I see you eating that sandwich with all that mayo, meat and veggies on it. That thick bread, falling apart, and hardly holding the sandwich makings in.
I see you drinking that martini, with the little olive on it’s cute toothpick.
I hear you ordering nachos and beer on the plane almost as soon as we take off.
I see you drinking a Starbucks coffee as your rush to get on the plane.
I see all of this, and I am so envious. I’m envious because you can eat, and drink what what you want. I’m envious because you don’t seem to have any concerns about how your stomach might betray you. I’m envious because I used to be like you.
Not anymore. Now I can’t eat and drink whatever I want, and my anxiety has gotten so much worse as I’ve gotten older. It’s especially off the chart when I travel, and this last travel adventure was a doozy.
I have to tell you, when you become a parent, you will do just about anything for your child. Even if it means taking four different flights in two days, despite your high anxiety.
Here is what this looks like when you have anxiety and food sensitivities:
Nausea, restroom issues, you feel like someone is sitting on your chest. You question whether that particular feeling is a heart attack or anxiety. You tell yourself that no one has ever died from anxiety, then you argue with yourself about it, because really? Do we really know this to be true?
You don’t eat or drink anything for the first 24 hours of travel, then when you do eat, you have to take a Bonine because your stomach is upset the next morning, and you’re about to get on yet another plane. Bonine is a like a miracle pill, because it works.It knocks out the nausea, and makes you incredibly tired, so what little stomach pangs you’re having will slowly disappear while you’re head is bobbing back and forth on the plane, and you’re attempting not to drool.
Let’s tackle the anxiety first. It’s miserable, but I won’t let it keep me from having adventures. I won’t let my fears keep me from living life. Life is too short, and I don’t want the time I have on this earth, to be filled with regrets. So anxiety or not, I will get out and live this life. I’m not expecting anyone to cater to my anxiety. I get it, that you don’t get it, and I am happy for you. You don’t have to tip toe around me, and if you tell me to get over it, I won’t get mad at you for thinking it’s just that easy. I might get mad, because that’s like telling me to calm down when I’m angry. Ha! If you’re telling me these things, you obviously don’t have anxiety, and I am happy for you. I’m happy for anyone who doesn’t suffer from this, because it can be debilitating, if you allow it. I have chosen not to take anything for my anxiety, not for any other reason, except that my doctor prescribed me something that made it worse, so I thought I’d try other avenues before I go back to her with this issue.
Now for the food issues. Please, please, please… eat. If you can eat bread, burgers, fat, greasy food, whatever… eat it! I’m not saying you should go overboard with it, but please don’t deny yourself. I used to be able to eat any food I wanted. Then I started these crazy diet fads. Gluten free? Sure I’ll try it. NO sugars? Okay, why not? Paleo? Sure. OH and lets not forget the pyramid scheme diets. By the way, the main reason you’re losing weight on those, is because of your water intake. All organic, even my soap, toothpaste, deodorant, lotion? Wooohoo… let’s do it. Why? Why do we go along with all of this?
We go along with it for several reasons. We feel like we will live longer. We feel like it will make us healthier. We feel our bodies are full of toxins, and that’s the cause of all of our problems, both mental, and physical. We feel like we possess a certain knowledge over others, perhaps a superiority due to our advanced ideas about food. We feel diets that include words like “organic,” “paleo,” and “gluten free,” place us in another class as compared to those who eat things like Frosted Mini Wheats, or Quaker Oatmeal. The pyramid schemes come with not only the promise of health, and weight loss, but also the promise of making lots of money, and being involved in something wonderful, where everyone gets rich, and healthy, and skinny. Yeah that…
I can say this, because I am one of those people (minus selling pyramid crap diets). Now I have so many intolerances to food, that it makes it impossible to enjoy a meal out. It makes it impossible to eat and travel. Let me list them for you: Lactose, soy, pineapple, whole, unprocessed grains (any kind of rice, quinoa, etc), sesame seeds, shrimp, and my stomach cannot handle wine, beer, and many other liquors ( 😦 ) . A Paleo diet isn’t a bad choice for me, but I do like my oatmeal, and potatoes. Brown potatoes are actually good for you, and I always bake mine to make the skin super edible.
You might think to yourself, “That’s not a lot of food allergies at all,” but it is. Almost everything has soy, or lactose, or sesame seeds, and you have to careful with fish oils when you have a shrimp allergy. I spent an hour at Central Market looking for grab and go bars, reading the ingredients on the back of each one, just to have something I could eat that wasn’t going to make me sick. I had to google what amaranth was, to be sure it wasn’t some kind of whole grain super food, because those are terrible on my stomach. I hate being that person in the store. I don’t want people thinking I’m a food snob, because I promise you, if I could, I’d be shoving nachos and sandwiches with just any mayo on them (did you know almost ALL brands of mayo have soy?), just like those people in the airports.
So I plead with you… please eat. Don’t be afraid of your food. People are living well into their 100’s while feasting on the same food we now shun because we are too smart for that sh*t. Just EAT. Enjoy it. I know too many people who have to avoid foods due to disorders, and allergens, and we are watching you eat. We are watching you enjoy your Wendy’s hamburger before you get on the plane, and we are judging you. Ha! Just kidding. I’m not. I’m sitting there salivating, and wishing I could eat a big, juicy burger right along with you!
So eat, and live your life. Step outside of the box. Don’t let yourself get boxed in by life or by strict, self imposed rules that will create more problems for you in the long run.