It’s kind of amazing I’ve been able to speak a kind word to anyone the last few days as I have embarked (at a physician’s suggestion and with her oversight, yadda yadda) on a rather annoying allergy elimination diet. Or as I like to call it, the “I Can’t Have Anything Nice With You Kids” diet. Basically, think of something you like to eat. Picturing it in you mind? Delicious, no? Guess what, I can’t eat it. I can’t consume any wheat, corn or corn products, oats, gluten (seriously? I can eat amaranth and quinoa and rice. Yippie.), I can’t have sugar or citrus, or alcohol or caffeine. Hey, did you hear that last part? About no booze and coffee? Oh and guess what? Sugar (or HFCS), corn, and wheat is in – everything. Every goddamned thing. I tried to buy some beef franks and they had corn in them. I tried to buy some “natural” and low-ingredient salad dressing – sugar. I found another bottle – this time, lemon juice, also a no-no.
You know what this food plan really is about? It’s about Eliminating Joy. “These instructions will allow you to substitute highly nutritious meals consisting of foods you rarely eat. You may not like it, but you will not be deprived of any important nutrients.” Ha! Yes! Fuck yes! I am not really liking it!
I am particularly a bad candidate for this kind of thing as A. I don’t have a history of “dieting” (i.e. a pursuit of weight loss through calorie-counting or food eschewal), B. Deprivation takes the energy out of me, and C. I am responsible for cooking for four people and seriously? As if I want some extra caveats in the kitchen. Stirring a few tablespoons of butter into the rest of the family’s spaghetti tonight and the starchy-buttery smell just felt Right. I am in the Wrong for not eating that stuff up (I didn’t – I’m no cheater).*
Well, twatever, the thing has started. Monday I was just about paralyzed with abrupt caffeine withdrawl (upon consulting with my doctor on Day 2 I discovered I was not actually required to forgo the stuff; yet I have gotten over the hump on no-caffeine so I’m keeping it that way). Tuesday I was a bit low energy – hello, no bread, no sugar, no coffee? Of course. Today, well, I’ve felt pretty much myself. And I won’t lie: the symptoms I initially sought treatment for (nighttime anxiety and onset insomnia, stomach cramps, diarrhea, skin breakouts) are improving. Sleep has been transformed. No stomach pains. No hangover fuzziness. No drunken, raunchy sext messages in the middle of the night. Oh wait, I didn’t do those before.
Mostly though, I just feel boring. I cook for the family but making myself separate meals feels odd and uncomfortable. I’m earnestly looking forward to a “normal”, whatever that is. I have no idea what that normal will look like, but I pray it doesn’t involve having to eat like this for any long duration. Like right now? I’m actually looking forward to my dessert of a banana and soy milk. A goddamned banana! Who the fuck likes those? Nobody. This is what I’ve been reduced to, people.
* By the way I am a pretty good cook and the fact I can’t cook things for myself makes my kitchen triumphs seem all the more precious. Tonight I made turkey meatballs infused with silken tofu – just a bit to give them body – and garlic, and fresh basil and bay leaves in a red sauce. I cook up the sauce from scratch on the oven about an hour, then saute up the meatballs put the whole business in my cast-iron casserole in the oven all day at 200 F. Butter beans and pasta for the rest of the family, a beet salad for myself. By the way, I made excellent meatballs and in fact no one can make turkey meatballs as moist and flavorful as I can.
(Thanks for the clip, Paige!)