It should be a simple thing. I'm sick. My guts don't work right. The nice nutritionist has given me a list of foods to avoid for six weeks so that I'll feel better and give my body a chance to heal. All I have to do is stop eating them.
So why is it so hard? That, my friends, turns out to be a very long list:
- Since I've been chubby since puberty, people are always giving me diet advice.
- I now hate diet advice.
- Everyone thinks they are a food expert.
- I'm old enough to remember when sugar was bad for you, saccharine was good for you as well as fat and red meat.
- Since I've been sick with CFS I've been tinkering with my diet to make sure whatever I eat doesn't make me nauseous or give me heartburn. If I don't feel good after I eat it I don't have it again.
- Prior to getting sick I have been tinkering with my diet for the last ten years. Tweeking it out so that I have sustained energy over the day and the best sleep at night.
- I gave up coffee 4 years ago.
- I gave up wheat 5 years ago.
- I've been very consciencious about what I eat since college and even when total vegetarian for years afterwards.
- I gave up anything artificial 19 years ago. (After a fake butter implosion: long story)
- I started eating organic 18 years ago.
- I gave up eating cows 30 years ago and never reintroduced them into my diet when I started eating meat again.
- I feel like my nutrition work is unappreciated by the nutritionist. No one has said good job.
- People just see a chubby woman and think gee she must eat a lot of donuts. I don't even remember when I last ate a donut, even a GF one.
- Several docs have mentioned me loosing weight. Shit didn't they notice I'm a tad sick????
- One of the CFS docs mentioned putting me on a weight loss plan once I'm done with the elimination diet. If he mentions it again I'm firing him. I mean WTF dude???
- I am an emotional eater.
- The elimination diet takes away all and I do mean ALL of my comfort foods. Every single one.
- No chocolate. No dairy. No cheese. No tea with milk. No ice cream. No oatmeal made with milk.
- I have to come up with new recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- All my go to food is now forbidden.
- I don't have the energy to cook everything from scratch.
- I have to find new snacks.
- I have to find new sources of protein since I need it at each meal to keep my blood sugar stable.
- Rice protein powder has a gritty mouth feel to it.
- Fish for breakfast???? I can't eat dairy, eggs, bacon or ham.
- The little guy in my head is screaming bloody murder.
- But mostly he is yelling, " I CAN'T DO THIS!!!! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING??"
I must say that I have made some progress. I've managed to drop baked goods out of my diet. I ran out of GF bread and English muffins two weeks ago and haven't bought any to replace them. I've also dropped corn out of my diet as of last week. I actually ate rice with my cacciatore instead of corn pasta. I've also dropped the night shade vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. I've just started skipping salad dressing, vinegar and soy sauce. Soy was easy to drop since the only kind I had was the occasional spritz of soy sauce. Once I finished up the oranges I had just purchased citrus was off the list.
So what is left behind? Sugar and dairy and chocolate.
Although I did have an excellent GF pizza for my birthday so I ingested yeast. The crust is made from millet and flax which are on my okay list so it was just the yeast, sugar, tomatoes and cheese that were no nos. However, the pizza was a one time cheat.
Sugar I think I'm going to be able to give up. Apart from chocolate things I don't eat much of it now anyway. I do make a couple of dinners that requires it to balance out the acid in the dish but I'm not allowed to eat citrus anymore so I can't make those dishes anyway.
Chocolate is going to be real hard. Particularly since this is one of my big comfort foods. The one I turn to when I feel bad emotionally. I don't particularly care what form it comes in. It can be bars, baking chips or ice cream. As long as it is chocolate. However, I think I can do this. I had my last chocolate binge tonight. I went out for a birthday dinner at Legal Seafoods. I behaved and had grilled fish, brown rice and green beans. But I wanted a nice birthday dessert before committing to The Diet From Hell so I had a wonderful chocolate mousse. Yum! Yay!
As for diary. I've been trying out new dishes as substitutes for my eggs for breakfast, yogurt snacks and cheese laced dinners. Some of them are really good: cashew butter on rice cakes, butter beans with olive oil, rosemary, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Some of them are nasty: rice protein powder, coconut milk and mango smoothie. YUCK!
However, something my shrink said got me reframing this. She told me this is only temporary. Once I find out what is bothering me then at least I know what it is. I can still eat it if I want but understand that the food has consequences. So I made a decision this morning.
Years ago when I figured out that I had a wheat sensitivity I was also tested for milk allergy. I don't have one. Since having CFS I run hot and cold with milk. If I'm doing okay I seem to be able to tolerate it fine as long as I don't have too much of it. When I get really sick with CFS then I can't have it and yogurt is the first to give me trouble. When I get that bad I severely cut back on my dairy intake. My morning tea with milk is always my last hold out.
So what is my decision? Since I'm not flat out allergic to it, I'm going to eat the stuff anyway once the elimination diet is over, I've already tinkered with it in my diet and know how it affects me, so I'm going to keep my morning cup of tea with milk. That is my small defiance in the face of The Diet From Hell. I'm having my cup of tea. I will even go decaffinated but I'm English and we stop wars for tea time. Black tea with milk in the morning.