December 17, 2011

Failing At Food

I just have to state for the record that I HATE food. I absolutely loathe it. My kids are on the computer but I am so upset over the whole subject of food that I am actually taking the time to compose a blog using my phone.
Most of my good memories of growing up revolve around food--conversations at the dinner table, sitting around bonfires making s'mores, birthday cakes at parties--and yet, food causes me so much stress. I hate the planning and preparing that goes into dinner. I hate the guilt that comes along with truly enjoying food. I hate the ties to emotions, the whole love/hate aspect. I hate that the foods that are good for me taste terrible and the foods I like are poison to my body.

If it wasn't for my kids, I would probably never eat a regular meal again--I would just graze all day. Yeah, go ahead and tell me how grazing is really healthier than the traditional 3 squares a day--I've heard it before. The problem is my grazing consists of bread and rolls and other things loaded down with carbs and empty calories.

Earlier in the year, I decided to try Weight Watchers. I knew I wasn't eating right just as I knew exactly how I should have been eating--it doesn't take a special program to tell me that. But I was hoping the accountability would help. It didn't. You know why I eventually quit? Because when it came time to eat, I was getting so frustrated trying to find foods I could actually eat that I was ending up in tears. It got to the point that I would rather skip a meal than try to figure out what to eat. That pretty much sums up my attitude about food.

It didn't get any better when I was researching Bubba's Autism and became convinced that the only way to eat was purely organic. No dairy, no artificial colors or sugars, no processed foods, only organic fruits and veggies, and only grain fed, hormone free meat. I still believe this is how we should eat. However, those foods cost at least twice as much--if not more--than their unhealthy counterparts. And they are definitely acquired tastes. Have you ever tried rice milk? Gross. And gluten free chocolate cake is just wrong. Not to mention trying to convince the world's pickiest children to suddenly try new foods when they barely eat the foods they are familiar with. So in this matter I chose the path that I am most familiar with--denial.
This method works fine as long as I pretend that it's only my own health at risk. Having a doctor tell me that it can only harm my children does a great job of throwing that denial in my face. Not to mention rearing up the ugly head of my old friend, Guilt. "Actually, doctor, I am well aware of how harmful our diet is to my growing children. I just choose to ignore it for my own convenience."

I have plenty of friends who have had to go gluten- or dairy-free due to allergies and some that have had to cut out things like the ever present Red Dye #5 to calm behavior problems in their kids. I've seen the results. You will not convince me that these things don't make a difference. I just can't fathom how they cut everything out like they do. Making one simple change (such as cutting out dairy) changes every other aspect of eating. Yes we can start drinking rice milk--I'm sure we'd get used to it eventually-- but we can't bake with it. And Bubba hardly eats anything that doesn't consist of dairy--usually in the form of cheese. And the old saying that if a kid gets hungry enough he'll eat? That doesn't work with Bubba. I've seen him go 2 1/2 days without eating because he didn't like the food I gave him. (Trust me, you've never seen stubborn until you've had an Autistic kid.)

And if I'm going to admit that milk has too many hormones to be healthy, then I also have to acknowledge the steroids in our chicken and the pesticides on our foods. It is an entire lifestyle change. The alternative is to accept the fact that we are choosing to feed our children things that are bringing on puberty in children who are only 8 and 9 years old and may have a contributing factor in the Autism rate. In light of that it sounds like it should be an easy choice, right? I mean, what kind of mother would I be if I feed this stuff to my kids while admitting that it's toxic? If only it were that simple. I've priced this stuff. I spent 2 months buying it when we had Bubba on a gluten- and dairy-free diet. It is expensive. We're talking 2 to 3 times as much, sometimes more. Money is not something we have a lot of. There is no money for luxuries or extras while buying the cheap, unhealthy foods. How could I afford to double my grocery bill?

And healthy eating requires something else. Cooking. That means all the planning and preparing that I mentioned earlier that drives me to starve rather than go through all the hassle. Somewhere along the line, I lost that domestic gene so prevalent in my mom. While I enjoy baking, I get no pleasure in providing a wholesome, home cooked meal. It only brings me stress.
Which brings up another point. I have enough stress in my life as it is. I make it through my days with a precise balance of junk food and medication. I don't need to throw anything else on top to deal with.

I told myself that the next time I blogged it would be humorous. I realized I spend way too much time dwelling in Eeyoreville and grumbling about life in general and vowed to have a more upbeat post next time. (Did you notice I haven't really blogged on awhile?) But I couldn't let this one go. I am not a sacrificing kind of person. I am selfish and consumed with my own life. And today I was told that giving up dairy would be a huge step in curing my Bell's Palsy. So now I just have to decide how important it is to me. Again, it sounds like an easy decision but just that one suggestion launched tears, frustration, guilt, and this rant. Nothing in my life can ever be simple.

1 comment:

  1. Hon...I know how you mean about trying to cook and find foods that an autistic child will eat....i tried the gluten free dairy free thing and Nick HATED IT...so we just use portion control...and introduce new foods slowly and a little bit at a time...now i love veges and fruits and such, but Nick not so much...so i just slowly started sneaking them onto his plate...and he would try it thinking it was a mistake and now he will eat fresh fruits and some veges...not that im telling you what to do, just offering some advice one mommy type person with an autistic child to another.....you can call or text or message me anytime to rant and all that!!

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