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I was having a very engaging conversation with a friend this weekend, while sipping on some delicious freshly squeezed orange juice in a warm sunlit corner of our local coffee shop, when she stopped mid-sentence, held up her hands and said. “Wait! Don’t let me forget, I want to talk about food with you!”

Just a few days before this conversation took place I received an email from another friend and new mama who said, “I was hoping you could share some recipes with me when you come over. My original goal was to go gluten-free next week to see if there would be a change in how I feel (and I’m confident there will be) but I’m not sure I’m ready yet. Part of it is probably due to fear, but I’m also not sure where to start or what meals to make. And I don’t want to start this endeavor without being prepared because I feel that will just lead to failure. So perhaps you could share some of your knowledge and recipes?” I only wish I could have been this articulate about how I was feeling and what I needed at the beginning of my gluten-free adventure!

I think the universe has been trying to tell me something along the lines of, “Hey, You… Yeah, You! People like talking about food with you. Whatcha gonna do now?”

Ideas often grow on me slowly, but last night, WHAM! I got one. When it occurred to me it was like a shot of electricity ran through my body. I blurted it out to my husband and he responded with a wide smile and, “Yes, that makes so much sense!”

I love to talk about food – you may have noticed if you read me regularly. I love to learn about food and how it nourishes our bodies and heals us from disease. I love supporting other people as they learn to embrace a new relationship with food. As I have said in the past, my relationship with food is a complicated one, and one that I am still working to understand more fully. Last night, in my shocking moment of clarity, it dawned on me that there must be so many others on this same journey. Maybe my fellow travelers are are seeking a new, healthier way of relating to food. Maybe they, like my friend, have discovered specific sensitivities and don’t know quite where to start. Maybe they have chronic conditions like Lyme Disease or Diabetes and are looking for nutritional support. Maybe they are curious about local and/or organic food. Maybe they are just stuck in a rut and are looking for recipe inspiration.

We need to gather together and talk about food.

It’s a simple idea, but oh, so powerful.

My idea is to begin a small local gathering, either at my home or in some other cozy location that nurtures meaningful conversation and connection. At each meeting we would briefly address a specific, collectively pre-decided topic and then move into conversation and support. Everyone possesses valuable knowledge they have accumulated along their own unique journeys, and this gathering would be an amazing opportunity for peer-to-peer support and community. My role would be mainly that of facilitator, agenda planner, calendar organizer and record keeper, nothing more. I am not a nutritionist, nor an expert. But I sure do know a lot about what works for me, just as you know what works for you.

I want to let this idea of mine grow organically (to use a yummy food metaphor). Eventually, I also hope to be able to facilitate an online group that could connect via the virtual world, but I think person-to-person connection is the right way to begin.

I am hoping this gathering will be a little about food, a little about healthy living and a whole lot about exploring our relationships with food. We all know how to eat well, don’t we? So, why don’t we? I pose it is because we all have a complicated relationship with food interwoven with deep emotions, old habits and ineffective coping mechanisms. Our spiritual connection to our food could be called the Fifth Food Group – the most important and elusive one. The one that feeds our souls.

Right now this idea is in it’s infancy, I know. I was so moved to share it with you, to put it out in the universe, that I decided not to wait. I want to hear your response to this idea of mine. I want to know what you think – would you come? What would you want to talk about? What issues related to food are you struggling with? What successes have you had? What holds you back from being as healthy as you want to be? How can I help you live into being the person you have always wanted to be? Please leave your thoughts here in the comments – I will be eagerly awaiting each and every one of them.

I want to get down to the flesh and bones of our relationships with food. How we nourish ourselves is so much more than just what we eat.

On another, but not completely unrelated note, I have embarked upon a ten day medically supervised elimination diet and detox program. If you follow me on either Facebook or Twitter you have already had a few small glimpses into my experience. I just wanted to take a quick moment here to explain what I am doing and then give you a small update on how I am feeling. I plan on continuing to offer updates as I move through this process.

This detox was suggested by the holistic doctor I am partnering with on my Lyme journey. I took a small break from my antibiotic regimen last week and she thought that presented the perfect opportunity to begin a detox program. She feels that my liver could use some help clearing out all the gunk that builds up during long-term antibiotic therapy. She also felt strongly that the elimination diet part of this particular program could help me identify the specific causes of some lingering GI issues I have been dealing with. (I am very suspicious of eggs at the moment…)

The program I am using is made by Metagenics and involves me slowly decreasing both the types and quantity of food I am eating while increasing my consumption of a nutritionally balanced “medical food” as well as a targeted nutritional supplement. She sent me home with the necessary supplies and a wealth of detailed food lists, menu ideas and recipes.

I am just about to complete day two of the detox diet and for the most part I am feeling pretty much as I have been. I’ve been incredibly thirsty all day – probably due to the detox process getting under way – which is the only remarkable development I’ve noticed. I’m tired. Really, really tired, but that isn’t so unusual for me. Ideally, I would not be on antibiotics while I’m detoxing, but my doctor and I decided that because of the severity of my symptoms and the dramatic fashion with which they recur without them, I needed to begin another, stronger course of antibiotics. I think I am dealing with the beginning phase of my detox as well as a mild Herx Reaction to my new medication. It’s fun stuff, I tell you.

I’m hopeful that this process will allow my body to flush out a whole heap of nastiness and that it will also offer me further insight as to how I need to fine tune my diet. I understand that detoxing often gets worse before it gets better, and I’m committed to seeing this though. I wonder if I will feel the same way in a few days. I’ll keep you posted.