Tuesday, July 4, 2017

It's the End of the World as We Know It

My body has forsaken me.

Not only do I have codependent pets, I now have some kind of weird codependent creature living in my stomach causing all kinds of problems.

I have an overgrowth Candida. I don't understand it completely, but it basically means I have an imbalance of gut flora and my internal bacteria is out of whack.

If the tummy ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. I have brain fog, chronic fatigue, irritability, emotional issues, weight gain, skin issues, and God knows what else. Stuff I thought was caused by a hormone imbalance, and they were ten years ago, but my hormones have been balanced for couple of years, so this was just some new crap.

I'm not a doctor or a scientist, so all I was really interested in after I got my test results was what is the bottom line? How can I cure this and how long will it take?

My doctor, bless her heart, said as soon as she saw my test results and saw the imbalance of gut flora signalling Candida in my stomach she knew I was going to be mad at her and she was dreading our phone consultation.

Here's what that means: You know those annoying pretentious people on a special diet who refuse to touch sugar, wheat, MSG, and anything else yummy?

I am now one of those people. Not because I refuse to touch these things, but because it is recommended that I don't in order to heal the issue in my stomach.

I looked over the list of food I can eat and then the list I can't eat and had a breakdown. Overgrowth of Candida is basically like a yeast infection, which doesn't surprise me because I've had problems with overgrowth of yeast all my life (I'll spare you the dirty details). Sugar, yeast, fermented foods all feed it.

My four favorite things are chocolate, coffee, wine, and cheese.

They are all off the menu.

You know what I hate? Cauliflower. It is absolutely on the menu.

Also banned: All dairy but plain Greek yogurt, corn, rice (a gluten free person's staples – no more popcorn for me) and fruit, God help me. No pineapple, no peaches, no muskmelon (I'm growing and nurturing four muskmelon plants in my garden, Goddamnit!) and no watermelon. These are a few of my favorite things.

I can, however, have berries. And avocados.

Fuck me running. Uphill. Backwards. With a spoon.

I used to judge those people who are all, “Oh, I can't eat sugar, it's bad for me. And I don't drink, because well, alcohol is THE DEVIL.”

The other day I went shopping for my new diet. My cart was full of beets, carrots, bell peppers in all colors, avocado, celery, nuts (almonds and walnuts, cashews are off limits), and stevia.

I have never in my life wanted to even entertain the idea of using stevia. I'm a sugar girl. I'm not one of those people who is all, “Oh, I use STEVIA because sugar is sooooooo bad for you.”

People were looking at me in the grocery store like, “What the hell, girl. Eat a fucking sandwich.” Even the checkout girl plucked each piece of my fresh produce off the conveyor belt, regarded it with a rather raised eyebrow, and then pushed it down to the lady bagger, almost with a gesture of disgust, like, “This girl needs to freaking get over herself. I mean, what the hell.”

I couldn't blame her for her judging me. I was judging me.

Earlier that day I went to the health store and managed to find crackers made with stuff that is actually on my diet plan and pasta made of pea flour and buckwheat flour. At least there I didn't feel judged because the health food store is filled with other annoying pretentious people who are on a special diet, gingerly picking through the “unhealthy” food with wrinkled nose and curled lip.

People like me minus the wrinkled nose and curled lip. I'm the one drooling over the organic potato chips and chocolate bars.

This is what I've been reduced to. Leafy greens, root vegetables, no fruit, no sugar, no caffeine.

No wine.

I asked my doctor how I was supposed to get through eight weeks without chocolate. Yes, I'm such a baby, this diet lasts eight weeks and I'm whining and crying like my life is over. My doctor did tentatively suggest that I could probably get away with that 72% or 85% cacao Ghiradelli dark chocolate bars because there isn't a lot of sugar. I can also make truffles with cocoa and stevia or whatever.

Oooh, yay. Stevia truffles!

Do you know how I make truffles? With whipping cream and high quality bittersweet chocolate. Also, brandy.

Dairy and alcohol are off limits for me. The chocolate chips I use are only 60% cacao so not as good as they should be. They still have a lot of sugar. And besides, I love milk chocolate. I will eat dark chocolate if that's all there is and I have no other choice. But I LOOOOOOVE milk chocolate. Preferably Dove milk chocolate with peanut butter or caramel filling (mmmmmmm). Then there's the Frey milk chocolate from Switzerland that is better than sex fashioned into these cigar shaped sticks with a praline filling and hazelnuts.

I hate my life.

So I took all of my lovely fun groceries home intent on making a yummy dinner that would make me forget that I can't eat cheese.

Did I mention I've never purchased a beet in my life? I don't even know what to do with a beet.

I chopped the beets and yam into discs to bake and pan fried some chicken thighs in olive oil (no butter for me!) with ginger, garlic, anise stars, thyme and basil from my garden, and rock salt.

I caved and had a glass of wine with it. Hey, it's my first day on this shit and small steps, right?

The chicken turned out really good, but that's because I discovered I love the taste of anise. I also love the taste of basil and thyme.

The beets and yams? Well, they can use some work. The main problem was that I had more beet and yam discs on my baking stone than there was baking stone so they didn't bake as well as they could have.

The question is, why am I doing this to myself? Well, I'm tired of the bloating, the chronic fatigue, the depression, the complete lack of desire to exercise or really do anything. Brain fog is not a good thing to have when one catalogs books all day long (it's a very precise job), and also when one wants to write for a living. I have no energy and no drive. And that is not like me, has never been like me. When I adopted my dog I walked her three hours a day. Now the thought of walking five minutes makes me want to go take a nap. The dog wants to take a nap too, but that's because she's older and she picks up on my mood.

I've got to be the most boring human on the face of the planet and it's not even by choice. I used to go out dancing every Friday night. Now, the thought of being out of the house past ten o'clock sounds like a punishment.

All I know is that I'm going on vacation in a week to visit my parents and there is no way I will be able to stick to this ridiculously rigorous diet at their house. They have Swiss cheese, Swiss chocolate, fancy coffee, and expensive wine in abundance. I am my parents' daughter as I inherited my taste for these things in spades. At least at my house I can throw out all temptations (except the wine bottles, there is no way I'm throwing out my wine collection), but at my parents' house?

Forget it.

The diet begins the day after I return home from my parents' house.

That's also when my life ends.

I'm such a drama queen.

But hey, I have to give up sugar and wine. I feel like I have a right to be a bitch.

Guess that jackass who wrote The Gluten Lie was full of it. Sure, in his perfect little world he can eat wheat, sugar, and MSG in moderation. But when you have codependent Candida, you don't get that luxury.

That damn bacteria must have been talking to Percy. Can't eat unless I'm right there.

Sigh...good bye, wine.

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