When Comfort Food Causes Distress

I wish I could say I made it through Siblings Day unscathed. However, that would be far from the truth. Being with family just happens to bring with it the desire to eat foods we used to share together as kids. And even talking about how good of a cook our momma used to be, and how we miss her cooking, brings with it the want of the familiar smells and tastes. So, after my arrival to her place, off to the closest and tastiest Mexican food restaurants in the area.

My sister’s backyard petting zoo.

We enjoyed chips and salsa. She chose to order puffy tacos and I chose nachos, both seemingly healthy choices. But when our food allergies consist of things like corn, tomatoes, onion, beans, and various spices, it’s definitely not a good idea to indulge.

Upon discussing our food allergies, my sister and I agreed that we need to try harder to eat better. I mean, what’s the point in eating comfort food anyway when it only makes us sick later on?

Like everything else though, the idea of anything “comfort” makes a person feel good. It takes us back to happier times. Times when life was simpler and we felt loved by all those around us.

Sadly, though, when chicken makes us so sleepy we have to lay down for at least thirty minutes or when corn syrup causes a sore throat, earache, and drainage, we have to take our food choices more seriously. Really, all in all, life is too short to spend it miserable from eating stuff we know will definitely make us feel ill in some way.

Seeking A Solution

So, what is the answer? Choosing safe foods, for one. When we choose safe foods, we can almost rest assured that we can make it through the day without stomach cramps, a headache, or achy joints, and with at least some energy left in our day.

So, how do we stick to choosing safe foods? That one’s a little tougher than it sounds at first. I’ve been struggling with this for a long while now. Right off the top of my head, I would say not to buy the things which make us sick. In my case, that would be corn-on-the-cob, chicken in any form, carrots, cream cheese, anything with flour, anything with corn syrup, oatmeal,….and the list goes on and on. Oh, and anything with tapioca, which is a “red” for me. Have you ever looked at the ingredients list on packaged foods and how many times tapioca or corn syrup are listed?

So, you probably wonder what I can eat. Well, I can actually eat a lot of things. Beef. Pork. Fish. Most seafood, in fact,…just no trout, crab, or red snapper. I can eat lettuce, celery, and cucumbers. And I can eat most fruits, just not pineapple or anything dried. As for my sister, she is still figuring out most of what is making her sick.

Eating bunless at Johnny Rockets.

In my last blog, I talked about how much better I felt after staying away from the foods that make me sick. So, I’m sure you’re wondering why I don’t do that regularly. Well, like I mentioned earlier, when comfort foods, or the memory of them, call my name, well, I seem to cave. I love tortillas. And because having one doesn’t make me too sick, I “think” I can safely eat it. But then, one becomes two, and two sometimes becomes three, especially if they are homemade, made well, and really tasty. And when I eat them, then, two to three times a week, well, then I’m in real trouble.

So, what does it take for me, or anyone for that matter, to stay away from the foods that used to make us feel comforted but now only aggravate us? A lot of times, it is just making up our mind that we’re tired of feeling bad and we want to feel better on a regular basis. Another thing that would really help me is having someone who understands I can’t eat anything that is packaged or processed. If it has more than five ingredients, it probably is not good for me. And if it has anything you have to pause to pronunciate, I can guarantee, I shouldn’t be eating it either.

One more thing that helps is to focus mainly on the foods that can be eaten. Of course, in my case, I keep saying once we get moved into our little casita, I’ll start to cook meals based on what I can eat. Sadly, this dilapidated house does not inspire cooking or meal efforts in me. But, of course, a person should be eating to fuel the body not to just enjoy food, right?

Ways to Feel Better

Okay, so what is mine and my sister’s plans to eater better? Well, she is going to start a food journal. This is something I did for years up until last year, and it worked out really well for me. It not only helps a person to track foods which may be triggers but also helps us to see what we’re eating on the whole. If we’re looking to lose weight in all this, too many desserts can be at fault, and we can then plan better add more salads or fruits and less cake or cookies.

As for me, I’m going to strive once again to stay away from foods that make me sick. This pretty much means no eating out, which makes it tough when you’re working. The number one thing I can do, though, is to say no to buns, tortillas (I know, this is a tough one), gravies, and anything fried or coated in batter – flour or corn. It’s a challenge, but one I’ve met before and have been successful at. I just need to remind myself of this on a regular basis.

Four-wheeling; fun times.

One of the things I’ve learned as I have been fighting allergies to food is to be sure to drink plenty of water. When I accidentally drink or eat something that causes me not to feel well, flushing out the culprit with water really helps. After that, I take whatever is needed to alleviate headache, nausea, or stomach cramps. The point being, in all this though, is to avoid becoming symptomatic in the first place.

Another thing I do is to strive to get in daily exercise. Whether it’s a ten-minute walk after each meal or a thirty-minute walk or session on the exercise bike, elliptical, or treadmill, fitness is one of the top things to help a person feel better. Even when I’m laying there feeling like I’m dying, I know that getting up, drinking a glass of water, and moving my body will be what I need to do to feel better. The hard part is coaxing myself off the bed or sofa. But once I’ve done that, the rest of it is a walk in the park. Okay, I did that on purpose, but you get my drift.

Support is Important

If you’ve been following along with me for a while now, you might be wondering if I’ll just be writing about my food allergy journey. No, probably not. But I thought it would be good to share my story (which has not been fully told yet and will never be over) with those who also suffer from certain foods. It’s tough doing this alone. Not everyone understands how difficult it is to live your life on the edge of it. If I eat that, will it make me sick? Or how it feels to just sit there and watch others eat whatever they want. Of course, this doesn’t mean I’ll get sick or that others won’t get sick in the future. But we are what we eat. And if you’re questioning whether your food choices are contributing to your overall well-being or not, well, I’m here to listen. And maybe even help find a solution. And definitely support you.

Until next time, consider doing one (or more) of the seven items listed. Maybe it will the difference you need to get through your day better, to start feeling better, to look into your options.

In the meantime, wish me luck, pray for me, send good vibes my way, as I’m spending this weekend with my best friend from fifth grade. I’m optimistic that I’ll be more successful in choosing wisely for myself, but who knows. Sometimes, I’ll choose wisely and there will still be hidden triggers.

Whatever you do, keep on smilin’, keep on laughin’, and keep on strivin’ to eat healthy!

Love & hugs, Virg

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