Hello. My name is Josh. I’m an improv theatre artist, drummer, and proud Solcanaut. For those of you that don’t know me, I’m otherwise known as Hannah Wydeven’s husband and Petey’s dad. I’m also currently enrolled in the Essential You 201 with Lucia Hawley, NTP over in our Solcana Wellness Center. It’s been a roller coaster so far, and I’d love to share some of what I’m experiencing.
For those of you that haven’t done the Essential You 201 (EY201) program, it’s a 6-week class, with a 4-week dietary challenge. We meet once a week for 90 minutes to learn how the food we eat affects our mood, energy levels, and overall health. Topics of discussion range from blood sugar regulation to what your poo says about you. The dietary restrictions require cutting out grains, sugar, processed foods; things like that. I completed the Essential You 101 (EY101) last summer, and am now into week 3 of EY201.
When I started this round of the Essential You 201, I was very optimistic. I’ve done dietary restrictions like cutting out sugar before, and I’ve never been the kind of person who’s said “no way, I could never give up cheese/beer/sugar/etc.” If I know I’m cutting out a certain food for a finite amount of time, it means that I’ll get it back eventually. No big deal. But by the end of the first week of the dietary challenge this time around, I honestly didn’t think I would make it. Even though I was 100% compliant with the restrictions (except when I had a small slice of cake on my birthday), I was very close to emailing Lucia to tell her that I’d give it another shot at a different time.
Any time you change the way you eat, you’re going to change the way you feel. That’s really one of the biggest things you learn when you are doing any Essential You class. The first few days of the dietary challenge is always tough. You’re primarily dealing with sugar withdrawal, but there are other changes that happen with your body when you swap out, say, baguettes and brie, with broccoli, broccoli slaw, and broccoli soup. This time around I was adding to that the stress of an enormous dental bill (Hannah flosses now), advertising my upcoming show*, an Incredible Shrinking Bank Account, the realization that my career as a drummer is really not as far along as I’d like because I have crippling self-doubt, and wondering what I’m going to do about all of it. It was a salad bar of panic attacks and hopelessness, where you’re not allowed to use the dressing. I didn’t feel like I was up to the challenges that I saw in my life, let alone the challenge of having to make a food that wasn’t going to give me leaky gut syndrome (you can look that one up yourself).
It was a salad bar of panic attacks and hopelessness, where you’re not allowed to use the dressing.
On the first day of the challenge, I was feeling great. I told Hannah, who usually does a lion’s share of the food prep when we do these challenges, that I was going to make some things for us to eat. It’s not that I don’t like to cook, it’s that I’m a slow person, who does things slowly, and is generally too slow at things. Cooking is where I EXCEL at being too slow. But I thought, “now is the time where I figure out how to be a FAST COOK!”. SO, on the second day, Hannah tasked me with the quickest meal on Lucia’s EY201 meal plan: the broccoli soup. She laid out all the ingredients and told me it would take about a half hour to make. It took me three hours. I don’t know HOW THAT HAPPENED. SO MUCH CHOPPING. I was very frustrated with myself. After that I started to feel hopeless (HOW AM I GOING TO HAVE TIME TO BE A GOOD DRUMMER IF I SPEND MY LIFE CHOPPING?!), and by the next day my body was noticing a lack of M&Ms and things were going downhill. I was so anxious about the things in my life that needed to change (I hate change), that the change in my diet was just too overwhelming. But I kept on moving and tried to power through it as best I could.
After the 4th day something happened: the dietary changes that I made started evening out my moods. My head got more clear, I calmed down, and noticed that I suddenly had more energy. I started feeling more productive, because I had more energy to get things done. And that successful feeling allowed me to look at my life with much more optimism and control. I even made Saturday night dinner and it only took me an hour!
Now, two weeks in, I feel like change is still scary, but more manageable. It’s to the point where I’m wondering how much the stuff I was putting into my body was contributing to me being stuck. If you are constantly dealing with exhaustion from blood sugar spikes and crashes, how can you effectively move to the places that scare you? Oh, and after a few weeks of going sans sugar, the flavors in food start to pop out at you like a delicious spider hiding in the laundry.
I’m looking forward to seeing what the next two weeks bring. Who knows? Maybe I’ll take a risk and cook some slow-cooker chili.
I will keep you posted.
*Josh Kaplan: Give The Drummer Some feat. Justin Nellis and Shrieking Harpies” Sunday, May 21st, at 7pm. Bryant Lake Bowl