A life without hot peppers? How will I survive?

I dreamed about pastries last night. Éclairés, mainly, but others as well.

My dream had me in Quincy Market in downtown Boston. Not in the center hallway, but in one of the hallways just outside the building, where there are always dozens of carts selling a variety of wares.

I stood in front of a stand that sold pastries, knowing there was another of the same just behind me and still another just ahead. I planned to buy multiple tasty treats at them all.

I wasn’t buying food for a gathering. I was buying it for myself. Not to eat all at once, but I was in town for a few days and I knew I could make my way through my stash gradually.

Gradually, and secretly. I planned to squirrel my pastries away in my hotel room as if they were contraband and eat them alongside a hearty serving of shame and self-loathing.

It was a dream, but it’s one that gives voice to a desire. In my real life, I’ve been very good at controlling my food intake, thanks to the Macro Diet and MyFitnessPal. (What I’ve Learned from Two Weeks Using MyFitnessPal)

My weight has bounced around a little, as weight will do, but there is a definitive trend line pointing downwards. After seven weeks I have lost seven pounds, and everything I’m doing feels appropriate and sustainable.

Except for this week.

This week, I’ve been wanting to Eat with a capital E. Not eat controlled portions of healthy food. Sit down and eat until I’m fit to burst. (Binge Eating)

I believe it started when I realized it might behoove me to try to avoid tomatoes. (Seasonal Sinus Headaches: Possible Pattern Recognition)

It’s been over a week since I cut tomatoes from my diet, and it’s working for me. The unbelievable fatigue I was suffering has lifted. The sinus headache is still there, as it always is, but has returned to normal levels of irritating rather than being unbearable. More importantly, it feels my immune system is back on track and as though I’m unlikely to get any worse.

The downside of all this is I’m suddenly unable to think of anything other than the most ridiculously massive plate of pasta with Bolognese sauce the world has ever seen.

I wants it.

Gluten, dairy, sugar… I’ve kept these to a minimum for years and don’t think of it as a hardship. Adding tomatoes alone to the mix of “do not eat” foods might not be terribly hard.

But my sensitivity is unlikely to be limited to tomatoes.

It’s far more likely that I have issues with all nightshades.

I’ve had chronic fatigue issues my whole life. Combined with being introverted, anxious, depressed, and having ADHD, I haven’t had an easy go of it.

Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Most of the time I’m able to be grateful for the support I had and appreciate that my life is pretty good. There’s little reason to whine.

I whine anyway.

Nightshades include tomatoes, eggplant, white potato, curry, bell pepper, and many other things as well.

I already knew tomatoes kind of bothered me and half-heartedly tried to avoid them. I crave eggplant for a while every spring/early summer, but once that craving is satisfied I don’t think of it much. I don’t have white potatoes often simply because of the carb content. And I’m not a huge fan of curry and positively hate bell pepper.

You know what else is a nightshade, though?

Hot peppers.

Avoiding nightshades means no chili powder, cayenne, crushed red pepper, hot sauce…

Dear gods, I don’t know how I’m going to survive.

I went to a naturopath once who said she’d noticed a trend in her patients, where a food item someone loved the most was often the item they would later learn they had a sensitivity to.

She said it in the context of a conversation about eggs. I love eggs, but not to the degree she seemed to think I did, and I never did try eliminating them for some period to see if they were problematic. I could, though. I’d figure things out somehow.

But hot peppers… When I saw hot peppers on the list of nightshades, my whole body recoiled in horror away from my computer screen. And suddenly, I remembered that naturopath and what she had said.

Still, I’m going to attempt a few weeks or so without any nightshades.

A few weeks without spicy foods might…

I don’t know what a few weeks without spicy food will do to me. When I try to imagine it, I see a world without color or life. It’s just a deserted wasteland of bland, boring food.

Unghhh why must it be hot peppers that might be causing my physical ailments? Of all food stuffs, why those???

I’m dealing with this and giving it a try because I think it’s a good idea. It’s a struggle, though, to not bury my emotions in food and to maintain the good habits I’ve been forming recently even though I’m frustrated and annoyed right now.

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