Monday, December 17, 2012

"Hungry all the time"

Okay, I'm going to change gears. I realize this is a very personal and very selfish whine, but if a person can't whine on their blog, where can they?

I've alluded to being diagnosed with (probably familial; my dad has it, his dad had it, my grandma on the other side had it) hypertension. I take a beta blocker for it, and monitor my blood pressure, but my doctor also recommended I cut back on salt. She said "Aim for no more than 1000 mg a day." ("Normal" people get close to 2500).

Do you know how hard that is? It's hard. It's really hard. Especially if you don't have someone to cook for you, or don't have time to cook much. I can't use ANY convenience foods. It's very hard to find even canned beans that are low enough in sodium to be part of my diet. (Yes, you can cook them from scratch, but that takes lots of advance planning to do - and I'm not so good at advance-planning stuff like that, when I'm so busy otherwise). I can't just go grab a pizza if I'm busy, I can't get deli sandwiches.

I try to eat lots of vegetables (which I mostly hate and I am so sick of frozen green beans right now I could scream) because allegedly they can help lower blood pressure.

I've eaten little meat because frankly the meat in my town sucks. The small local grocery store sells tough steaks - they go the "as little fat as possible" route so it's like eating liver. And the wal-mart - well, I didn't trust their meat before, now I see on the packages it says something like "Enhanced with a proprietary solution" which is essentially a brine. Which means salt. Which means some meat cuts have nearly 500 mg of sodium per serving. Which means I cannot eat them. And of course the wal-mart doesn't give a crap. People who limit sodium are such a limited part of their customer base that they don't bother to carry any limited sodium options - for canned goods, I generally have to drive an hour's round-trip, or mail order them from somewhere. Fish is also out because I live a thousand miles from the ocean, and I HATE catfish and I HATE tilapia.

And I just kind of walk around hungry all the time. (Bread is also mostly out; a lot of commercial bread is high in sodium. And most crackers are out). It's not so much a physical hunger - all the damn vegetables and all their damn fiber sees to that (and also means I'm in the bathroom a couple more times a day than I used to be). It's an EMOTIONAL hunger.

And I don't care what all the stupid psychobabble people want to claim. Food IS  a form of comfort, a form of sensual pleasure. I cannot make it be merely a fuel to keep me going - if that were the case, I'd call up the local prison system and have them send me a few cases of Nutriloaf and just exist on that. But I can't DO that.

I HAVE lost some weight but not as much as you might think - cookies are one of the few things that are lower in sodium, low enough for me to be able to eat a few now and then without feeling like I'm going to destroy my arteries.

But I just want something GOOD. I want some kind of main dish food that I don't have to worry about the sodium in. I wish I could still eat pizza, I wish I could still eat macaroni and cheese. I wish I could walk into a restaurant and order just whatever without considering first the sodium content, or having to ask for their "nutritional information" and pick, not based on what I want, but based on what will do the least damage to me.

I had been eating rice cakes until a relative oh-so-helpfully told me, "I read somewhere that those are kind of high in arsenic." Okay, FINE. EVERYTHING is going to kill me. So I can have arsenic poisoning, or my kidneys and brain shutting down from high blood pressure, or starvation. 

And it sucks. It just sucks. I hate having to be that killjoy that has to ask first "Where are you thinking of going?" when a group of people after church are thinking of going out to eat and they invite me along. I hate having to be that person who takes only a few tiny spoons of things at a potluck, and mainly eats the thing I brought, or stuff like salad that I figure is fairly safe. I hate having to avoid snacks at meetings, even if I'm hungry and really want something.

And you know? This is where stuff like nearly being in a car wreck makes me so nutso - that I've been going through all this crap of being hungry all the time, eating stuff I hate, not eating stuff I love, to try to prevent having a stroke, and that I may wind up having done that for NOTHING because random fate might just kill me instead.

I just want something filling. Something I can cram in my mouth and feel like it's FOOD - not like the slimy little frozen green beans, or the grassy salads, or the mushy sweet potatoes I've been trying to live on. But more than that, I just want to be able to eat without having to worry about every damn bite.

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