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Breaking up with spinach: a study of grief

I woke up this morning, had breakfast and then fell asleep for six hours. Maybe this means my sleep deficit is fixed? I certainly hope so.

This is all due to what I fear might be a newly developed intolerance to either lentils or quinoa. Four of the six previous nights have been spent lying awake writhing in agony with indigestion and the only thing I can think of that those nights had in common was lentils and quinoa.

This is not outside of the realm of possibility because a few years ago I developed an intolerance to spinach that gave me the same symptoms. I had never previously had a problem with it but it suddenly started making me violently ill.

The worst part of suspecting that you’ve suddenly become allergic to something you eat all the time is that the process of coming to terms with it is difficult. I find it takes several steps:

Recognition
If it’s something that you commonly eat then it’s going to take a while to recognize that you ate it every time you were sick. You’ll pass feeling ill off as being under the weather, or food poisoning or having a bit of a bug, so you’ll keep eating it and feeling bad for a long time.

Denial
Spinach? Really? No, there’s no way it’s spinach. Spinach is good for you! Who ever heard of a spinach intolerance? You do a google search that seems to confirm the fact that this is a crazy idea. You eat a lot of spinach figuring that if you just suck it up it will go away.

Anger
You find yourself asking why. Why spinach? Why couldn’t it have been something you don’t like eating? A spinach allergy is so stupid! No one’s going to believe you if you tell them you’re allergic to spinach! You get pissed off that it makes you feel so sick and that you can’t sleep because of it.

Bargaining
You start asking yourself what if? What if you try your spinach salad with a different dressing? What if you put it into the blender? Maybe organic would be better? What if you only have like five leaves on your salad and you mix them in with other stuff so you can’t see them? You will experiment with many ways to eat spinach and suffer the consequences.

Depression
You realize that you’re going to have to make some changes in your life and it saddens you. You will never eat that awesome hot tuna salad from the Red Onion ever again.

Acceptance
You give up eating spinach. You begin to avoid it in your daily life, asking at restaurants if the house greens have spinach in them. You spend a lot of time at the grocery store surveying the baskets of mixed greens, trying to decide if you should risk it and then you probably won’t.

In all likelihood it’s probably stress that is making my body reject half the food I put into it. But until this is confirmed, I’m in denial.

One Response to “Breaking up with spinach: a study of grief”

  1. Anne Says:

    I just found out that I’m allergic to spinach! I couldn’t believe it. I had eaten a spinach salad for lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon feeling really ill and I also had the creepy-crawlies, itching like crazy. Bummer! I now have to ask if any salad has spinach in it. I feel ridiculous!

    I feel your pain!

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