Gluten Makes Me an Average Employee

I’d like to make the first blog post about addressing our individual physiological needs.  Not only are physiological requirements the foundation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, unmet or partially met needs really take a toll on our ability to nurture relationships and perform daily tasks; both in the home and at work.  If basic needs are not met, we will never reach our true potential.

As an example, I found out a few years ago that I was gluten-intolerant.  Gluten is found in wheat, rye, and barley as well as in many processed foods because it is used as a stabilizer.  It is surprisingly easy to get gluten poisoning from cross-contamination or just misreading the ingredient package (especially since I’m still in denial about needing reading glasses).  Just the other day, I mistakenly ate REAL bread crumbs instead of MY gluten-free bread crumbs and it made everyday work-related tasks very difficult.  I was totally hoping I wouldn’t make a scene and embarrass myself at work.  I kept telling myself that if I could just make it to the end of the day, I would have a four-day vacation to recover.  The focus on just making it through the day meant I couldn’t be proactive and productive.

Gluten poisoning is brutal and, while you don’t want anyone around, you also don’t want to be alone.  So, I typically text my daughter for sympathy.

Abridged text messages between me and my daughter:

Buster C. Wellington, III

Buster C. Wellington, III

Me:  So, the gluten is crushing my body and I’m in the bathroom making noises that you typically only hear when you are trying to kill a moose.  Buster (my English Bulldog) is so frightened that he barks outside the bathroom every once in a while.  I don’t know if he is cheering on my would-be killer or if he is saying “Don’t kill her!  Who will feed me?”

Daughter:  I feel a little bad for giggling and I don’t know who I should feel worse for; you or Buster?

Me:  Buster.  I was the one who ate the crumbs.  I’ll chat later.  It’s time to go back into the bathroom to scare Buster.

Just think of how weirdly embarrassing this would have been if it had happened at work.

Before I was diagnosed, my doctor really thought it was my Type-A personality making my stomach hurt and that totally made sense because I can be a little intense.  The months before the diagnosis were the worst and I not only couldn’t live up to the proactive person that everyone knew me to be, I also could barely get my job done.  I went from being the “employee you could always count on” to the “slightly below average employee who was out sick a lot”.  It hurt my ego and my reputation.

I learned how my body digested (or didn’t digest) foods and then changed my diet.  It was as if aliens stole my broken, dilapidated old body and replaced it with a refurbished, slightly less broken one. And it only took 3 days to see marked improvement.  Productively shot through the roof and my self-confidence was back.

So, there are four things we can all learn from this.  One, if you constantly have a headache, stomachache, or other issue, check with your doctor.  Two, small changes in your diet can make HUGE changes in your ability to perform.  Three, don’t eat bread crumbs unless you personally saw the package they came out of.  And, four, let the dog outside so he doesn’t get scared.

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