My allergist says I am not allergic to food. As a former 372-pound woman, this comes as no shock. I wanted to be surprised and to discover an easy cure for my never-ending headache. I was hoping the doctor would say, “Just stop eating dairy products and you’ll have your life back!” Sadly, the 20 minutes I spent lying on my chest with a grid drawn on my back after being scratched fifty-something times with a variety of food samples only led to the obvious answer: the former fat girl is not allergic to food.
Though he has not cured me, I like my allergist very much. I was hesitant at first, sitting in his waiting room which looked like it had not been renovated since the early 80’s. I further psyched myself out as I waited in the examination room reading a chart with about 90 things I did not know you could be allergic to. Then the doctor walked in, an older man who has seen it all and is on the case and poked at the problem from all angles (including poking me in the back). He demonstrated quick knowledge on a breadth of topics, which impressed me. “I haven’t given up on you,” he said, which was nice to hear even if I’ve basically given up on myself. So I’m trying some new pills and getting some new tests.
The allergist also suggested I try an organic diet, which essentially means if you can’t pull it out of the earth, don’t eat it. No artificial preservatives. No artificial sweeteners. No pesticides or growth hormones. “The 21st century may not be good for you,” he said. I’m rather fond of the 21st century, what with the civil rights and the Internet and the ability for women to vote and own property. But I get his point. “You can eat Amish chicken!” he said, which made me wonder where I would find any Amish people around here. I’ve seen hitching posts at the Meijer in South Bend, but that’s three hours away. I suppose I am supposed to shop only at Trader Joe’s now, even though it’s a bit of a drive.
So, I’ve been trying to do this organic diet thing since the weekend, but it is really, really, really, really hard. All the food at the grocery store has fake sweeteners or preservatives in it like my flavored yogurts, my beloved easy TV dinners, and my diet sodas. I’ve been drinking water. Water! And I bought….sugar. Real, organic, authentic sugar. Not Splenda. Not Aspartame. Sugar. It felt so wrong. It felt so dirty. All those calories packed into tiny white crystals in a bag. I may as well have been buying crack.
Then I discovered that Splenda actually is sweeter than sugar. It’s not just their marketing tag line. To get my coffee to taste as sweet as it does with two packets of Equal, I have to use three packets of sugar. So not only am I using more product, it’s costing me 45 calories. Ironically, I only started drinking coffee because it has essentially no calories. Now I’m hooked and it’s costing me the equivalent of one fat-free cheese stick for every cup.
I can’t chew sugar-free gum.
The only positive part of this experience is that the organic apples are sweet and delicious, much better than the wax-coated non-organic ones. But I have to pay extra for the deliciousness. And I don’t even know if any of this will work. Most likely my headache will persist and I will simply be slightly poorer and have eaten more calories. There was a study awhile ago that said artificial sweeteners make you gain weight because they’re not as filling. My only hope is that it turns out to be true and eating real sugar keeps me satiated. I’ve only been doing this a couple days, but I’m willing to accept it might be true. I haven’t been hungry right when I come home as I normally am. This might be because I’m getting real sugar in my coffee, so I’m more full from more calories. I dunno. We’ll see if it continues. It’s weird not eating right when I come home. I want to do it just out of habit.
I still have a headache though, and even if it didn’t, figuring out this organic diet would have given me one.
* Please do not comment on suggest remedies for my headache. I’ve heard it all, y’all and being the 40th person to tell me to see a chiropractor is not going to win you a warm spot in my heart. In fact, it will put you on my shit list.