Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking about food and why a few years ago I became somewhat obsessed with it. I graduated with a degree in Technical Theatre and throughout university I was proud if I made Kraft Dinner that didn’t have lumps in it.
So why did I become a “food enthusiast”? How do you get from margarine and noodles to fois gras?
About 3 or so years ago I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This was after a battery of tests confirmed that I was healthy enough to go into space. Really, those were the words the doctor used. I was lucky that I had a male doctor that really did believe there was something wrong and referred me to a specialist; a gastroenterologist.
The gastroenterologist was one of the most abrupt people I had ever met, he also had a bit of a tact issue, but I guess if you are talking about fecal matter all day your boundaries may be a bit different. For example, one of his questions in our relatively short pre-diagnosis interview was “Were you abused as a child?” Wow. I later found out why he was asking that, but still.
Within a few minutes of our first visit he looked at me and said “We don’t need to run anymore tests, you have IBS, and I am sorry no one caught it sooner.” After he explained what it was, we talked about treatment options. IBS is not cureable (though some claim it is, I don’t believe it) but it is manageable.
In addition to leaving what was at the time a high stress job, I also started taking prescription medication. Eventually it stopped working and it was quite expensive without a health plan. I started exercising but didn’t really change my eating habits too much. Then in early 2006 while I was working at an actor’s agency one of the clients recommended the GI Diet. It made me look at food in a whole new light.
It meant not dieting but more watching what you were putting in your body. That food serves a very real and essential purpose in life. I also started reading French Women Don’t Get Fat which taught me about how to savour food and how it can tie into passion and emotion.
They both inspired me to take a hard look at what I was eating and that it wasn’t really that hard to eat healthier (look at the recipes I adapt on this site). As a side bonus to both the exercise and the new eating I dropped 20 pounds, it took a little over a year but I did it (The Last 10 pounds Boot Camp can kiss my butt). This was also spurred on by the Gastroenterologist saying I could stand to lose a few pounds (no I wasn’t offended, it was true, my BMI was high)
After spending a long time on the GI Diet I try to stick as close to it as I can, but I don’t let it stop me at restaurants, especially gourmet ones. I gained a new appreciation for chefs as people who have a real chance to make an impression on someone’s life through the food they serve them.
I now know more what foods and situations can trigger me feeling “not so great,” and I do the best I can. I have come to terms with the fact that this will never go away and sometimes it will just act up even if I am meditating and eating only pure foods.
So that is the first and hopefully last time I will mention the word bowel on this site. But hopefully it gives you a bit more of an insight into my love of food. Hit the link above if you want to learn more about IBS or think you might have it.
You are what you eat.