I have a food hangover this morning.
It is interesting to me that as I age, my body gets more sensitive to things that in the past I could have happily ingested for about a fortnight before noticing any ill effects. I am not just talking about booze. My days as a hard drinking woman are long behind me. Living with an alcoholic (not Jason) for ten years will do that to a woman, despite him getting into sobriety early on. Too many evenings sat in dank church halls listening to people telling their stories has meant that alcohol lost its shine fairly sharpish.
It doesn’t mean I don’t like a glass of wine here and there, or an excellent gin. It just means that drinking until my hair goes numb is not as much fun as it used to be. See also, dealing with small children whilst coping with monumental hangovers.
It’s food that I find tricky these days. Not all foods, which is good as I am a glutton of the first water and nothing excites me more than a full pantry or an invitation to dinner. There are however, a few foods which I now have to eat in moderation. This is something I find tricky. In the Big Blue Book, which is the Alcoholics Anonymous manual there is a line which is etched on my brain. It says ‘Half Measures Availed Us Nothing.’ This is me.
Moderation is not a word that sits comfortably with me. As you know I have my own addictions to wrestle with which means that I am no stranger to excessive behaviours and patterns. Big addictions can be ruinous, but then there are the small obsessions that mirror the big addictions but which are less harmful and which usually fizzle out after a while.
I think back with fondness to the six months I ate as many coconut Boosts as I could afford. Then there was the time when I had chocolate mousse for breakfast every day for a year, or the time I would only eat and drink out of bowls and only use a spoon, just because I could. It seems to be a trait that is common to small children but which I have never quite managed to break.
These days, those crazes and cravings must be tempered because my poor body, which is mostly viewed by me as a vehicle by which to transport my over-active brain around, tends to fight back.
I can no longer eat cheese in the same vast, quantities I used to. If I do, my sinuses wave a white flag of surrender and I end up a congested ball of mucus and screaming head pain. If I eat too much chocolate I get headaches. If I eat too many sweets I get blisters on my tongue and mouth (no more eating an entire pound of foam bananas for me, alas). If I drink too much coffee I get the shakes. If I eat too much bread I get gut ache. Too much milk, again with the snot head (farewell milkshakes, my sweet, sweet love).
It’s lucky that there are so many delicious foods that usually I can fill myself to the brim without feeling that I am going without, and I have managed, over years of training to learn some kind of self control around the foods I love but that increasingly don’t love me. Except for bread, because it is and ever will be, the staff of life and I am completely unable to say no to a warm baguette, or a cottage loaf, or sourdough, or just anything.
There are times however, when even though I know I will feel sad in due course, I allow myself to indulge. I take my lumps and agree with myself that I will not moan and wail because I have a head that consists of 90% dairy related mucus, because I bought it on myself. I allow myself to indulge because these are not cravings that will kill me if I give in to them. These are cravings that will cause me some discomfort, and sometimes some discomfort is an acceptable price to pay for the joy of digging into a wheel of Brillat Savarin (my current cheese obsession) with a spoon, and slathering it onto sourdough and posting it into my mouth until my stays are creaking. It is possible that this joy was augmented by the addition of a very large piece of Yule log and a bucket of coffee at an inappropriate time. It is just possible that this happened.
If this did happen, it is also entirely possible that the feeling that I am coming down with the flu this morning, may not actually be true and might, just might be entirely self-inflicted. It’s hard to say.