I love food. I enjoy cooking. I’ve watched Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives for 6 hours in one day. I grew up eating fairly healthy and I really do enjoy eating vegetables and fruits. However, I have always been able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want. If I’m in the mood for some fries or pizza rolls, I eat them. If I want to eat eggplant four days in a row, I do it. (Sidenote: I would like to thank my summer in France for my love of eggplant. I’ve tried dozens of different recipes.) Like any red-blooded Texan girl, I like my steaks on the rare side of medium rare and I dreamed of being a burger connoisseur.
Despite my love of most things edible, I’ve also been suffering from some health issues…for years. They have progressively gotten worse, leaving me feeling sick and wondering what in the world could be wrong. (Sidenote 2: avoid WebMd at all costs, no matter what you have.) After doing some research along with my mom, who was suffering from the same thing, trying to cut things out of my diet, and seeing specialists, I finally got a diagnosis.
This diagnosis came with three prescriptions and a diet overhaul. No more potatoes, no red meat, no sugar. That’s right. NO SUGAR. There goes Blue Bell Ice Cream, chocolate, steaks, and burgers. No sodas, no red wine and no beer. NO BEER. If you have ever bothered to read ingredient lists on things like bread and crackers, you will see that most things we eat contain sugar. After some denial, some tears, and a teaspoon of relief at finally having an answer, I was forced to consider my new diet rules. Once I really looked at it, I realized that most of the things I eat were on there: vegetables, most fruits, turkey, chicken, and most cheese. I was going to put my foot down (or into the Doctor’s face) if I was told I wasn’t allowed to eat cheese.
Thank the Lord for Pinterest and the Internet. There are thousands of recipes at my fingertips that I can make or tweak while still following the rules. I won’t say that it isn’t still overwhelming. Going to restaurants and watching my friends order sodas, fried chicken, or have a few beers is downright depressing. Remembering to take the medications with every meal is difficult and they make me tired. Despite all that, I feel better than I have in months if not years. I would never have called myself a health nut and I still can’t imagine being vegan or even vegetarian, but I think there is definitely something to be said for cutting out processed foods. Even the more natural stuff that I’m eating has things on the labels that sound like they came straight out of a chemistry experiment.
Life without red wine, steak, and chocolate is not my idea of ideal, but in the end, you only get one life and one body and both of them should be treated well and taken care of. I’m trying to look at the bright side: healthier food, an excuse to avoid junk food, and the opportunity to try all sorts of new foods I would never go near otherwise. Plus, I now get to do my own personal white wine tasting until I find a good enough replacement for Malbec.
So cheers to healthy living and hopefully, happier living.