It wasn’t long ago that bread could be called “friend,” but that was before it tried to kill me.
Toasted with butter, dipped into soup, drizzled with olive oil, lovingly surrounding various meats, cheeses, and vegetables… bread has always been ready to accompany whatever concoction suited my fancy. Its pliable and willing nature made for an adventurous companion to my culinary explorations, complete with flavors from every corner of the globe. And if I didn’t have any on-hand, I could make some more! Bread and I had a magical thirty-two-year love affair, full of laughter and mouthgasms.
About two years ago, I started gaining weight. Just a little at first, no big deal. Two pounds here, two pounds there… but it didn’t stop. Finally, three months and thirty-five pounds later, I stopped gaining weight. I’d also nearly stopped eating. Subsisting on coffee and cheese was a drastic change in eating habits… one that I was ashamed of… knowing it wasn’t a healthy option, but neither was rapid, unexplained weight gain. It wasn’t until the weight gain had stopped that I realized how tight my skin was. I was swollen, puffy, and my skin hurt if I bent over or twisted to either side. “What’s wrong with me? Isn’t this the same body I’ve been living in for years?” For over a year, this was life. Eating and drinking only a handful of options, afraid to try anything else… getting help with my shoes because it hurt too much to stretch that far… clothes never fitting right since I was too nervous about “what might happen next” to buy new ones. This wasn’t the me I’d grown to enjoy.
I began listening to the ether, searching for explanations, or better yet: a solution. One day, not long ago, it happened! I heard story after story about how a small group of doctors were making serious headway into identifying (at the very least) and in many cases resolving food allergies – especially those that appeared to manifest quite suddenly. It was worth a try… what’s the worst that could happen? Oh yeah, the worst that could happen is that I still may not get any answers. But, what if I do? …and the testing began.
Success is a funny thing… and can be measured in a number of ways. I am down eight pounds and two dress sizes. I am slowly inching back toward reclaiming the body I know. However, in doing so, I find myself eating things that are far less adventurous than experimental. Milk made of nuts. Bread made of vegetables. Butter made of olives. Pasta made of rice. Everything I eat is an impostor of some sort. My hope is that I will one day be able to call bread “friend” again… but for now, I sit here, contemplating my dinner… knowing that I’m not actually eating a “sandwich”,… but not quite knowing what to call it. It’s mostly rice, some plain meat, lettuce, avocado, and cucumbers… doesn’t that make it some kind of flat, dry sushi roll?