There have been some leftover Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips in the fridge from the pots du chocolat I made on Saturday night. As a human being, I love chocolate chips. The other day, while grabbing a glass of water in the kitchen, I opened the fridge and grabbed a handful.
“What are you doing?” my husband turned food-Gestapo asked me.
“Eating some chocolate chips,” I said sheepishly in between chews.
I had been caught, chocolate-handed. You see, there’s a new regime in the house. The days of what I liked to refer to as healthy well-balanced eating are over. Even though I have another two weeks until the endoscopy, the bloodwork doesn’t lie. Something is wrong and I’ve been put on the dietary restrictions to fix it.
Here’s something you have to understand about me. Nothing makes me roll my eyes harder than the word cleanse (Isn’t that what your liver is for?). I went gluten-free once in college because I thought it would fix my migraines, but by gluten-free I mean gluten-free except for Bud Light and Papa John’s. I eat healthy insofar as I have a green smoothie for breakfast and have never met a vegetable I didn’t love — but restriction is not in my vocabulary. Sundays are for ice cream and Tuesdays are for cheeseburgers. Those are the rules. Or were the rules.
So me and this list of eight things that the doctor oh-so-kindly handed to me last week Wednesday with the advice of “lots of fruits and vegetables,” have started up this week. This list includes: gluten, dairy, soy, fish, shellfish, nuts, peanuts, and eggs.
And I’m bitter about it. I’m bitter because I still do not feel well and am not sleeping well. That’s enough to make anyone cranky. I’m also bitter because instead of the delicious weekly ice cream treat from the local ice cream parlor this past Sunday, I had some coconut ice cream instead. People, it is not the same. I’m bitter because bacon cheeseburgers with fries are my favorite meals and even though it has been only two days, I feel like everything I love food-wise has been taken from me. I’m basically in mourning.*
But I’m also bitter, because I really do not want to be that person that says “oh, I can’t eat that,” launching into some lengthy explanation. I pride myself on not being that person. I pride myself for caring about what I eat just enough, but not too much (insert quote here from Allan Bloom about people caring too much about having the perfect body, and not at all about the perfect soul). But until I know what is going on, I actually have to be that person. Not because I care about having the “perfect body” but because if I don’t, I’ll be sick and not be able to work on my dissertation. I won’t be able to go anywhere in public because I’ll be too afraid of getting sick. I’ll have to cancel things because even though I felt fine two hours ago, suddenly I’m sick (all things that have actually happened in the past week).
I know that this is the new normal and that within a month or two (if I keep having to do this) I’ll be fine, used to it. I mean I once went five months between 2016-17 without drinking and craft beer is on par with cheeseburgers, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Bob Dylan as one of my all-time favorite things. And it was fine. So fine that for me, not drinking for Lent (and probably now onwards until we know what is up) has been a piece of (gluten-free, dairy-free) cake.
And so that I can hopefully function as a normal human being for the month of April, we decided to start with sans-gluten and dairy. The no-gluten is so far going better than the no-dairy. I mean, those chocolate chips, so delicious, right? But I ate them all before Bruno could stop me, a service to myself, and so I’ll start the no-dairy for real this time. Onward.
*Once, years ago, my sister said to my mom, “On my way home I saw a dead possum on the side of the road. It looked about as dramatic as Ali acts.”