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Lately, I take offense to the word (and idea of) consumer. Is that all I am, a consumer? Companies in the US are so focused on getting us “consumers” to buy products that the products themselves suffer. I give you two examples.

I have issues with gluten and so have two choices when it comes to bread: bake it myself using expensive flours, or buy an expensive loaf. You’d think rice flour breads would be cheaper. Anyway, a few weeks ago I decided to be adventurous and try some new versions. One loaf I bought turned out to have gluten in it, though the package was a bit misleading. The second loaf turned out to be $13.99, a fact I did not realize until I was home. $13.99 for a loaf of frozen bread.

My first thought was the price was incorrect. A phone call to Whole Foods actually confirmed the price was actually correct. It had to have been mismarked on the shelf, because there is no way–NO WAY– I would have purchased it at that price. However, I was told I could return it for a full refund, even if opened. Ok, fine, I will. But I am still wondering who they expect to pay this price for sandwich bread? (Also, I tasted it. Bland.)

The same weekend, the boyfriend and I took a trip to Pet Smart. This was an even worse purchase. We have a large plastic container with a lid to keep the cat food fresh. No need this time: not long after I’d emptied the bag into the container and closed the lid, I noticed maggots crawling all over the inside of the lid. Disgusting!!! I took a loss on the cat food and threw it out, container and all. I did some research after that, and it turns out that Friskies/Purina are pretty much the worst cat foods out there. I’ll not be buying their food again, ever.

I know that I’ve been guilty of not doing my research in the past and not paying as close attention as should be paid to what I eat or buy, or what I feed my cats. That is definitely going to change.

Marketing and profits are taking up much of corporate budgets it seems. I have no stats on this at present, but I have read reputable sources who have not been shy in making public the fact that corporations have not only recovered from the recession but are profitable already. Who cares about expensive allergy-friendly bread or rotten cat food when you are rolling in profits?

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It’s been a long while since a piece of meat has reduced me to a blubbering pile. I’d forgotten how inextricably meat is tied to certain aspects of my particular brand of OCD. I really feel like flipping out, but instead I just sob.

I still can’t walk anywhere close to the meat section at any grocery store; I still cannot get behind someone in line who is purchasing anything that makes me uneasy. Thankfully, the list of items that cause an anxious reaction has become smaller, but meat remains.

Some things have the power to throw you back into memories, often ones you are trying to erase. I have worked hard to sheild myself from some memories, tried avoidance in order to keep them stuffed down in the basement of my mind. Seems like the easist thing in the world, to let a past event rise to the surface, let your mind take it, relive it. It feels more like dying to me.

So many thoughts race through me. When asked what is wrong, I can only say, as I’ve said so often “I can’t explain it.” Who would understand?

Food allergies are becoming super trendy lately, judging by the number of “free” of this and that dishes popping up at restaurants. Gluten free foods have become ubiquitous to the point of earning their very own menus. There even exists a dedicated gluten free bakery right outside of Nashville.

A few years ago, I foraged into the gluten free world due to some serious symptoms, which all pointed towards Celiac disease. Had no insurance at the time, so, like many do, I self-medicated by removing gluten from my diet. I stayed off gluten for a year, relapsed, and quit again two years ago.

Little did I know that taking gluten out of my diet would cause problems getting diagnosed later on. I visited my PCP about a month ago, and presented with no symptoms. My PCP suggested I go back on gluten for a week and then get the blood test done. She would check for the antibodies that would indicate my immune system was reacting to the gluten.

A few weeks later, my test results are back and the test is negative; however, my iron is low. Iron deficiency anemia can be one of the complications to Celiac. I was a little confused about the negative result. I began to wonder if one week back on the gluten was not enough to spark my immune system, even though I experienced symptoms after just a few days of eating gluten. A quick internet search led me to the ‘gluten challenge.’

A gluten challenge apparently consists of eating a certain amount of gluten for at least 6-8 weeks. This is good and bad news for me. It may mean that I did not eat enough gluten for a long enough period in order to get correct test results, which means that I may have to do a longer gluten challenge. Which, quite frankly, sucks.

My question is has anyone else experienced similar events? I am trying to decide if I could actually tolerate a longer challenge or if I need to just forget it. I am also considering finding another physician. I’d really like to get this resolved.

Shall I eat the wheat or not?

I am both fascinated/repulsed by competitive eating.  I don’t know the how or the why of competitive eating.  Why would you eat until you’re sick?  How does one even get involved in such things?

And how much glory is really involved in competitive eating?  Not much, I’d say.  Although everyone seems to know who Joey Chesnut is, including me.

Anyway, I watch Man Vs Food all the time– and I’ve no idea why.  I can’t stand being full (just one of my many issues surrounding all things edible), yet I am fascinated by a man who can gorge himself on a variety of comestibles on a regular basis.  And do it on TV, no less.

All this just to say that lately it’s been me vs. food on a daily, miserable basis.  My main nemesis?

Wheat.  Gluten.  All things related to wheat, and gluten.  Oh- and soy.  Soy protein, soy flour, soy sauce.

You’d think it’d be easy to avoid two simple little ingredients.  But you’d be so fucking wrong.

You see, the problem is that our food is way to processed.  And while you think you know what’s in your food, you’d be surprised to find all the shit that’s also in your food. Every time I think I’m safe in what I”m eating, I find out I’m wrong.

For instance:  cheesecake.  New York Cheesecake, to be specific.  Didn’t eat the crust, got way sick. There’s flour in cheesecake!

Also, potato chips:  wheat flour in potato chips.

Also, I cheat.  I cheat like a mutherfucker.  Like most kids who grew up in the South, I grew up eating a lot of breaded & fried stuff.  Also, in my quest to avoid meat, I ate a lot of bread.  I love bread.  I could live on bread and butter.  Or, at least I used to be able to.  Not any more.

I don’t know what causes Celiac Disease (the official name of my ailment) and it doesn’t really matter.  Because really, it’s all the over-processed, factory-farmed food that is probably the likely cause.  Nobody knows from whence their food came, nor do they care.  But I’m starting to.

I hate reading labels; I hate asking at every restaurant what’s in the food.  I hate being so picky about it all.  But when I’m not diligent, as in the case of the cheesecake incident, I’m sick for days.

Is this what my eating experiences will be like from now on?  Worrying over what’s in everything I put in my mouth, anxious that it might cause lengthy and painful reaction?

Awesome.

 

Last night, as I was visiting my sister in the hospital (she just gave birth to a 10 pound baby boy!), a McRib commercial came on TV.  I said I could not believe that people were so obsessed with this sandwich.  My sister replied, “Well, some people follow bands.  Some people follow food.”

I’m not even opposed to pork products, molded or otherwise. My fifteen years of vegetarianism doesn’t even come into play. What I’d like to know, what I really want to know, what is killing my inner curious cat, is why? Why are people so obsessed with this sandwich?

My brother-in-law admitted that he gets one each time it’s rolled out for a brief shining moment.  Even though, he admitted further, the sandwich gets worse every time.  He hates McDonald’s, he says, and only visits a handful of times per year.

In doing some Internet research on this sandwich, I found a website dedicated to “sightings” of the McRib.  The locater, as it were.  My conclusion?  Either folks are really hard up for something interesting in their lives, or McD’s has come up with a brilliant marketing plan.

I honestly haven’t given much consideration to this sandwich over the years, mainly because I’m a vegetarian.  Fast food commercials serve to amuse me, not titillate me.  However, the latest McD’s commercial really got me.  Here is the tagline:

“The Simple Joy of Obsession”

Hey, McDonald’s, newsflash!  Obsessions are never joyful and rarely simple.  It really got me thinking about what the argument, what the appeal is at the heart of this marketing campaign.

It’s got to be emotional.  The campaign is designed to create desire; the sandwich is only available limited times and at various locations.  This recent sandwich appearance is only scheduled to last until the first week of December.  McD’s has created a cult following for this sandwich merely by making it scarce.  The ads seem to be saying “get it while you can.”  Indulge while you can.  Get it while it lasts.

While my opinion of the sandwich remains the same (Ewww, in a word), I have to give credit where credit is due:  this campaign is kind of brilliant.

This will probably be the only time I give kudos to any fast food joint.  Enjoy it while it lasts.

 

What it’s like:  an essay on food and obsessions.

OCD makes it impossible for me to eat, savor, enjoy, be full.  I never eat what I really want because there are too many rules.  There are too many OCD thoughts that govern my decisions. So, I plan, I think, I obsess.  I buy.  But I never eat.

Yet I am always hungry, always desirous.  Always want something more, or something other.  Something different.  Never satisfied.  Always afraid. Can’t be spontaneous about eating:  must plan.

It is the thing around which everything else hinges, hangs.  Where and what can I eat?

It is a large concern.

But I’ll do better, tomorrow.  This is the thought at the end of the day.

I’ll do better tomorrow.

Want to read more?  Check out my memoir, She’s So Heavy, at Smashwords:

She\’s So Heavy: A Memoir

I don’t eat pork (nor would I cook it), but I may watch this video a few more times.  Hot director + a ten minute lesson on cooking?  Fuck yes.

http://bit.ly/2V2nw

And as filmmaker Roberto Rodriguez  says, “Not knowing how to cook is like not knowing how to fuck.”

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