Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Food Allergy Denial
I wish I could just ride off into the sunset and leave all these food allergies behind! But before I start venting about how frustrating the food allergic life is, let me take a minute to introduce you to my father, pictured above in 1940. He grew up in a 3-family home in the city, but you'd never know it from his ease on this tired pony! Apparently, someone came around from house to house with the costume and the horse, taking photos for a small fee. Judging from the huge smile on his face, my dad really enjoyed his two minutes as a cowboy :)
So, I'm getting to the end of my rope with this allergy thing (how do you like that slick transition from cowboy to allergy?). I discussed a few weeks ago how it is common to crave the foods to which you are allergic, and I'm struggling with this quite a bit this week. Last weekend we went out to dinner with some new friends, and for a variety of reasons, I decided it would be okay to eat some of the things I've been told to avoid. Now I'm paying for that lapse, because my entire body is crying out for more, while at the same time all my crummy symptoms are back. Why would I eat something that I knew would cause me uncomfortable symptoms later? Well, every once in a while, I drift into food allergy denial.
Sounds odd for someone who blogs about living with food allergies EVERY DAY, huh? Yeah, I know. I'm thinking of trying to make a case for writers/creative people being able to slip more easily into fantasy worlds, but that's just me trying not to take responsibility for my actions. I think what's really happening is that I haven't fully appreciated how strong my food addictions really are.
In my last post on this topic, I briefly touched on how eating allergens can produce a euphoric response, followed by an increased craving for that particular food (here's a great explanation of why). Even after carefully avoiding several dozen specific foods for several months, I still find myself longing to eat them, especially when I'm tired or haven't eaten in a few hours. What's worse, if I do allow myself a little bite, the next day the craving is worse.
I thought I'd feel wonderful after eliminating allergenic foods from my diet, but I am actually feeling bored and kind of disappointed. I miss the euphoric feelings, the "high" I get from eating crazy things like cheese, green olives, or even corn chips (cheesy corn chips are even worse!). I'm discouraged that all of my symptoms haven't abated, and I'm weary of constantly having to work so hard just to eat.
Last weekend, I really wanted to make a positive impression on our new friends, and struggled with a nagging feeling that making a big deal about my food allergies would make me seem prissy, fussy, or high-maintenance. I know, I'm a big girl, I should be more confident about being myself, but in the back of my mind, my food addictions were calling to me and trying to convince me that "taking a break" from food avoidance was justified. It worked.
I had a *spectacular* time at the restaurant, indulging in every one of my favorite foods, which of course, are all the foods I'm allergic to. It was fun while it lasted, but today, three days later, I'm finally regretting it. All day I've felt physically unable to make good food choices. I look in the fridge at all the healthy fruits and vegetables and don't want them at all... they look terrible today. I. Want. Something. Good. Never mind my upset stomach, my wildly fluctuating blood sugar, or the unattractive cystic acne covering my face like chicken pox. I. Want. Something. Good.
It's almost like a weird little alien living in my brain. Letting a little bit of allergenic stuff back into my diet has opened the floodgates to my cravings, and I'm almost back at square one. I suppose I should be grateful that my allergies aren't anaphylactic, but I almost feel as though I need that grave reaction to shore up my jello-like will power. My wimpier reactions, as rotten as they are, don't seem to be enough to keep me off the junk.
The worst part of this whole ordeal is that I'm not sleeping well, and as a result, don't have enough energy to properly complete my daily tasks, which include a whole lot of baking. I'm grumpy and twitchy and uncomfortable, and I didn't cook a damn thing today. Luckily, we had enough leftovers that the family didn't go hungry, but what kind of mom puts something as minor as a food craving ahead of her children? Now I can add guilt to my list of unpleasant emotions dragging me toward the Doritos like an industrial-sized, ever-growing magnet.
Tomorrow my plan is to start the day with the healthiest breakfast I can muster up. Ideally, I would then leave the house and go somewhere where I can't get at any food, but I have a locksmith coming tomorrow to fix a door, so I'm stuck for a while. Maybe I'll lock myself in the basement and clean like a maniac until the cravings pass? What do drug addicts do when they need to get their minds off their bodies?
Has anyone else experienced this kind of speed bump? What did you do to get past it? Looking forward to reading your advice :)
Shared with Gluten Free Wednesday at the Gluten Free Homemaker and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Freaky Friday at Real Food Freaks and Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health and the Gallery of Favorites at Premeditated Leftovers.
Labels: Life with Food Allergies