I think about food a lot. It’s a consequence of having IBS. There are a lot of foods I can’t eat – milk with lactose, fat, seeds, nuts, high fiber plants like celery, beans, or acidic foods like tomato sauce. Those are all things I just cannot digest, so the end consequence if I try is painful and bad.
I am also going through what I hope is a temporary period of extreme sensitivity to smells. All food smells make me nauseated, even appealing smells of foods I love. It took me weeks to ascertain why I kept getting too sick to eat in the time it took to cook. These days, I have to stick to cold dishes.
Nausea isn’t just smells related. Movement can cause it too, even just walking from the kitchen to a chair with my plate. I take most of my meals standing over the kitchen sink, just in case I get violently ill without notice. I’ve discovered that longer meal prep tends to increase the chances I’ll be too sick to finish my food.
I’m not hungry as often as I’d like, and hunger and acid reflux both feel the same to me. It’s hard timing my hungry pains with meal times, or planning ahead for the next hunger. Combined with my dietary restrictions and nausea, it’s really hard to find moments when eating is possible.
Recently I didn’t eat for a week, because the food we had on hand wasn’t suited to my needs. Freezer pizza used to be a staple of meal planning, now I can’t even smell it. The grease and acidic sauce make it impossible, and the last time I tried, I was rewarded with crippling reflux. I would walk to the kitchen, looking in the fridge and pantry, find nothing I could eat, and drink more water instead.
(Continue to part 2)