After a while you just get used to it. That’s what I tell anyone who comes to me moaning and whinging about some new diet they’re trying, lamenting the misery that is to live without fluffy white bread.
I know exactly what that misery is like. It’s called how I lived from birth until the age of about 17 when The Mom just gave up and let us eat what we liked. For me, it was wheat that was the hardest thing to avoid eating, and it’s probably the one thing I should still not eat. There’s something about it that doesn’t always agree with me, though sometimes a piece of fluffy white bread that has had nothing to do with fibre stands as good a chance as any of being the thing I could maybe eat.
As a kid, it was food allergies. The Mom, to be fair, was depriving us for our own good even though sometimes it felt like some kind of sick torture. I mean, being a kid is essentially – or so it looks at least – an excuse to eat as much cake and candy as possible. There is always a cake-eating occasion just around the bend. Unless you were us, in which case, well, you got cake, as The Mom suggests, it’s just that a lot of the time you didn’t want to eat it. Because it didn’t have anything in it that would make it what’s traditionally referred to as cake. There was no sugar, wheat, dairy, corn, food colouring, chocolate, in our cakes. Maybe there were eggs. I think we were kind of okay with eggs. As in they didn’t send us around the bend or over the edge, but I think also that we didn’t care for them, and you can’t really give a kid an egg in place of a cake. Anyhow, so we did feel hard done by sometimes.
Though we weren’t the social pariahs – for that reason at least – that The Mom thinks we were. Because we weren’t the only kids who turned up to parties with our own food. There were others just like us. Our hometown has a serious whiff of hippie about it. I’ll say no more besides that there were other kids with flaky skin who couldn’t sit still. I often think had we been born five or ten years later, that half of our class would’ve been hopped up on Ritalin, but as it was, we just had super restricted diets and a lot of outside play time.
The thing is though, that if you grow up not being able to eat things, if ever you have to go on a special diet as an adult it’s a freaking cake-walk, pardon the pun.
My Crohn’s has been, if not flaring up properly, then clamouring for more attention than usual of late. So I went to see a specialist who nearly fell off his chair when I said I wasn’t taking anything in the way of meds. Most people would do you see, and I never know if I’m being smart about this or being stupid, but I’m okay with my decision and I’m not dead yet so I think we’re good. So to say ‘I’m managing it by diet and exercise’ is not exactly the done thing in a GI specialist’s office.
But I’ve never let being the odd one out hold me back.
There’s a diet that was developed in Australia, called the FODMAP diet. It stands for a bunch of things I can’t spell, but it’s meant to be quite helpful with the Crohn’s. You cut out things that aren’t likely to get digested and then you don’t have quite so many problems. At the moment, Jeff, the jerky whale who lives in my guts and has taken to spending half the night singing rather loudly, is quite problematic, so if depriving him of legumes, wheat, watermelon, and a whole bunch of other stuff will make him cut it out, it’s a small price to pay.
I was reading up on this diet and the funniest part was this: they had to highlight to people that stuff you buy at the supermarket that comes in boxes and jars – processed stuff basically – tends to have hidden wheat, dairy, sugar, and all sorts of stuff in it. The way this was conveyed had me in stitches. At the age of eight Crazy D, L’il Sis and I knew that. Sure, our reading was terrible, but we knew that you didn’t eat anything that came in a box or a jar from the store. It was tantamount to taunting death. And any adult who didn’t know that was an adult we knew would not be up to the task of feeding us.
I don’t know how well this diet will go, if I’ll be able to stick to it, or if I’ll just give up one day when I’m really freaking hungry and want to eat a plate of food I can’t have, but I do know that getting started and figuring out how to make substitutions will be child’s play. Or maybe a trip down memory lane…