I could preface this blog post with a very long story about my declining health, but really, you don’t want to hear all that. Besides, it makes me sound old. I’ll skip to the part where I found out that I’m basically a medical mess and the “cure” is to significantly improve my diet. And by significantly, I mean MAKE HUGE CHANGES! I’ve never been a great eater. I hate vegetables in general, I don’t enjoy the whole cooking process; from meal planning to shopping to preparation; and all in all I would rather make a reservation for dinner than actual food.
But, my “new diet” is supposed to consist of organic food, grass fed meat products, perfectly proportioned meals (meaning I can’t skip vegetables) no products with high-fructose corn syrup, and I’m NEVER to eat a carbohydrate by itself; ALWAYS pair it with a protein. And if that wasn’t “fun” enough, I am also intolerant to dairy and soy, so no products containing either of those ingredients.
Let’s just say, there were quite a few tears the first week or two. I know it sounds stupid to cry over a change in diet but seriously, it’s quite overwhelming at first. The soy thing in and of itself, would have caused enough trauma, but add the “no dairy” and the whole organic fiasco, and what you end up with is an emotional mess. I pretty much felt like Minnie Driver in the movie Return to Me when she wails “Why does God hate me?”
Truthfully, I felt pretty stupid about all the crying until I called my sister-in-law who told me she sees people in the health food store crying all the time. (She has a son on a gluten-free diet.) When she encounters a woman in tears she knows right away they’ve just been diagnosed with a food intolerance and offers them a kind word of encouragement; which she also offered me. At least I’m not the only crying, nut-case in the world.
It’s been nearly two months since this lovely diagnosis and I have to say that I’m in a much better frame of mind these days. It helps, of course, that I do feel better since that is the ultimate goal. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
First off, when someone at the health food store tells you something tastes just like “chocolate ice cream” it’s code for “I haven’t had chocolate ice cream in so long I don’t have a clue what it tastes like.” I’m not saying that coconut milk, soy-free, dairy-free, chocolate yogurt isn’t good; I’m just saying it doesn’t taste like chocolate ice cream . . . at all.
I’ve also learned that going out to eat at a “mid-level” (think $$) restaurant severely limits your options – though it can be done. To their credit, Red Robin will print out a menu for people with dietary restrictions. If, however, you are allergic to dairy AND soy, your only real choice is a hamburger sans bun, and a salad with red-wine vinegar. Yum! Fast food is basically no longer an option at all BUT the high end restaurants use better ingredients and therefore provide at least one, and possibly two or three options for a delicious meal. John, of course, is thrilled knowing that the price of date night just went up.
And, while the nutrition doctor is a wealth of information, she also has taste buds that I believe are somewhat skewed. Cashew butter, contrary to her opinion, is not as addictive as crack cocaine. In fact, I wonder if she isn’t confusing said butter with crack. In addition to her taste buds problem, she doesn’t really understand the whole “goal” here. Her goal is to help me feel better and have more energy. I appreciate that, but let’s be real; if I’m going to give up chocolate chip cookies, pizza with cheese (you haven’t really “lived” until you’ve had cheese-free pizza), and ranch dressing, well, there just better be some weight loss involved; which I’m happy to say there has been.
When I reported said weight loss to my doctor she said, “Nancy, it’s not about losing weight.” Seriously, for a smart woman, she can be so stupid sometimes. If I have to eat organic, soy-free, dairy-free food, there had better be some weight loss involved or it could get ugly. She’s heard me whine, but to date, she still has no real concept of my whining capabilities.