Saturday, June 30, 2012

Food for Thought

I am highly skeptical of people who claim they have "cured" their MS by changing their diet, because if it were just about food, that would be the prescription, everyone would do it and we'd all be fine. I suspect that a vocal minority will now fill my inbox with comments about how Big Pharma, price gouging neurologists and the Illuminati are conspiring to keep us all sick.

But all this reminds me of is how I hate food. Or rather... I hate dealing with food. I hate cooking, I hate shopping for it, I hate any kind of preparation and I resent the time I have to spend thinking about what I am going to eat. I even hate the time spent between noticing I am starving and dizzy but I know it's going to take the guy over on Main Street another 20 minutes to get my pad thai over to my house.

Even right now, my stomach is churning with hunger. Yet I think I will just write this post then go to bed because it's much easier to do that then to get up, go to the kitchen and deal with the idea of having to eat. If there were a daily pill that I could take to keep the stomach ache and headaches away I would do that.

My "mental block" about food drives my husband nuts. He says that if I really don't care about food I should just eat whatever he makes and not turn my nose up at it... but it isn't that simple. It's not like I can't taste food and don't know what I like to taste and what I don't. What it is like - if given the choice between food or expending energy to get food I probably won't bother and go to bed instead. I like when food gets delivered to my house, hot and ready to eat. I don't like it that I don't have a budget that allows me to make that happen on a daily basis.

I think about before I met my husband and before I got sick at times like these. I lived on tea, toast, breakfast cereal, 2% milk-double shot lattes and tuna-salmon combos from my local sushi joint, vodka-tonics and cigarettes. I would buy two orders of sushi, eat one after work and save the other for lunch the next day. I would heat the miso up and drink it before bed. Unless someone else cooked or made other dinner plans, this is what I would have 4 or 5 days a week.

I was also walking about 2 kms a day from the train to my office and back and spending most weekends running around the city or climbing the hills and walking the dells of Bowen Island in ridiculous shoes and boots. I probably wasn't the strongest person, but I looked great, my hair was shiny and my skin was fantastic. It wasn't until I quit smoking and tried to eat a more varied diet that I got sick and was forced to stop walking.

Ironic, huh?

When I got sick I tried Swank but I had to stop because all I was eating was 1% vanilla yogurt. I had vertigo so bad I was barfing at least once a day (promptly at 7 PM most days). Vanilla yogurt was the least offensive source of nourishment to revisit later when you are "unswallowing" your lunch daily. Sometimes I would puke twice in a day and it would totally catch me off guard. My family doctor put me on a BRATT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast and tea), but that soon became BTT when I burned the rice (and gave up on learning to cook it on a stovetop) and I forgot to buy applesauce.

I looked into the MS Diet book once the vertigo went away and when it said "go gluten free" I immediately donated the book to the MS Society lending library. I wasn't interested in making food even more difficult to deal with in my life, so I rejected the idea of it from the moment I read about it.

In the year before my diagnosis and in the year after it I gained a lot of weight - putting me at the heaviest weight I had ever been. Once I got back to work my weight went down about 15 lbs over a year without much effort from me and it's fluctuated up or down about 5 lbs for the past two years. Since the beginning of the year I have been trying to get back down to something closer to my "fighting weight". I seem to be hopelessly stuck.

Since January I have been on three eating plans - the Mediterranean diet outlined to me by the hospital dietician, the Dukan Diet because most of the 100 foods allowed don't require cooking, and now the Mayo Clinic Diet because, hey, it's the Mayo Clinic - one of the pre-eminent MS treatment facilities in the US. How bad could it be?

Truth is, they are all terrible for me. The first one requires so much fucking shopping and cooking and cutting and the last one is as bad. The second one was just so. much. boring. meat. (read, NO BACON) that I found myself dreaming about "cheating" on my food plan by eating an apple or a banana.

Fuck cheesecake. I wanted a bag of baby carrots. And for all my trouble and mental angst since January I have managed to lose and keep off just 6.6 lbs.

Go. Me. It was not worth the effort.

Now I've decided I'm going to have a Bosc pear and some goat milk cheddar because I can see the pear from here and the cheese is in the fridge door. And I'm getting a little dizzy so I should probably eat.

I think I am going to consider going back to my sushi-coffee-latte-vodka, with a side of breakfast cereal and toast diet. I miss smoking and wish I could pick it back up, but after almost 5 years of not-smoking I do not want the headache, nausea and chest pains that a single cigarette would cause. Smoking has also been proven to lead to earlier disability in MS patients, so I will continue to smoke only in my dreams. My lattes would also switch to London Fog (Earl Grey tea with a shot of vanilla sweetener) lattes because coffee still sometimes smells like barf to me. That is one of the saddest MS symptoms ever. Coffee and I used to be so close.

Mostly I just want to stop having this hassle about keeping myself alive every stupid day. If some food engineering person wanted to stop with the GMO and irradiating food for a while and come up with a sustenance pellet or pill that would give all of the energy needed for a 24 hour period without having to think about it, I'd really appreciate it. And I'd pay $5 a day for it.

1 comment:

  1. I go to bed hungry a lot because the effort to get food isn't worth it. I love food but I would take a pill like that probably 5 days out of 7.