Today I’d like to ask you my faithful reader to envision your favorite food. Perhaps it is something made by a mother or grandmother? A dish that even the smell makes you weak in the knees? Now I’d like you to imagine not eating those foods anymore, ever? No exceptions, no holidays, no special treats. Then I’d like you to make this change in a little over a month.
Welcome to my world! As I’ve discussed in previous posts on January 31st I was diagnosed with PCOS and put on a strict low glycemic diet by my endocrinologist. The reason why I have to be so strict right now is I am taking a powerful insulin lowering medication called metformin- 2,000 mg a day. Some people can’t take metformin at all, or take a year to get to my dosage, so my progress is actually great, but there are side effects- particularly if I mess up and eat a simple carb or sugar. (I also take an array of supplements and other medications to help with a wide range of symptoms. I’m like an old woman with medicine right now!)
I have learned the hard way that eating any sugar with metformin is no fun resulting in light headedness, sudden fatigue, nauseousness, etc. Even food without carbohydrates but with sugar listed as an ingredient seem to make me sick. Artificial sweeteners also cause an even more poignant reaction so they are out.
On the plus side, when I get the eating right, I feel great! In fact, I feel better than I ever have in my life. I also am confident I’m on the right track insulin-wise, and am losing weight at a rapid rate. It took me nearly a year to lose 35 lbs and since 01/31/11 I have lost nearly 15 lbs- almost half of the weight it took me a year of grueling work to lose, lost in one month! That certainly puts a smile on my face!
The one benefit of the strong medicine is the fear of an episode has made otherwise tempting food less appealing. (I can imagine its kind of like the pills they give alcoholics which makes them throw up when they drink. Having such an unpleasant response makes it easier to stay on the straight and narrow!).
However, there are foods I miss. It seems like everyday I discover a food I can no longer eat (or at least can’t eat for the several years I’m on the metformin). Even foods I thought were healthy I am learning are not good for my body. For example, tofu is high on the glycemic index (it makes sense when you think about it- its a highly processed food!). Soy in general is not the miracle food I once believed it to be!
On Saturday we had a family function and everyone was very accommodating but it was difficult. They had some of my favorite things including mashed potatoes, fried chicken, baked beans and pie (including lemon meringue pie, my birthday pie). I brought some of my own salads, coconut milk ice cream, and my uncle made roasted chicken but that’s all I could eat.
Honestly looking down at my empty plate of salad and chicken felt a little sad. The hardest part is feeling like I am missing out on a full experience- food is such a rich and interesting part of life. It’s a way of understanding cultures and bonding with friends/family. Most of my special memories involve some type of food. Giving up all those moments is hard.
Oh well! I suppose I will have to figure out new ways to achieve the same memories. It’s just food after all (or so I keep telling myself).
What food would you miss the most? If any of you have gone through similar changes I’d love to hear how you cope/transition? I’d also be curious for low glycemic recipes/suggestions (particularly for desert and breakfast). Thanks in advance.