Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why Do People Do That?

[trigger warning: food porn enjoy this otter instead]

I've been on my special no-more-gallbladder-explosions diet since Friday (we already had the week's food bought when I found out I had biliary dyskinesia). So far, so good. Lots of vegetables and fruits, lots of low fat, my gallbladder seems happy. I have even have my insomnia back*.

I was doing okay until Sunday, less than a week after I spent all night in an ER, in pain. On my way to buy dog food (Beneful Playful Life, I spoil that animal rotten) I saw them: Cadbury Mini Eggs. Sweet, crispy candy shell covering smooth, delicious chocolate. Only available three months of the year. Perfection. I'll eat an entire seven ounce bag myself, in one sitting. Actually, I'll eat an entire two pound bag myself, in one sitting.

There is a perfect way to eat Cadbury Mini Eggs. You hold them in your mouth until the shell cracks under the slightest pressure of your tongue, then you suck off the crispy shell and let the chocolate just melt on your tongue. The crackle of the sweet shell, the smooth, melted chocolate . . .

That's right, I'm on the fifth day of my diet and I'm already writing food porn. I can't imagine what I'll be doing in a month, masturbating to the cooking channel?

The problem is, at first, the pain was a fantastic motivator. The memory of it, fresh in my mind, pulsating from my back, punching through to my front, forcing tears to roll down my cheeks, was plenty enough to make me walk away from that chocolate perfection. Even now, with the memory of the pain fading, the fact that I did go to the hospital is enough motivation. I live 100% of my life in some kind of pain or another, it really has to be epic to force me to the ER at 11pm.

But in a month? Six months? A year? I doubt it. By then, the pain will be a distant memory, too far away to affect my behavior at all. By then, I'll think that Cadbury Mini Eggs are totally worth it. I won't think that when they set off another attack, but by then it'll be too late.

So why do people do that? Why do people eat fatty foods when it will give them a heart attack? Why do people stop taking their medication when it means a relapse into a psychotic state? Why do diabetics eat doughnuts?

That's why. For the same reason you went back to your exboyfriend three times. Sure, the first time you dated him, you didn't know, but after the first five times he cheated on you? After the hundredth time he lied to you? You knew better. Then time passed, and the memory of the pain faded and you were lonely and there you go. Doing the stupidest thing you could. Knowing damn well it's stupid, but convincing yourself it's totally worth it.

For the same reason you went to a bar to watch the Sunday doubleheader, and stayed to drink with your buddies, even though you knew you had work the next day, knew you'd be paying for it in pain and vomiting. You did it anyway.

You already know why schizophrenics stop taking their meds. It's not some kind of mystery. You already know why I'll eat that chocolate, even though it'll land me in the hospital. You do it, too. You just don't end up in surgery because of it, or shouting random nonsense about the CIA planting chips in your brain. This doesn't make you any better, it just makes you luckier.

*My healthy is not quite your healthy.


  1. Well said. Everyone does this - that's why being a judgemental douchehole is so hypocritical when EVERYONE DOES THIS.

    And My Healthy is not quite Your Healthy should be put on a tee-shirt.

  2. Well, it is a real struggle to find the 'zone' of adhering willingly to a diet that is needed for your health. Doing it for someone else is part of the motivation that I've been able to use. I have to keep myself healthy and model the diet successfully for my youngest, who at 14 faces a world filled with temptation that will put him at all kinds of health risk if he doesn't get with it. But failing that, I think you have to get to some abstract point where nothing tastes as good as healthy feels. And I know that you know what I mean where that 'healthy' thing is concerned because for both of us, it's going to be a different standard than for a lot of other people. After a few years of no gluten, no dairy, no soy, I can honestly say that it still all smells hauntingly good. It's just that I feel so good without them that I'm no longer willing to even have contamination (restaurants being a big issue) sideline me.

    I hope that you find the right zone smoothly. But mostly, I'm so sorry that you have to go looking for it at all.

  3. Right now, I am holding myself together with "wow! it is neat not to be constantly nauseated!", but I am just terrible at resisting temptation.

    Fortunately, I am good about forgetting about temptation, so as long as I don't see any more Cadbury Mini Eggs, I should be okay.

  4. Yeah, I'm not sure how well I'd do at finding that zone, Marzie. I have extremely poor impulse control - and where I don't, it's a result of strenuously training myself out of it (or in a few cases, having it trained out of me).

  5. When you get sick enough, for long enough, when you feel your entire body is betraying you because of what you eat, when food becomes, quite literally, the enemy, you're closer to finding that zone. Staying in it does take work, but you get there. I still eat on four day rotation for all protein and most alternative grain sources. I went two years without eating eggs and now indulge just once a week. But I'll never be able to eat gluten or dairy. Or really soy, since it seems to make everything go haywire with my arthritis and my antibody count to soya protein seems to have skyrocketed in recent years.

    Right now my biggest challenge is that my antibody titer to rice has risen considerably because I was using it as a primary grain alternative to gluten-containing grains. Most gluten-free flours contain rice flour, at least in part. So most gluten-free breads are out. And I was a big toast eater. And I loved sushi and rice noodles and oh my, I am sad just thinking about it...

    The biggest problem with specialized exclusionary diets is that you can't eat outside the home easily at all. It's very frustrating for family, friends. People really don't get it. They think you exaggerate. Or, worse still, they are well intended, like the friend that made a gluten-free dinner but forgot and sprinkled seasoned bread crumbs on her pork tenderloin and then I refused to eat it. Or my stepmom (a physician!) not knowing that soy sauce is really fermented wheat, not soy, and cooking meat with it (ditto on refused to eat it). When you can't eat what someone prepared for you, you're perceived as difficult, etc. even if they rationally know that you have a serious problem and they screwed up. Basically, you're screwed.

    Still, it's hardest for my son. (Weird that he was adopted and has not only celiac disease but the same gene, which is the rare of those associated with celiac disease, no?) It's hard to be a kid and never, ever be able to have those common foods that they have at school events. The pizzas, the cookies, the cupcakes, the birthday stuff, etc. One year when they were rehearsing for a band performance, he cheated and ate pizza (double bad, with wheat and cheese, since he's casein sensitive too) and was so very sick. He seldom cheats now, from what I can tell. Which is good. It stunted his growth, which was bad enough, but the pressure on him to NOT eat gluten is huge. His biological sister had lymphoma, diagnosed at 6 months pregnant with her second child. Lymphoma is the most common cancer associated with untreated celiac disease. She, and his two nieces, all have that same gene, as well. So it's engraved in his mind that there are dire consequences for NOT following the diet that are worse than the embarrassment of bad flatulence and diarrhea.

    So he's my incentive. And my husband is. I don't want to leave him caring for a sicker me. He's been a trooper so far. Not many guys would be thrilled to be married to someone with three autoimmune diseases. But he's doing a pretty good impression of still being happy. So in spite of it, I'm counting myself lucky. And staying in that zone.

  6. i want to say i get it -

    but on this one, chocolate has become NECESSARY to me. like, i never was a big fan of chocolate, i tended to only like it with something else.

    now, most days, my ENTIRE nutrient intake? is chocolate milk. because ANY food hurts, i hate the taste of regular milk, so choc it is [but i can only drink ONE kind of choc milk - the specific brand from Kroger. milk with choc sauce is still the most disgusting thing i've EVER drank, and i include TEQUILA as less disgusting]

    i can't eat "real" food, aside from occasional bread. sigh. but that's an entirely DIFFERENT problem -

    after getting my gallbladder out, in 2000, i was FINE. it wasn't until the surgeries, the MRSA, the super-antibiotics, all the fucking narcotics, that i became unable to eat.
    just sans-gallbladder, it was cool.

    i hope you can find your balance. because a world without PF is NOT a world i want!


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