When Comfort and Enjoyment Turns to Poison and Pain

I thought it all was happening because I am aging. It started with pain in the bottom of my feet, weight gain, depression, exhaustion. Some mornings I would climb out of bed and as soon as my feet hit the floor the pain would radiate making me walk as if I was a very old arthritic person.

A wise friend of mine, suggested the link between food and inflammation, and I researched and read. There is unlimited amounts of research on foods that cause inflammation. But “really” was it true or just another bunch of crud.

When I stop and think back and remember the happiest times in my life, they included food. Helping grandma make homemade bread from scratch when I needed to pull up a chair just to reach the table. Begging for “piggies” (little triangles of dough grandma would cut off for us kids to gobble down). Cookies and tea whenever people would pop in. Huge Christmas/ Easter/ Thanksgiving gatherings filled with every delectable delight imaginable. Cooking for weeks before the events in preparation for the day. Or birthdays indulging in the local Chinese Restaurants delights. Food such a huge part of the joy of life.

I was raised in a day and age where you “ate what was in front of you”, you “didn’t leave the table till your plate was clean”, and “leftovers were completely consumed as there are starving people in the world, so we don’t waste food here”. “Money doesn’t grow on trees, neither does meat and potatoes.” Don’t get me wrong, society today in North America wastes enough food on a given day to feed the entire world a decent meal (in my opinion).

What if we have it wrong though? What if the social interaction without all the”goodies” is what we should be craving? What if we should be seriously considering the role of food as fuel for our bodies, and as a way to good health foremost to any other “secondary” thing? What if we have been shaping unhealthy, detrimental relationships to food for generations?

Within my own family a series of serious food in-tolerances has been appearing, complicating the relationship with food. My uncle and brother have celiac disease, my oldest daugther started breaking out in hives probably from MSG and had digestive issues that could be linked to celiac, one daughter is allergic to dairy/lactose, my youngest is allergic to food colourings.

From my research I found that that wheat allergy, and probably processed sugar, could be a culprit causing the inflammation in the bottom of my feet. But bread, so easy, so good, so much of my life, not to mention pasta…I love pasta.

After much internal debate, I choose to go gluten free, just as test. Sure enough my feet started feeling better. The swollen painful sensation on the pads of my feet was disappearing. The scale started going down instead of up. My mood and energy level started improving. Wow, there was something to this!

Then I slipped, the cravings for toast and pasta hit me like a tonne of bricks. I wanted it, I needed it, I deserved it! The research was just a bunch of “bull patties” anyway right. So back I went onto my old diet of pasta for dinner, and toast for snacks.

Depression took no time to set in, my energy was sapped. How can one move around when you have constant pain in the bottoms of your feet?

Lord have mercy, for me giving up bread, cakes, pasta, cookies, is a struggle harder for then giving up cigarettes was. The psychological link to pleasure of these items is deeply ingrained in ME, “a normal, rational, intelligent human.”

Again, I have started training to eliminate the addiction to wheat based products from my life. I am on about day seven. My mood has improved, I barely hobble, my energy is going up.

This experience has left me with many questions, and lines for research, on societies relationship to food, and health. Are we paying close enough attention to the impact food has on us, emotionally and physically? It’s time to pay attention as our population ages, and our food processes change. It’s time to listen to our bodies, minds, and souls!