The Emotional and Physical Toll of Diet Transformation: From Struggle to Triumph

By Published On: October 25th, 20231132 wordsViews: 157
Gourmet Gluten & Grain Free Baking Mixes | Grain Free Mama’s

Discovering you have to change your diet due to illness or autoimmune issues is a deeply transformative experience. For some, it comes as a relief—a long-sought answer to nagging symptoms—but for others, it brings a heavy emotional toll. One must come to terms with the lifestyle changes, the social dynamics, and even their identity as they adapt to new eating habits.

In this article, we’ll explore the layers of emotional and physical toll this change can impose, using my own journey as a case study that led to the birth of Grain Free Mama’s, the Food Breakthrough: Adjust Your Diet, Transform Your Life book and cookbook, and A Place At The Table online community.

The moment you learn that you must change your diet significantly due to health issues is often met with disbelief, denial, and sometimes even anger. All of the sudden, you don’t fit into society the way you used to. Foods you once enjoyed and considered staples in your life suddenly become your worst enemies. These feelings can be isolating, especially when you’re learning a new “food language” that many around you may not speak.

There’s a sense of loss that comes with this dietary change—loss of social interactions that revolve around food, and even loss of cultural ties that are deeply intertwined with what you eat. This societal aspect cannot be overlooked, as food is central to our lives, and a change can often feel like a barrier to social interaction. When you are out with friends or family and you are trying to decide upon a restaurant to go to, now all eyes are on you. This can be really unsettling and depressing. You are left asking yourself afterwards, ‘Is it even worth it to be put in that position?’

My story began in earnest back in late 2003. I started having trouble with my gallbladder. The doctors couldn’t figure it out, as I had no gall stones. It turns out that it quit working at all (too loaded down with toxins) and so eventually they took it out thinking that would solve the problem. Once I got home, my stomach turned inside-out when I ate the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) they suggested.  I had to change radically change the way I ate because anything that was even kind of questionable in my diet before was a ‘no go’ overnight.

In January 2004, out of the blue, my 6 yr. old daughter just bent over screaming one evening. I thought her appendix burst! We rushed to the emergency room only to find out that everything came back normal. It wasn’t her appendix.  Fortunately, my sister Patty was studying to be a natural nutritionist at the time, and she suggested that the problem could be foods. I found the best naturally and traditionally trained doctor that I could. Off we went to Longmont, Florida to find out what the problem was. Much to my dismay within five minutes in his office he says, “When little Anna Mae eats wheat and sugar, it makes a toxic little punch that’s burning holes in her intestines.” That moment our diet’s radically changed.

Anna Mae felt like her life had ended, eating wise. We left the doctor’s office, went to the closest natural grocery market, and as we walked down the aisles, I realized immediately everything had changed. All I could see were all the products that we couldn’t eat! There wasn’t that much to choose from back in 2004. We bought a gluten free baked good, stood outside the store face-to-face and took a bite. The stuff exploded like sawdust in our mouths! Anna Mae’s eyes started watering, her chin quivering and a passion was ignited in me! I said, “Mommy is a scientist. Pinky promise – one day we will provide the products and the resources that we wish were available for us today.”

I am a scientist (BS Biology with a focus in Microbiology and Botany). My unquenchable passion became learning and creating baked goods that would be life-giving and safe for us to eat for a lifetime. I taught myself to be a natural food scientist, and what happened in the interim was that I created a whole different way to make baked goods that have the well-loved and known taste and texture profile, but without the inflammatory properties.

In my own journey grappling with health issues, I found that navigating the labyrinth of food choices was far more than just reading ingredient labels. It was a quest for reclaiming health and well-being, which led me to establish Grain Free Mama’s. I wanted to create a product line that would take away the guesswork and stress from dietary transformations. It is a brand rooted in the principles of natural foods that are edible grass ingredient-free (no flours of gluten or non-gluten grains, no corn, no rice, and no cane sugar), dairy-free, soy free, botanical nut free, and devoid of artificial preservatives.

I believe that even with dietary restrictions, you can still enjoy delicious and nutritious foods. We definitely do, each and every day!

As you settle into your new diet, you may experience a rebirth of sorts—learning to appreciate food in a new way. For me, it was a time of culinary discovery and innovation. It eventually led to the writing of my book, “Food Breakthrough: Adjust Your Diet Transform Your Life,” a comprehensive guide helps to develop the knowledge to make healthier choices simple. This helps you to make the mindset transition that makes dietary transition a seamless process.

During the pandemic, I received calls from many people who were desperate to reduce inflammation in their bodies to safeguard against the worst with the Coronavirus pandemic. Realizing the need for emotional support and educational resources during such a crucial transition, I also founded A Place At The Table—a global online community. Here, members can attend webinars, seminars, and even take part in topic-specific challenges to reinforce the idea that food is not just sustenance but also a gateway to better health and community building.

The path of dietary transformation due to sickness or autoimmune issues can be winding and fraught with challenges both physical and emotional. However, if my journey has taught me anything, it’s that these obstacles can become steppingstones to a healthier and more fulfilling life. The key is to arm yourself with knowledge, be open to change, and seek community support. Change is difficult but remaining stuck in a pattern that harms your health is far worse.

So, whether you’re in the nascent stages of dietary transformation or knee-deep in the experience, remember it’s a journey that’s worth every step. And you’re not alone.

Margie, Founder of Grain Free Mama’s

Margie Traxler | Owner, Grain Free Mamas

Written by Margie Traxler
Grain Free Mama’s is a FoodTech Consumer Product Goods company. We make gluten/grain/sugar free (Edible Grasses Free), dairy free and botanical nut free baking mixes that put the simple back into simply good for you. We also have educational resources to help you on your healthy eating journey. Margie, the Founder/CEO, received her B.S. in Biology from Portland State University. She has 22 years of experience as a successful Restaurant owner. She lives and operates her business in Henderson, Nevada.

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