More food disappointment

I know I should be better at checking the food labels by now, but in all honesty, I am not. I just really suck at it. I am being honest. I just suck. Now that I have done some more research, I know how badly I suck and it sucks to know that. There I said it, I suck. The part that really stinks about this is that it is mean that suffers. It is not my family, it is me. The problem is that there is so much out there that is bad for me that I cannot seem to wrap my head around it. I am a well educated and well read individual and I cannot seem to grasp it all. It is daunting at best. It makes me want to crawl into the corner under a rock and just hide from it all. I am being brutally honest and baring my deepest food soul right now. I want to run and hide some days because it sucks so bad.

Yesterday was just another reminder. I thought I was doing good, but clearly quick glances down the food labels are no longer safe for me. I will come back to that in a minute.

Since Friday evening I have been suffering the wrath of what feels like a million pigs. It is not an exaggeration, exactly. It all started because I forgot about our dinner engagement Friday night. I remembered about 3:30pm. Give or take. Mostly take. It was probably closer to 4:00pm. I had that “oh crap” moment when I was on the phone with the Relief Society President from our Ward trying to figure out exactly what I was going to be doing at any given minute this week because I am the Memorial Springs Ward Quilting Specialist and well we are quickly approaching the 18th Annual Interfaith Hospitality Network’s Quilting Bee (February 8, 2014) that the Klein Texas Stake hosts, so I am pretty important and the stress in my life is pretty maxed out.

Just so we are clear, I was there when we made the dinner engagement time. I was sitting at the table with the friends. I was there and agreed to the time. I even agreed to call them and let them know what they would bring. The engagement was put on our family shared calendar. I look at the calendar on a regular basis – daily and even multiple times a day. There are even reminders for the events on the calendar. The reminder for this event probably went off two days previous to Friday…so on Wednesday…where I consciously clicked “OK” to the alert and went about my merry way.

However, when you factor in stress and migraines, my brain starts to function a little wonky. See let me give you a few more factors in my life. I am the mother of three children. I have three boys. Two of them are teenagers. The other one is nine. I am a Cub Scout Den Leader (I will come back to that) and anyone who has done this job knows that it is not for the faint of heart and should be taken with a very big heart and a clear calendar. I am also the President of the Klein Oak High School Orchestra Booster Club. That means I am the head honcho – the big cajona – I am pretty important. This does not include my other callings in the church. I hold 4 big named ones and that is a lot of time commitment (aka volunteer work) every week. On top of that, I am a small business owner where people actually pay me to do work – I am a web and graphic designer. It is a hard balance and so somethings just do not balance out. When I say stress is maxed out, I am talking I sit down and I cannot think of anything I want to do except chill out on the couch. I do not want to do anything.

So I forgot about dinner until I was looking at the calendar while I was on the phone with, Becky Morgan, our wonderful Relief Society President talking to her about coordinating more quilting activities to get things done for the Quilting Bee and the phrase “oh crap I still have to make dinner” (or something similar) slipped out of my mouth. She laughed. I was not kidding. She sensed that I was dead serious. So we wrapped up our conversation fairly quickly.

Of course it is Friday and I had not called our friends back and told them what they were supposed to bring to dinner. Heck, I had not decided what we were having for dinner! I was winging it. Fortunately, I had two bags of potatoes on the counter that looked like they might need to be used up, so that plan was cooking real quick in my head. We had baked potatoes for dinner.

Our friends called to ask what they could bring to dinner and my husband told them to bring a dessert or some sort. We had dinner covered as we were doing baked potatoes and we had a big bowl of salad if that was desired. No worries. They obliged.

That is where I fell apart. I love dessert. Who does not love dessert? Now it is hit or miss with dessert, but I still like it.

That being said, I have decided that my issues with pork have gotten worse. After Friday, it is not funny any more. It is downright miserable. They stopped at the store (HEB) and bought a Buttermilk Pie (which I had never had before even though I have lived in the “South” my entire life) and a Cherry Cheesecake. Yummy! After doing research on hidden pork products, I knew that pork would be an issue with “some” store made bakery items. Some store bakeries use lard in their baked goods. It does not matter what the baked good is, they can all be a potential problem. I have been really good about avoiding them in general since learning this. It has been hard, but I have been really strong for the past two months.

Here I was with a problem – dessert and friends. Oh boy, deadly combination. Do not be rude, it is not funny. I was not going to be rude either. The pie looked interesting and the cheesecake…oh! It is cheesecake. I LOVE CHEESECAKE!

So I had a piece of each. I had to try the pie. I had her tell me what was normally in a Buttermilk Pie because I had no idea. It looked like a custard based pie. I did not bother to read any of the labels. Remember it is HIT OR MISS with the store bakeries and I have been okay in the past with things, so why not, right? The pain started, mildly within about 20 minutes. It was not bad, but it started. Then the runny nose started by about 45 minutes. By the time I went to bed I was full blown stuffy head and hurting pretty bad. The bloating started up. I knew I was gone – I was on the road to suffering.

I read the label on the cheesecake. It had to be safe, right? I got down about halfway and there it was “gelatin.” Oh man! It is not even cool! I did not bother to read any further. I saw it all right there. If there was gelatin, I did not want to know if there was “lard” or anything else. I did not bother to read the pie as surely there was “lard” in the pie crust of that. Remember I had a slice of each…I did not need to know what else there was, I knew it was going to be bad if I was already hurting.

The thing that gets me is that I know in the past year I have eaten a store bought pie and been “okay.” Or maybe I was “okay” is a relative term. Relative to how I was feeling at the time. It seems to be that the more that you eliminate from your diet, the worse you react to the smaller amount. Of course the better you feel overall but the worse you feel when you get the “toxin” your body does not like. It is not cool. For me, anything pig based my body considers a “toxin” and my body lets me know immediately…within 20 minutes my body was telling me that I was going to be suffering. That was Friday night and still today I am feeling the pain though not as bad. My stomach is just so raw inside that it still hurts.

Hence the wrath of a million pigs for me tends to be accurate. Unfortunately, this time it was not just “sleeping it off” as the pain lasted very bad for 2 entire days after the fact. My stomach area is still very tender to the touch. I could not even lay on my left side comfortably because it hurt so bad. Now as my body has started to digest it (digestion slows down), my intestines have let me know and the pain has slowly moved through those regions. It is all sorts of fun. Not!

Now that I have confessed to my own stupidity of just not being open about the fact that I could not eat it because a legitimate reason…

A while back I was buying pizzas for the kids to have if I was running late or if I was at Den Meeting and I needed them to start dinner or whatnot. Just to have. Sometimes they just want pizza and I do not always want to make it and I am certainly not going to always order it. So I bought a few frozen pizzas to keep on hand. They have gone through them all by the way. Just as importantly, I was buying myself frozen pizzas to keep on hand because it is easier and cheaper to buy them pizza on a whim than it is to buy me pizza on a whim. Pizza without pork or red sauce is just expensive sometimes and do not tell me to just leave off the sauce and the meat. That’s just cheese and bread and that’s just boring. Even with food issues, I deserve to have something more than bread and cheese. I refuse to give in to flavorless.

Anyway, even in the frozen pizza section finding pizzas without pork, bell peppers, or tomatoes is next to impossible. I thought I was doing good with the stack I had. I was down to the last one. It was a Philly Cheesesteak Pizza. I know. I know. What can you do when you cannot eat certain things? You have to succumb to specialty. I was going to put it in the oven and I was about to open the box when I had this very strong, stop me in my tracks, fingers still under the flap on the box, impression. It was so strong it was practically yelling at me, “stop and read the label.” Of course I did.

I read all the labels in the store, but in the store you are in a hurry especially when you have the kids with you. I was going down the list. I was not seeing anything that I needed to see. I read, “beef tallow” and thought “okay, I am good.” I got the screaming in my head again, “keep reading.” When that screaming comes you listen. So I kept reading. I really do hate reading the labels. The words all start to swim together for me.

But…there it was…”tomato powder.”

How did I miss it? I do not know how I missed it in the store, but I did. With my stomach already torn up inside and sore, this pizza would have been like pouring salt on an open wound. I would have started the suffering all over again.

The disappointing thing is that when I came home from the store with pizzas “for me” that day, I think I came home with 3 different ones. That is all. That narrows it down a little further.

Since I have since found out that the jarred Alfredo Sauces I have been using to make homemade pizzas with contain pork byproducts, I am kind of stuck between a rock and an hard place when it comes to pizza. At least on the quick and easy route. Do not get me wrong, I love making homemade pizza. I just do not like having it take all day long. The problem with Alfredo is it is made with Parmesan Cheese and I have yet to find a kosher one in the stores so even making my own, I am running the risk of being exposed to something pork.

I can honestly tell you that having a pork issue is not fun. I am not having fun with this. I feel like I am running from foods all the time. I am afraid to eat somethings now. I can go to the store and look at certain things and I just walk away because I do not know and I cannot guess anymore. It hurts too much to guess.

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