About food: struggling with self-enforced dietary restrictions

As some of you may know, I quite enjoy cooking.

In fact, some people that visit this house quite often have remarked –albeit jokingly – that every time they visit I`ll be in the kitchen, cooking up something. Whether it`s dinner, tea, or preparing lunch for the next day, I spend quite a lot of time in the kitchen. I enjoy experimenting, and I enjoy mixing flavours and textures and seeing what happens (much to the enjoyment of some of my friends, when it turns out I`m trying something completely weird again like strawberry cupcake with Japanese curry sauce. Yes, I went there. I don`t particularly recommend it, though it wasn`t gross either.)

I do think that, my generation specifically -that`s young adults/students/young professionals- horribly underestimates the importance of food. All around me I see people live off of cup noodles, steamed buns (“bapao bread rolls”, as we call them here), and pizza/pasta. And I can`t help but notice those same people are always tired, often miserable, and I just wonder how much more energetic and better they would feel if they`d just eat better. I`m not saying food can solve everything, I`m pretty much living proof of that. But it does help, and to a much larger extent than most people expect.

Still, I personally do struggle with my food quite a lot as well.

For starters, I have a lot of…dietary restrictions, let`s phrase it like that, that make what I can eat slightly complicated. To sum them up quickly: I avoid lactose, chemicals (additives etc), meat and fish, fastfood, and sugar. Most of this I`m pretty used to, and has gotten easy, although I do have times where I just go “OH BLOODY HELL” and go and buy, say, milk and yoghurt desserts and sausages, and I`ll end up with a bloated stomach and a skin that turns horrible (and a mood to compete with it), but overall I do pretty okay most of the time. Admittedly, meat and fish don`t cause me any problems, it`s the other ones that do, but I just don`t really care that much about meat.

Avoiding sugar though, the most recent development in my diet, is the one I`m struggling with the most. Possibly because it`s the newest, and possibly because since I quit smoking last august, I apparently replaced nicotine with sugar and chocolate, and it`s actually harder to get rid of that addiction than it is to get rid of nicotine. It doesn`t help one bit that there seems to be sugar added to just about every product available, and sweets are EVERYWHERE.

When I still smoked, I didn`t even care all that much about sweets and cakes and the like. I`d just kind of shrug, maybe take a bite, and then light up a cigarette and move along my merry way. But since I quit? There`s hardly any stopping me. It`s gained me 5 kilo so far (and counting, because I only seem to gain more weight instead of losing it).

And it sucks big time, because the sugar? Woah does that mess me up big time. If I thought I couldn`t handle lactose well, I never really thought about what sugar does to me. Aside from the sugar rush leaving me unable to concentrate, and leaving me very tired once it runs out, it also messes up my stomach just as much as lactose, it messes up my skin big time (my shoulders especially are a big mess), makes me cranky and gives me an even bigger temper than I already have. And the cravings get real bad as well.

So there`s my newest challenge: getting rid of the sugar in my food. So far I`ve mostly been failing. Even today, while I was doing pretty well yesterday, I apparently just gave up sometime this day and had a waffle, chocolate-chai-latte (with rice milk instead of regular milk), and chocolate-cake-in-a-mug.

But, I guess, tomorrow brings another day. Yet another day with yet another attempt.

We`ll see if I can resist temptation tomorrow, when I have all sorts of snacks within reach for only 50 cents each. Don`t you just love working at a place with a vending machine.

Sigh. Sometimes I wonder what I do to myself. And then I remember how good I feel when I actually manage.

Writing this made me hungry, so please excuse me while I go off in search of food.

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