September 20, 2010

Awkward, but still feelin' good about it.

If you've been a longtime reader of Michael's Meanderings, you'll recall that last November I had to deal with a chronic yeast overgrowth brought on by an overdose of antibiotics. I dealt with that but then I had to remove a bunch of foods from my diet that I was reacting to because of problems caused by the yeast overgrowth.

I'm now ten months in on my restricted diet. Abstaining from things like garlic, mustard, dairy, gluten, and beef, as ubiquitous as they are, has been easier than I thought. I've found lots of great recipes that I thoroughly enjoy. The hardest thing about it all is being "the picky eater guy".

It's awkward when I'm invited for dinner but can't partake in anything that is being served. Instead of inconveniencing my host(s) by having them plan around what I can eat, I just bring my own food. It's weird and usually requires a whole lot of explaining.  Which is awkward.

Then, of course, even when I bring my own food there are the continuous offers of the food that everyone else is enjoying. This is always accompanied by the question, "Can you eat this?" The answer is almost always, "No, but thanks for asking." And I really do mean that. They're being good hosts, after all. But it's awkward.

And don't even get me started on restaurants.  For the most part, I don't even bother with restaurants anymore if I can help it. I just politely excuse myself or eat beforehand and have a cup of tea while everyone else eats their meal. When it comes to explaining that to clients or colleagues, though, it's awkward.

I often travel and, if there isn't a grocery store that I can depend on, I have to bring my own food. Whether it's a tiny northern hamlet or super-city like Vancouver, I have to find a place to stay where I can cook my own food or I can't eat a good meal. And that's really awkward.

I'm not attending either of my professional conferences this year and my restricted diet is a huge part of that.  That's not so much awkward as it is just inconvenient and sucky.

But, ten months in, and as awkward and invonvenient as it is, I'm still feeling better than I have in years. In a couple of months, depending on what the next round of tests say, I'll be slowly reintroducing some of those foods back into my diet. At least, I hope I will.  It'll be great to eat at a restaurant again and have something on the menu that I can eat!  How fantastic to eat at a friend's place without having to question them about every single ingredient like I'm an interrogator for the Spanish Inquisition!  How wonderful it will be!  How very wonderful!

But even if I can't reintroduce those foods just yet - and even if I can never eat some those foods again - no matter how awkward it is, I'll be alright.  I'll be alright because I've proven to myself that I have the willpower, determination, and self-control to do it.

And I feel great about that.


Marian said...

You're dealing with the restrictions really well.
As for eating at hotels, we knew somebody who's system was so bad, she could only eat three things (same things for breakfast, lunch and dinner). She used to take her food to the conference and the kitchen would cook it for her three times a day. If you make food ahead like you do for some of your other trips, I'm sure it wouldn't be a big deal to get the food heated. Just a thought.

Melissa said...

I feel the pain of your awkwardness :( As a child I never did enjoy eating red meat, fish or pork. Only poultry. It was never an animal rights type issue for me, it was actually about the texture. So by the time I was 14 I had cut those items from my diet entirely as well as various other foods whose textures I find objectionable.

So even though it is admittedly self-imposed; I understand fully what it feels like to be the "picky eater" or the "difficult one". Even when I am fully prepared and able to side step the issue by supplying my own meal or content to only partake of the sides offered at a meal; I think the hosts still feel like somehow they've failed in their duty. While others still just cannot fathom why I should "choose" to be so difficult over food. Only I don't feel it is much of a choice for me and it only ever becomes an issue in a social setting. It's all just very . . .awkward.

Here's hoping you can get back to some sense of normalcy!