Over the last few years Wolf and I have worked hard to clean up our diets. Eliminating processed foods has been the primary method which this cleansing has taken place. The gap has to be filled with CSA and farmers market foods. These foods taste and look better than anything that comes out of a box.
There have been waxes and wanes with the elimination process. Sometimes it has to do with money, sometimes it’s availability. If one were to make a chart of the foods we eat it wouldn’t have steep peaks and valleys like the Rocky Mountains. Rather, the chart would have more rounded and shallow peaks and valleys like the Appalachian Mountains Wolf and I live in.
Time has much to do with our eating choices. Now that I’m working in Boston and Wolf is working a second job, time to cook good food hasn’t been too abundant. I find myself eating out a lot while at work. I try to make the best choices possible. For instance, I don’t eat the fast food that’s available all around Downtown Crossing. Rather, I’ll choose a restaurant and have a meal.
Monday I chose to eat at a Tex-Mex place in Downtown Crossing. I’d been there once before. The portions are large (too large actually) and the service is great. The food isn’t fab but the prices are cheap. I got a quesadilla and got Wolf a burrito. I ate half the quesadilla and saved the rest for breakfast on Wednesday.
Tuesday morning I ate the quesadilla. Shortly there after I started feeling terrible. Not physically terrible but emotionally terrible. My demons came out in full force. I started getting really, really depressed. Then angry. Then I wanted to cry. I felt like a failure and a loser and that every decision I’d ever made throughout my life was wrong. I felt like I had no friends, that everyone hated me, and that Wolf would leave me and I’d be alone for the rest of my life. My worst fear just kept playing over and over in my head like a broken record: dead for months. My body half eaten by my cats. No one knew I was dead because I’d never made any connections.
Wednesday (yesterday) I was feeling the same only the negative feelings were abating a bit. And as it abated, a part of my brain said “something is wrong. These feelings are too much.” My rational brain was realizing the emotional side was taking over for no apparent reason. Certainly I’ve felt that before but usually there was a reason, or a bunch of reasons. This time it felt different. And then I realized: it was the food. There was something in the cheese or the tortilla, some chemical, that my brain reacted to negatively.
I called Wolf and he said the burrito was gross and asked me not to buy from there again. I told him what happened and how I’d been feeling over the last couple days. I also told him I’d eaten some of the chickpea tagine he made and, by doing so, I felt a lot better but still not 100%.
What this episode proves to me is how much my brain, my emotional and physical health, is affected by the food I eat. My body, my brain, is becoming less and less tolerant of processed foods and of chemicals in general. It explains my childhood of hyperactivity and depression. It explains my teens when I was a complete mess emotionally and physically. It shines light onto my 20s and how most of what I consumed left me intoxicated because I couldn’t cope with what was going on around me.
It’s been a long slow process of eliminating foods that have detrimental effects on me. Sure I wax and wane but each time I “fail” and eat something the binge-monster wants my brain and body say “No No No” and I learn for the next time what NOT to eat.
I was putting this all together when I read this post over at The Modern Gal. Her words helped me realize my demons were awoken by bad food. Maybe the same is true for her and you.