Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I Eat the Weirdest Things

And it's not because I have strange taste in food... it's just that my diet is so limited right now that I end up eating the same things over and over in odd combinations. This morning I hard-cooked two eggs, mashed them with clarified butter and stirred in some cooked cubed rutabaga and seasoned with salt. Now no one is trying to convince you that that is a normal thing to eat. It isn't. I am aware of this. It's just happened to be what I had, and so down the hatch it went. When you eat the same things every day, the idea of eating them even one more time can trigger a reaction of nausea (particularly with eggs, for me). I think the human body naturally seeks variety, so eating the same things too often can cause a repulsion. And so I have to vary the cooking method, or the way I eat them, very often. And occasionally you run out of ways to make them different, so you end up mashing them up with rutabaga, as above. It wasn't disgusting, despite how it sounds. It was actually pretty good. But by no means normal.

The word 'variety' no longer has any meaning to me. I can't even begin to remember what it's like to crave... pizza, for example, then just go ahead and order one and eat it. No... Cravings, to me, are weird distant memories for foods that I no longer know but silently yearn for. Sometimes I feel like I can remember what sushi tastes like, but mostly I can't.

This is an issue for me, being a chef. I can't really call myself a chef anymore really. I'm a fraud. Someone who eats nothing but eggs and Brussels sprouts and butter cannot really call one's self a chef. Sure, when people come over, I still cook for them, but I can't taste the food to correct for seasoning, so I just have to trust them when they say it tastes good. I no longer cook anything for A, my other half, since I'd just have to go and make myself the obligatory bowl of cabbage and lamb when I was done with his dinner and that just stopped seeming fair a couple of weeks ago. Lately, he's been eating total utter crap because he has no patience to make anything healthy for himself. And he's never been a fan of any of the foods on my 'allowed' list. After the third night of meat-and-cabbage, he abandoned ship and left me sinking in an ocean of crucifers and meat. On one hand, I feel so much better (emotionally, physically, etc.) and on the other hand, so alienated by all this.

I even like the foods I'm allowed to eat. I like almost everything, so that was never an issue. I'm one of those people who loves Brussels sprouts, cabbage and rutabaga (I learned to love most of them, but I do love them). I adore lamb and chicken. I can eat eggs every day and not get tired of them anymore (thank Christ). But I do feel like I'm living only a half-life when it comes to food and somehow that just seems so wrong for someone in my industry.

Sometimes I just feel so angry and cheated, but then I remember that everyone else is probably intolerant to all the same foods but just don't know it. They end up walking around with aches, pains, asthma, eczema, irritability, bloating, gas, diarrhea, depression, foggy head and they just don't know the cause.

But somehow, eating the junk seems worth it to them when it's not worth it to me. I say this because the people I have told so far about my food intolerances have replied "oh yeah, I get that sometimes too, but I just live with it because I just can't live without (fill in the blank)". What does that even mean? When did people get to be such wussies? You can't live without pizza/fries/burgers/rice/bread/jelly beans? You can't live without them? That's quite a statement. Maybe it's the fact that I have been addicted to a drug, but no food is so addictive that I couldn't give it up if it were compromising my health and well-being. People always talk about about my cast-iron willpower. I don't even know if it's willpower or if it's just common sense. A simple equation:

Food A + Annabelle = feels shitty, hungry, bitchy, bloated, evil
Food B + Annabelle = feels happy and satisfied
Conclusion: Avoid Food A.

I guess if my friends got to a point where they were absolutely miserable, the way I was, then they may change their minds. But it's funny - I know people with real legitimate health and emotional problems and they look to blame anything else but food. It's my brain chemicals! There's nothing I can do about it! It's not my fault. Well, they're right, there. It's not their fault, but they're just ignoring the most obvious cause. They'd rather go on drugs than entertain the idea that it may be the late-night bowls of Captain Crunch cereal they're pounding back. I mean every cell in our bodies replaces itself every 7 years... nothing is permanent. It's true proof that you are what you eat. Is the problem denial? Is it the addiction to the chemicals that's talking? Is it because the media is lying to them about what ails them? How can you educate people about this stuff without seeming like a militant asshole crazy woman?

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