my attention. When I felt more composed, I clicked around on the internet to see what might have happened. I have no idea if the visual problems associated with aspartame explain my experience; all I really needed to know is that I need to never drink another diet soda. I tell my story to my diet soda-drinking friends, usually without results. That’s OK, at least they know who they can talk to if they want to feel better and become willing to work on their eating habits.
I am still in the early stages of my journey, and I’m grateful that I had a dramatic reaction to my first experiment. It helps me stay in the process of being my own private investigator, engaged in discovering my body’s ways of telling me how it reacts to the processed food supply. It has given me a whole new perspective on paying detailed attention to what I am eating and continuing with this important work.