My Dear Friends and Readers,
I truly understood the level of my addictive behavior towards food when I was told that at least for the next 90 days I could not eat chocolate, caffeine, most aged cheeses, nuts or most beans soy or soy products and did I say chocolate of any kind? After a series of tests it was discovered that I had migraines without the headache. My brain would go through the chemical process of having a migraine but without the headache. As a result I would become dizzy and nauseous and have to lie quietly for a day or two. I am glad that my physical ailment was diagnosed but I felt lost about what I could not eat.
Included on the list of forbidden foods were bananas, lemons oranges, onions, grapefruit, passion fruit, raisins and all dried fruit, spaghetti sauce, most commercially made salad dressings any kind of flavored potato chip or pop corn. The list is not endless but excludes most of the foods that I ate all the time, which I suppose was the basis for the migraines.
Unlike drugs or alcohol which is not required to stay alive food is required and therein lies the slippery slope for those of us who are either addicted to food or have addictive behaviors related to food- like I do. I had to ask myself, who would I be if I didn’t drink cup after cup of coffee every day?
Soy products- soy burgers, tempeh, tofu were staples along with beans also composed a lot of what I eat each day. With what would I replace these meat substitutes? A good question, the answer which I will discover in the next ninety days.
When I first received my restricted diet I tried to find some commonality for what I considered an odd list of foods. I speculated that nitrates which is a preservative and which occurs in many foods from red wine to dried fruit and cured meat- all things I can’t eat was a reason for one group of the long list of banned foods. The other group included fermented foods yogurt, and soy products. I suppose that fermented foods contain bacteria- although many say good bacteria, but perhaps for me not good. The fruits which are not permitted are high in sugar content which includes lemons, oranges and bananas. And of course caffeinated products sodas, teas, coffee and coffee substitutes can alter one’s brain chemistry.
Today, which is officially tax day, I am, after a weekend of fretting and pouting over the loss of some of my favorite foods, beyond the overwhelm and sadness about giving up the pleasure of eating certain foods. Today I am cautiously stepping into a brave new world of eating. I know that the result of giving up foods which my body reacts to as foreign substances will create a healthier me. Even though I know this intellectually I still long for that aromatic cup of Italian coffee heavily laced with soy milk. I know that these learned cravings will dissipate and in 90 days I will be in a physical and mental place where I have never been. This is a future worth living into and for which is worth giving up donuts, pizza and bagels- all things without nutritional value for a healthier, pain free body and mind.
So, I toast the morning and you my dear readers with my decaffeinated chai tea. Thanks for allowing me to share about what is a required life-style change. I hope that today when you are given an opportunity to react you will choose the future rather than remaining a prisoner of your past.
Brianna S. Clark
The Addict Writes