Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gastronomical Challenges

For those of you who follow one of the MS diets:  Best Bet, Swank, Recovery diet, or any version of these, you will understand where today's blog is coming from.  For those of you who can basically eat what you want...I cannot repeat what I am thinking!

I have been following for the past 3 years, what many would consider, a restrictive diet.  Basically I do not eat any foods containing: gluten, dairy, eggs, corn or soy, limit my sugar intake to almost nil, and keep my saturated fat intake to under 15g/day.  Oh, and I try to eliminate yeast, which up until now, hasn't been that difficult, but as you will discover, is causing me some 'issues'.

And for the most part, I have been very good at staying 'on the wagon', but I would be lying if I said I never fell off...occasionally.  I have the occasional bite or sip of forbidden food...and I usually end up paying for it in the form of worsening symptoms the following day.

Okay...so here I am in Germany...and the southern part (Bavaria) to boot; where it seems that all the people do is sit, eat, and drink...hike up a few mountains, sit, eat, and drink...hike down a few mountains, sit, eat, and drink...well, you get the picture.  Hey, I can sit, eat, and drink with the best of them...as long as it's something I can eat and something I can drink.

And therein lies the challenge!  I knew before I left on this trip that  my willpower would be put to the test...so, being the proactive person that I believe myself to be, I packed half my suitcase full of the essentials:   2 packages of creamy rice cereal, 5 boxes of Sesame Rice snacks, a huge bag of almonds, agave syrup, 50 teabags of my jasmine green tea, and a large container of freshly ground flaxseed.  These, along with my vitamins and supplements, literally filled my 27" luggage case half full leaving barely enough space for my clothes and other essentials and probably accounting for three-quarters of the allotted 23kg weight limit.

Breakfast is the most challenging meal when I am away from home...hence the creamy rice, agave, and flaxseed.  But do you know how hard it is to sit at a table where your uncle has just brought back freshly baked (that morning) buns and breads that are sitting nestled warmly in the blue checkered basket, with that slight yeasty aroma wafting tantalizingly under your nose???? Or how about the fresh from-the-cow, creamy, no-skim-here milk that sits so deliciously in front of you???Or the creamy fresh butter that you know was probably also as fresh from the cow as it could be??? If I was a dog, I would have a pool of saliva in front of me and my mouth dripping with it as well! Oh, how I miss bread, but I have been stoic in my resolve not to succumb to the tempting aromas of the breakfast table.  Score one for me!

Lunch in Bavaria is usually like dinner in Canada.  This is the main meal and for the most part I have been able to eat much of what has been put on the table...except that with this meal comes the obligatory beverage of choice...beer...or some form of beer.  Most beer is made with wheat or barley, water, and malt or yeast.  So for the most part I can say no, because I automatically refuse anything that has wheat in it.  However, in this particular area of Germany, they are masters at brewing a special kind of beer made with hops.  And most breweries in Germany follow the rule of 1512,  which states that beer can only have hops, water, and yeast.  That's it!...How much more natural can you get!?!?! And so I am thinking that since I have never ingested hops, there's a good chance I'm able to eat it.  Well, the beer is called M√ľnchener Hell (appropriate name, don't ya think?) and it is good.  The kind of good that could turn a water/tea drinking middle aged woman into a beer-swigging drunk overnight! I'm a little concerned about the amount of yeast that is in the beer, but I convince myself that "I probably don't really have a sensitivity to yeast, anyways" ...yeah, right.  Well, after three days of consuming more beer than I have probably consumed in 3...no, make that 13 years...I have come to the conclusion that perhaps I need to cut out the Munchener Hell for a while because it might be contributing to the hell my feet and legs are experiencing at this moment?!

But, then again, I did have that shot of Hazelnut Scnapps last night...and maybe I should have said no when they offered me "Sex on the Beach?  Then again, maybe it isn't even the beverages??  Because I did have 8 pieces of that lovely Rittersport milk chocolate bar just before bed time...oh, and I forgot about the apple streusel cake we had at that lovely cafe downtown...although I was good and didn't eat the streusel!  It couldn't have been the couple of large licks/bites I took of my brother's gelato?!...is there milk in gelato??? Hmmmm....score 1 for the food. :(

Dinner, which is lunch in Bavaria, is probably the second hardest meal to be 'good' with.  Typically it consists of bread (verboten), cheese (verboten), an assortment of cold cuts and sausages (potentially verboten) and sometimes, some sort of pickled vegetable (most likely NICHT verboten) and of course, beer (self verboten).  So I dutifully bring out my rice crackers and the cucumbers, which I had the foresight to buy at the market down the road...along with the sugar free Gummi bears and "natural" potato chips.  I eat the cold cuts and sausage because they are VERY tasty,  and aside from what I am sure will account for my entire daily allotment of saturated fat, are made with all natural ingredients.  I am currently declining the beverage of choice, and instead opt for mineral water.  Score 1 for me...I think?

I have never felt so challenged by food  as I am on this trip! And as I keep repeating my mantra over and over, "food is meant to sustain life...if it tastes good, its a bonus" I can't help but realize that my 5 boxes of rice crackers and bag of almonds are gone, which means tomorrow I'm on a hunt to find my 'sin-free' food.  Wish me luck!

1 comment :

  1. Hey Monica,
    You have great will power and stamina. You are way up there with my idol, Mary Poppins (practically perfect in every way:) ) Good luck in your quest for food. Perhaps you will come across something new, tasty AND sin-free. One always hopes. I look forward to reading about the rest of your journey when I am near a computer.
    Sue

    ReplyDelete