Saturday, January 26, 2013

The unhappy story of me and food at the moment (not puppy related)

          Okay, I'm going to finally come out and admit it both to you and to myself...I am afraid of food. There I said it. Pity that doesn't automatically make me feel better. What do I mean about being afraid of food? I get anxious every time I think about meal times. Questions race through my head like, will there be food I can eat? Will people get frustrated or exasperated at me because I can eat what their eating? I hate feeling like a burden on others, but I have to ask for accommodation. In short I feel like my health and well being are out of my control every time I need to refuel. As a consequence of this when I do find things I can eat safely I over eat because I don't know if I'll be able to have what's being served at the next meal.
          Let me back track for a moment here since I'm sure many of you are thinking to yourselves, "But Caroline you CAN cook. We know, we've seen the recipes you've posted here." To that I have to remind you that I'm at college and on a meal plan. I don't have the time or money to go food shopping right now and don't have easy access to a fully equipped kitchen.
          However even that situation is too easy for me to handle. No, we have to add yet another complicating factor because when it comes to my digestive system things are never that simple. So what should we add? Humm...I know! Let's add IBS into the equation! great, now we have a list of possible trigger foods or food elements (such as sugar, caffeine, exc.) as long as my arm from which to start guessing which ones apply to me. Now this is more of the Caroline + digestion + food situation we all know and love. (this is sarcasm, incase you had any doubt) So now I have to run the gauntlet of avoiding food intolerances and IBS exacerbating foods all while having no control over what foods are available. Are we having fun yet? So what can I eat? Lettuce? Nope, that is all fiber and with the kind of IBS I have more fiber is not a good thing.
         Now let's add the social aspect which is inescapable at college. Eating and drinking are social things. Food is everywhere. Going out to meals with friends, staying in for meals with friends, parties, meetings, critiques, all of these things are social eating situations and more often than not the food there is something I can't eat. So what am I to do? Not eat? Then I'm sitting around watching other people eat which is very awkward. Or eat and be sick the rest of the day? Or ask for others to go out of their way to accommodate me. Or just not be there if I can avoid it? I honestly don't like any of these options. So I end up getting anxious every time I even think of being in this situation again. And it happens several times a day.
         One other important thing to note is even though the food I'm intolerant to makes me feel awful it still tastes good at the time. My favorite food of all time is pizza, but it's at the top of the "don't eat me" list. Pizza being offered at events is usually an incentive, but I have to run the other way because I don't have the self control to be around it.
         I'm just ranting today not trying to find solutions. But I think talking to a nutritional counselor would be a good next step.