It’s becoming a once weekly habit (habit that must be curbed) to talk myself into trouble. Thanks to insistent suggestions on prime time’s syndicated television, I’ve had a violent hankering for strawberry flavored ice cream. It’s a mystery how sugar depravity can make me slicker and enhance my self-justification skills toward any illicit actions. I can talk myself into feeling good about almost anything detrimental.
My diet must remain very low in sugar. Confectionery items are allowed but sparingly within a month’s time. The most important part, to ensure my immune system is working at it’s maximum, it must be limited to organic and natural treats. At this point I have no excuse in my life to be eating anything with preservatives or high corn fructose syrup (Except that the nearest Whole Foods is a million miles away. That’s how far it feels when my body is complaining). Did you see how I just justified having any ol’ adultered cookie in my life again?
A few weeks ago, I read the McDonald’s ice cream portion of their Sundae nutrition facts online. Although much less than 15 dubious ingredients, I knew the sugar content was high and that corn syrups make your digestive system work too hard. This is not just because I’m more sensitive to foods; it goes the same for every person. Additionally , dairy is another food group that I must tip-toe around carefully. Only minimally processed dairy, if at all, or here come the hives and tummy discomfort. Mind you, I’m not lactose intolerant, but any foreign chemical in my body will tell my autoimmune system there’s a new playground to explore, so it best be pure.
I drive up to the window in shame, as I don’t belong there for any excuse in the book. At the talking, static-y menu, I order a strawberry sundae. Pulling up to the pay window, it occurs to me I could be making a monstrous mistake. I never checked the toppings list! I ask the awkward-acne-freckle faced adolescent boy,
“Would you be able to find out if the strawberry sauce contains food color & dye #40?”
With a non-confident shrug he tells me, “Uhhhmm, I dunno. Uhmmm I don’t think so. Uh, I mean, it’s just strawberries.”
“Just strawberries? JUST STRAWBERRIES???”, I clamored to the high heavens! Well, what I really said was, “Do you mind checking to see if you can find out for sure?”
This coming-of-age teenager works at McDonald’s and yet he so innocently thinks what you see is what you get? He probably thinks those Big Macs are made from happy healthy cows skipping alongside fully-feathered flying chickens in a wide open field where the sky is always blue and it never rains! Bless his heart again. I suppose it wasn’t my job to fill him in that there’s probably baby chick beak in his golden crispy nuggets. What was I doing there?
Moving on up to the pick-up window, unbeknownst to the server, she hands me a sundae with the nuclear red fruit goop generously drizzled over my white sugary ice cream. Re-submitting my inquiry, she kindly checked with the scrambling servers in the back (it seems nobody in the Riverview McDonald’s has ever asked to know the nutritional ingredients, unless they’re smarter than I am and just stay away from such a place).
“Yes! It does!”, someone hollered in the background between the french fry heat lamps and corn syrup dispenser.
I cussed up a storm with my inside voice, “Is it okay to change it for a caramel one? I’m not able to have Red #40.”
With a smile she politely obliged. I paid and I was off. I ate half of my sundae, justifying that half the damage is better than all of it. I don’t even want to know what’s in the caramel surprise.
That switch spared me from being knocked down for 3-7 days with a migraine that comes complete with fireworks displays. It’s a 15 minute reaction time to any red artificial ingredient, but more so lasting with the FDA approved food dye and coloring. Go figure. Even the unsuspecting Sobe LifeWater will also give my vision and perceptive senses an ecstasy-like “wah-wah”, only with accompanying excruciating brain pain.
This account is not to say there wasn’t any more lesson-learning to be had. The difference between the cheap sundae and the Natural Breyer’s Ice Cream I should’ve splurged $3 more on (in my defense, I was extremely weak from the work week and wouldn’t last a trip to the store)(more justifications), was still a strong acid response to an already out-of-balance body. The next two hours I was tossed into bed with weird numbness in my legs and prickling in my shoulders before I could move smoothly again.
The moral of this story, don’t toy with a delicate balance, no matter how much sweetness one need in one’s life. (Justification No. #I Lost Count: Husband has been out of town for abour 5 days now, the longest he’s every been, and my health logic is wearing thin because I miss his perky butt).
Let me sweetly reiterate that I do not condemn anyone else who does not memorize all the ingredients in restaurants and fast food joints. This is my lifestyle and its wonderful to those who do not live with such restrictions. My sharing this episode to show what a fragile environment we live in, so that more and more people are becoming intolerant to unnatural ingredients, and that it should not come as a surprise to anyone, anymore, that what we unwittingly stuff into our mouths could be the reason why we’re so tired, achy, and sick. If your lovely child is bouncing off the walls, get the food diary when you give him/her M&Ms. No exaggeration: I’m one step away of recording my man-child’s reactions.
It’s second nature to me, usually, to be hyper aware of every single food I consume. I will not preach to you about hydrogenated oil if we go out to eat together, but I will send our waiter to the chef once or twice to verify that I don’t get any meals that will flare up my knees and elbows. I will not always react strongly to foods, but for the most part I must be vigilant about what and how much I eat. Also, I can take a joke or two about it, cause in the end its so hilariously surreal.
Some people are blessed with metabolizing chemical compounds like it’s nobody’s business. I’m still waiting for Husband to break in half or for his liver to fall out of his butt. Doctors really are baffled at how he hasn’t reacted to years of accumulating compounds. Makes me so sick I could shove a few Cinnabons down his throat just to get some relative empathy after I eat a Ritz cracker. Luckily, he still shies away from enriched breads and greasy foods and may be his saving grace.
Well, yesterday night was rough and somewhere in the cluttered back of my head, I knew I would pay for it. The battle to resist yummy foods continues…
…but if you ever see me reach for a pink cupcake without reading the label first, you’re free to smush it in my face.