Well, now, after not eating gluten for nearly four months, if I go ‘oh, fuck it, I’m on holiday’ and eat, say, a splendid bowl of seafood linguine in a nice restaurant with a spiffing view of the harbour and a distant lighthouse, my belly blows up like a Montgolfier aerostatic globe (alas without the golden fleur-de-lys at every corner). The experiment was repeated a few days later with a piece of bread and frankly, if I’d bumped into a street-lamp it’d've been the Hindenburg disaster all over again. So. For whatever reason, May’s intestines have Taken Against gluten. Whether this is a new thing, or whether they were never pro-gluten in the first place and are quite glad I’ve finally worked it out is undeterminable and probably, for the moment at least, irrelevant.
Meanwhile, I’d kill for a dish of lasagne and a cake that doesn’t have the texture of sand.
Things I can’t eat, because they variously make me bloated, give me violent instant and very painful indigestion, sore swollen lips and tongue, or eczema: Hazelnuts. Raspberries. Bananas. Kiwis. White wine (and champagne). Dairy products from cows (this has improved in the past ten years. I can now eat dairy several times a week without any noticeable reaction). And now, wheat. Arse.
I mean ‘arse’ as in swear-word, not as in another thing I can’t eat.
And, because I ovulated on Monday, I am cutting down on coffee, as I always, grimly, bloody-mindedly do for the two-week-wait. I think, this time, I shan’t start it back up again post-period. Too much caffeine is too implicated in too many random, poorly-backed-up studies of infertility, you see.
When I announced this to H, he expressed the concern that coffee helps me get through the day, I only have one or two coffees a day, and here I was, giving up this thing that helps me get through the day, and it sounded less like me being cautious and healthy and more like me punishing myself.
Well, yes, said I, as if this was the most logical thing in the world.
H looked at me in total, utter, 100% shiny bafflement.
OK. I have just said, and thought, and am still thinking, the sort of thing an unhinged wing-nut with a major eating disorder would say and think.
I don’t think having food intolerances is good for me. You know what orthorexia is? It’s a way of having an eating disorder without anyone really noticing you’ve got an eating disorder. I once weighed a grand total of 120 lbs, thought I was disgustingly fat, and lived on, alternately, black coffee and fingernails for a week, and binges of buttered toast, carrot sticks and Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. For which, of course, I loathed myself. Back on the fingernails! Until my body screams for carbohydrate and fibre! Cycle! Vicious!
Now I weigh, oh, fuck it, I weigh 180 lbs and eat things like salad Niçoise and bacon and avocados and roast chicken and broccoli and chocolate and cherry tomatoes and Pad Thai. And by and large, I don’t beat myself up about any of it. At all. Except maybe when I have my usual PMT break-out and eat enough chocolate to make myself feel a little sick, and then it’s usually only because I could’ve stopped three squares ago and now not be feeling sick.
Or, at least, I did. And yet, here I am, thinking it’s a perfectly logical, sane idea to give up something I love, not because to do so would be provenly healthy (though it may well be (and in fact I am using the healthiness as a justification (which is, you know, how orthorexia works))), but because I love it.