Food Challenge Round 36 & 37: Cindy vs. Balsamic Vinegar & Tequila

I promise, I don’t drink that much. Even though 5 of my 37 challenges have involved alcoholic beverages, I promise I don’t drink that much.

I just…I know I’m not really allergic to alcohol, and I’m too scared to try food. The almonds were so painful, and then I followed that up two weeks later with a restaurant experience gone wrong (will try to share when I feel fully emotionally healed), and I needed to just try things that felt safe so my body could continue to heal while I also increase my diet.

So I tried balsamic vinegar first. I had intended to eat it on peppers, but on the insistence of the nurse, I ate it plain. Dipped my pinky finger in it and licked it plain. Like it was Passover and I was dipping my finger in the wine for the plagues. 1. It was gross. 2. It was seriously gross. 3. My doctor was cracking up and finally realized why people like instagram (no, he didn’t instagram me, but he thought it would make a good moment. Further no, I still don’t get instagram). 4. I passed!

I asked if that meant I could have sulfites. I mean, seriously. Beer, rum, two kinds of wine, and vinegar — who are we kidding, I can have sulfites. Just because once some grape juice kicked my ass doesn’t mean I’m reactive to sulfites. So the doctor said I could try one more alcohol and be cleared for all sulfite beverages…meaning all wines…yes!

Hence, the tequila.

I had never done a tequila shot before. My tequila was strictly reserved for margaritas and on screen via Meredith Grey. But, apparently, challenging a margarita could yield incorrect results as who knows if the margarita ingredients were the issue, so, a shot it was. And not a shot with salt and lime. Just plain ol’ tequila.

At 7:30am.

Which I thought would be horrifying.

Turns out it was perfectly pleasant.

Please note again, I don’t drink that much.

But damn. Tequila is way better than vodka. It hits you hard. It’s lighter than I expected. I could drink it again. And I will. Because I passed. So now…all wines!

I’ll still favor cabernet sauvignon. It’s been a good friend and it’s delicious. But not having to worry every Shabbat that I’ll miss out on kiddush, the blessing over wine, because I’m at a dinner where the wine served isn’t cab sav — that’s a weight lifted off my shoulders. It’s hard to explain how happy I am, how relieved, how normal I feel now.

Who knew a tequila shot could be so strong?

Food Challenge Tally

Cindy: 27

Allergens: 4

5 responses

  1. So good to see that tally change. Mine has gone the other way this week. Right now we’re at Karen: 3 (plain milk, sugar, maple syrup) Allergies: everything else. Was there a point you were at 3? What did you do? I think I’m going to have to find an elemental formula- I just don’t know where to turn…

    • Karen, I totally sympathize with you! that sounds like a really intense diet. It’s hard. I was never at 3, but I was at very few foods for about three months, could only repeat the same foods three times a week, and could only flavor my food with salt, pepper, sugar, and brown sugar. I was very hungry, tired, dizzy, and irritable because I was averaging about 700 calories a day, 900 on days I ate things like lamb or duck skin doused in oil.

      I would talk to your doctor about things you can do to make sure you’re eating. Something that helped me was turning to foods I tested okay for but had never eaten — like pineapple, teff, millet. I could have squash so I just ate different types of squash every day — there are a ton of varieties, which I hadn’t realized. I don’t know if something like going to a speciality food store or co-op where they sell special products is something you can do with your situation, but if it is, I recommend it.

      Emotionally, though, it’s harder. Eating is a human behaviour that is so taken for granted, and if you can’t do it it gets exhausting. Know you’re not alone. It’s okay to cry about it sometimes, but generally, think about all the things you do that aren’t eating. Your life can be fuller than three meals a day. And when it feels like it isn’t, know there are people out there who understand, who are hoping along with you for a cure, for better science, for an easier lifestyle. You aren’t alone.

      Best of luck!

      • Cindy- somehow I missed your response until now- I was poking around in a different window when I saw this! Thanks so much fir your supportive words. As you know, things went downhill from there- I’m now at zero ‘real’ foods, but actually feeling MUCH better. I have discovered that if I go over about 1000 calories of the Neocate in a day I get a reaction, but that’s WAY better than nothing! Fortunately, I could use to loose a lot of weight, so 1000 calories is ok for me for several months, although it’s not a great way to loose weight, it’s the one time hen having a lot of extra weight is helpful! You’re so right about life being centered around food. I was fine when I was in the hospital, but WOW, is it hard now that I’m home. Watching TV is the worst- ads for Hamburgers, brutal.. I have a plan for re- introducing foods, starting with things I am guessing I’m not ‘allergic’ to, but reacted to when my body was hypersensitive. I’ll have to make it a rotation diet (I think that was my mistake before- I would eat one thing every day until it wasn’t okay then I’d move onto the next food. I’m also going to try the low- histamine diet that is suggested on the Canadian Mastosytosis Society’s we page. Fingers crossed!

        Oh, and I’m very lucky to have a few specialty food shops near me. I live in an affluent part of Vancouver BC, and if nothing else, folks from BC like their organic and heirloom foods! We have the organic supermarkets near us, and most if the’regular’ grocery stores have a lot of organic and non-GMO foods. I couldn’t believe it the last time I went to Toronto; I was surprised at how different it was there.
        I love your point about squash-it was one of the first my daughter could do- cucumbers and zucchini are in the same family, too! Have you ever cooked cucumbers? Nice for variety! Oh, and do you have spaghetti squash- it really works if you MUST have pasta but can’t.

        Thanks again for the encouraging words. Knowing others who are facing similar challenges makes it SO much easier.


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