This is a total rant. Nothing of value here other than ranting, so if you don’t feel like reading a rant, skip this. (Of course, you can check the post for the awesome salad dressing recipe found within, but don’t bother reading anything else if you don’t want to read a rant.)
I’m getting sick of this. No, really, the whole contradiction thing when it comes to what foods are good for you and which aren’t. From one side, I’m told X foods are bad for you, eat Y foods. From another I hear A foods are bad for you, eat B foods. Problem is that the list each gives me pretty much cancels out the list the other gives. Any way I can survive, you know, without food?
As you may or may not know, I’m fighting it out with GERD right now. The cause? Unknown, though a weak gallbladder seems to have something to do with it (EF was at 19%, for those of you know what a HIDA/CCK is). So for the past two months I’ve been doing EVERYTHING under my power to completely change my life. I’ve cut out most meats (eating only the occasional fish); I’ve cut out just about every grain except buckwheat. I’ve cut out coffee, chocolate, citrus, vitamin C supplements, ice cream, sweets, cheeses, garlic, onion, red peppers, spicy foods… and these are only those I can remember! Was it hard? Yeah, at first, but it got easy afterward. It’s not always easy — temptation comes in many forms — but I’ve been disciplined enough to hold my mouth. My caloric content has, unsurprisingly, been lowered to probably around 1900 or so calories per day. And, for the most part, I feel good. Except, of course, for he occasional chest and throat burning.
Today, I went to my acupuncturist, since I decided that before cutting out my gallbladder I’d try to strengthen it. When I first saw her, she said that it looked as if my liver was too strong, and my stomach and spleen weak, which was causing all the heartburn. (And because they work in tandem, a strong liver means also, in my case at least, a weak gallbladder.) Today’s meeting, however, was our third, and she decided it was time for an intolerance and allergy test. Alright, I was game. We did the test, and it came out that I’m either allergic or intolerant to the following items: Acidic items, oat, vitamin B, coffee, birch, ragweed, bermuda grass, cow’s milk, and poison oak.
Obviously, I’m not about to eat any birch or poison oak, but let’s look at the list of foods: acidic items, oat, vitamin B, and cow’s milk. Keep those in mind as I continue.
She also recommended that I start eating yellow-ish foods, such as squash, pumpkin, and corn. and that I should avoid cold foods. The spleen hates cold, she says. “Try warm or hot drinks.”
Problem: I only like cold drinks. In fact, most of my food isn’t even cooked, it’s raw. And because I can’t really eat anything heavy, I tend to rely a lot on foods like smoothies and yogurt. Both of which are now out of the question. Oh, and did I mention I don’t like hot drinks? (I’ll make an exception for some teas, but it’s not so much that I like them as much as it is that I can stand them.) Quite literally, a third of my daily meals just went out the window.
As for the other foods — the corn, pumpkin, etc — I told her it wouldn’t be a problem, I’ll just add them to my salads. I then chose to share with her a little salad dressing recipe I’d cooked up which is just phenomenal:
3 parts olive oil
3 parts “balsamic” vinegar *
1 part honey
1 part turmeric
salt to taste.
* Balsamic here refers to the stuff you get at the supermarket for $3/bottle. If you’re able to get the real stuff — from Modena — that’s fine, though you may want to dilute it a bit with water or another vinegar, maybe red wine vinegar or even apple cider vinegar, though that’ll add an acidic feel to it.
“Oh,” she exclaimed. “You shouldn’t be having acidic foods.” I asked her what I should be using for my salads. “Maybe you can try some Thai peanut dressing, or ginger dressing.”
Alright, not a problem. I would simply have to research those. Not a problem. Really. Not a problem.
When I got home, I started doing a bit of research into what foods I should be eating and what foods i should be avoiding. That’s when I discovered that foods like corn, which I should be eating, are acid forming, which I should be avoiding. Also balsamic vinegar and olive oil are both acid forming, as are fish and eggs, but that’s something to keep in mind more than it is truly pertinent information.
I decided then to start researching salad dressing recipes. What could I have that didn’t have oil or vinegar? Turns out it isn’t either ginger or peanut dressing, bot of which contain not only oil and vinegar, but also garlic, which I have to avoid because it weakens the lower esophageal sphincter (LES. A weakened LES is the cause of GERD).
OK, so what then, eat the salad without dressing? Sorry, but it isn’t going to happen. I can bend my taste buds to my will just so far before the chef side of me, the one that harkens back to my family’s long tradition of people who are good in the kitchen, decides that it needs flavor in order to live. And I tend to agree with that side. I’ve already given up meat (which I like), and coffee (which I love), and chocolate, and onions, and garlic, and pepper, and spicy foods. I’m about to give up cold foods, which pretty much will bring my culinary satisfaction level from high to medium, but I’m not sure if I can continue giving up things without starting to suffer from malnutrition.
Now, I know, people will say “Well, if you look at it everything will kill you”, and that’s true. Difference is, will you allow it to kill you right now, or will you want stave off death for a few years? In my case, the GERD brings the possibility of an untimely death (following a life of chronic pain) a very real, very frightening possibility. But if I want to get better, what the hell am I supposed to eat?
Mood: Utterly, confused and frustrated. And hungry. Don’t worry though. I’ll figure it out. I’ll just have to do it during cold food withdrawals.