We made a cake one weekend that I couldn’t eat and it sat in the fridge, just daring me to try it.
And why don’t I? When I ate it that weekend, I ended up with headache, inflammation throughout my body, and a sleepless night. Not to mention my tongue was all scratchy and swelly and my throat was sore.
That had been happening for about a week, in fact. After furiously searching the Internet for other people like me, I found them: the SULFITE SENSITIVE!!!!!!!
That tells me that the no-additives journey that I had been on for 8 months at that time (and wasn’t totally sticking to the beaten path) was right on — there are sulfites in pretty much anything that doesn’t arrive on your table straight from the ground. (And some of those, such as onions, garlic, and grapes, have it naturally).
After another two years, in which I have completely let this blog lapse during nursing school, I’ve been trying to cut down to vegetables and fruit, plain meats (prepared with individual spices is ok), unadulterated grains, and anything else I can get away with. Naturally, I immediately need to beat the odds and find myself SOME kind of junk/comfort/sweet food that I can eat from time to time. This has for the most part led to frustration — for whatever reason, the “new rage” ingredients in “natural” health food products such as agave nectar, palm oil, and weird flours like Timothy grass do NOT agree with me at all.
The kicker is, there is actually a fair amount of food that I can eat, though preparing everything from scratch does take time. It’s the social aspect of food that makes this kind of eating difficult. As an anthropologist, I have studied the social aspects of eating with an eye towards health maintenance. Those who must follow special diets — those with diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, –kidney disease to name a few — experience many barriers to following those diets. Availability of proper foods is usually not the culprit. It’s family. It’s culture. It’s holidays and trips and visiting friends and school functions and all those multitudes of moments in any culture where food is an expected part — and those moments happen to make up the most part of our lives. If I try to avoid some of those moments to make it easier on myself or others, I start missing life.
So the next step of my journey, now that I’ve limited so many foods in my diet, is to find a way to add some back in. Not because I’m missing out nutritionally, but because I don’t want to start missing out on life.