Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why I Can't Eat Normal

It’s always sort of been an issue finding food for me to eat. When I was little, I definitely ranked pretty high on the list of pickiest eaters. My parents did their best to feed me a varied diet and get me all the nutrition I needed. But ornery taste buds will only bend so far.

I remember one incident in particular. My mom used to make this amazing tuna casserole dish. I can still recall exactly how delicious it was. No matter how much she made it, I was happy as a clam to shove as much of it as I could into my stomach.

Until one day.

That awful day when I watched her make it.

My love for that tuna casserole dish was cracked like Humpty Dumpty and never put back together again.

Nowadays my taste buds aren’t confronted with my self-willed pickiness, but more along the lines of my body just saying no. I get a lot of shocked, concerned, pitied looks when I give the list of things I cannot consume.


First - No sugar. I have a condition called hypoglycemia. Which means I have a naturally low blood sugar, so when the after affects of a sweet treat kick in and I begin to feel that sugar-low, my blood sugar can quickly drop to unsafe levels. It also means I have to be careful to eat every 2 to 3 hours. Simply because my blood sugar drops faster than most people without hypoglycemia. Also, I can’t eat too much at once, and have to have about 4 to 5 smaller meals throughout the day (my day usually just consists of breakfast, lunch, a second, slightly smaller lunch, and then dinner).

For the most part, it’s only the artificial crap, which humans have grown to worship that my body cannot process correctly. However, even natural sugar on an empty stomach doesn’t go over so well.

Second - No white flour. Of any kind. The words unbleached or enriched on the label means automatic knock out for whatever food I happen to be craving.

A quick look into what that restricts is almost ALL normal pizza’s (and consequently pizza shops), all bagels, cookies, breads, pastas, and a whole lot of other things. The good news is I can still eat such products if they are made with either 100% whole wheat flour, corn flour, rice flour, oat flour, or some of their gluten-free counterparts.

Third - No dairy. I found this one out during my food experimentation stage. Sugar mainly affects my blood sugar, white flour however, affects not only the blood sugar, but since I can’t digest it correctly it has a nasty habit of bloating my stomach to twice or three times the size it’s supposed to be.

So as I was slowly learning what my body could process and what it couldn’t, I began to see the same pattern with dairy. So out the window it went.

Cutting dairy and white flour for bloating alone, may seem a little drastic. But, this is not your normal bloat. For one, it sticks around for about a week. Two, it hurts. Three, I’m not ready to look pregnant yet.

Fourth - Fried foods. I’m not too upset about this one, just because of the health benefits I get. But really, think about it, in today’s American culture, what the heck isn’t fried?

Fifth - Oranges and Bananas. Oranges, and any fruit related to the orange (not citrus in general, just the orange family), drop my blood sugar so violently, that if I eat it later that night I will be sent into a massive emotional breakdown accompanied by a foggy feeling in my head. If someone were to feel my hands and my head at this point, they would notice a strange sensation. My hands are quite warm (very odd for me) yet my forehead is practically freezing. After two accounts of this, I accepted that oranges were not in my body’s best interest.

The affects of a banana are just as severe but in a different way. The second I swallow a piece or bite of banana, my stomach begins to cramp and I feel extremely sick (the length of time this lasts depends mostly on how much I consume). Apparently there is a certain protein inside bananas that people can become allergic to.

… Lucky me.

Six - Sorbitol. You know all those products that say sugar-free? You’d think I’d be able to eat them. Nope! Apparently sorbitol is used in most of them, such as gum or in some fruit juices. It is a sugar substitute. The problem is, like white flour and dairy, my stomach begins to resemble a woman who’s been expecting for good long while. Since I don’t plan on that happening to me for a couple years, I figure it’s best to refrain from sorbitol.

Seven - Caffeine. Heartbreaking isn’t it? My body can’t process it easily, so it’s kind of like having your first cup of coffee each time I drink it. Sometimes I ignore this rule, but overall I’m better off without it.

All in all, I get along just fine. The restrictions don’t bother me so much. And as I mentioned before there are amazing health benefits. For one, due to forced portion size control and most sugared/fried/fatty foods being cut from my diet, it’s HIGHLY unlikely I will become overweight. Two, I’ve crossed out basically all “junk” food from my diet (a good portion of those foods aren’t good for my blood sugar, and cutting them all out just makes it easier). Three, because of these new limits, I’ve managed to incorporate a lot more variety into my diet.

Instead of getting all my protein from eggs and dairy, I have to eat more meats now (something I never did as a child).

Instead of getting fast food or pizza or some other classic American quick dish, I’m obligated to choose a healthier option or go for a foreign type of food.

This blog is about my life as an oddball hypoglycemic. Oddball because along with not being able to eat most normal foods, I often opt out for…well…some very strange substitutions. My own creations, variations of other’s work, all different sorts of things. I get a lot of weird reactions from people, but I don’t mind. I find it hilarious.

When I’m cooking (rather, what I like to call experimenting) or finding food that I can eat, I know that I’m going to like it. I don’t care what others are going to say about it, because it’s my own personal comfort food. Every dish I’ve ever created or distorted on a restaurant menu or a borrowed recipe has been absolutely delicious… Usually only to me though.