Friday, August 28, 2015

My Complex Relationship With Food is About to Get More Complex

Let me start by saying, I like food. I do. I even like cooking when my pain isn't out of control. I understand my body needs the nutrition and calories to function. I'm totally on board with eating healthy, natural foods.

But I've reached a point where I want to be done with it - all of it. I'm spending far too much time and energy on food stuff between grocery shopping, meal planning, meal preparations, dishes and worrying about getting enough calories, having food in my stomach for certain pills and eating healthy. There is no end. Food should be consumed at least 3 times every single day.

I'm so sick and tired of all the rigmarole. And it's about to get worse.

See, my relationship with food is quite complex.
- I'm sort of a picky eater in that there are lots of foods I won't eat for various reasons that I won't bore you with.
- I'm nauseous all the time and that often interferes with my ability to eat large quantities.
- My body and my mind love eating all kinds of healthy foods but healthy foods don't have enough calories for me to maintain my weight PLUS I have a limited amount of energy to spend on eating so I need my food to be as calorically dense as possible.
- I HATE the taste of salt. I can't eat any dish if I can taste the salt so restaurant meals and frozen dinners are almost always off the table.
- I live with chronic pain so there are days when preparing, consuming and cleaning up a meal is just not possible. I don't have enough good stand-by options to fill in the blanks 3 times a day on all the high pain days.
- I need my diet to be varied. I get bored with foods if I don't have enough variety. I'm constantly trying to come up with new options but it's hard to keep them flavorful, healthy and high enough in calories to maintain my weight, harder still as I'm trying to gain weight.
- One of many reasons why it's hard for me to travel is because I'm a vegetarian with a list of foods I don't eat. Most restaurants are out of the question because the food is almost always over salted and they don't have meat-free options outside of french fries and steamed broccoli. I can't maintain my weight only eating side dishes for any length of time. Even staying at someones house can be challenging because most people don't eat the way I do. PLUS, my appetite struggles when I'm super stressed and out of my routine - the hallmarks of traveling with my chronic pain issues.

Basically, I'm so sick of it all that I wish someone would invent a meal pill. A complete, balanced meal with all the necessary calories in a single pill. No cooking, no dishes, no worry, no time, no energy. Just pop a pill 3 times a day and be done with it. When I think about how much that would help me

And here is where it gets worse. You may remember I attempted to cut wheat out of my diet earlier this year. It ended up not being successful because I wasn't able to find a good replacement for pasta. Within a few weeks it had become so complicated to try and figure out the calories and still enjoy food enough to eat that I gave up. In light of the increasing abdominal pain and other GI symptoms my doc is recommending that I try to eliminate wheat from my diet. He thinks it could have a big impact on some of my symptoms.

I explained to him that I attempted to do this before and why it failed. He set me up with his nurse practitioner who has experience with these sorts of elimination diets, saying that she could help me figure this out. I met with her a couple days ago and have since been trying to digest her suggestions.

When it comes down to it, my meeting with her was not very helpful. During our conversation she kept forgetting that I'm a vegetarian and then when I would remind her she would begin worrying about my nutrition instead of the wheat thing. I guess she's one of those people who wrongly thinks that consuming meat is the only way to get enough nutrition. She kept telling me to go to Whole Foods and buy more fruit - as if that had anything to do with anything. Besides, the Whole Foods around here don't have the best produce so I don't know what she was thinking.

Then she kept making suggestions that would cut my calories and I would point out that I needed to make sure that my replacements would provide at least as much calories as I had before. So then she would talk about frozen meals and I would explain that I can't do that because of the high salt content. And the cycle would start again. Anyway, all she really did was give me a print out with websites and books about going gluten free - that's not even what I'm trying to do.


I do still think I should go ahead and give the wheat-free thing another shot. The additional pains and such are problematic enough at this point to warrant the effort. But I'm sort of on my own for trying to figure it out and honestly I don't know if I can do it. I'm already super fatigued of all the fuss and hassle surrounding food so the thought of trying to figure out how to replace all the wheat I eat with every single meal and snack feels impossible.

Even if I'm successful I feel like this will be a big complication in my already complicated life. It will make eating out even harder than it is now. It will make all family functions harder because they always center around food and without meat or wheat there will be nothing I can eat at our gatherings. Traveling will be harder. All of this is on top of the extensive list of things I have to do or avoid doing to manage my chronic migraines and fibromyalgia.

Of course, if it helped me to feel better my daily quality of life would improve, which would be worth all the hassle. Just another unwanted change. They kind of pile on, don't they?


  1. This so resonates with me! I have the same relationship and struggle with food, though I'm not vegetarian and not trying to eliminate wheat flour. I've considered elimination diets to try to identify things exacerbating my health issues, but I don't think it would be healthy with my weight already so low. It's a struggle few know, and fewer discuss. I'm here for you, dear friend.

    1. Thank you so much my dear Jamie :) I will keep you updated on the progress or, more likely, the lack of progress.

  2. Look up Soylent. I don't know if it contains bad ingredients for you, but it is designed to basically be that "meal in a pill" you were talking about.