A word of caution: Some readers may find today’s subject matter too heavy in the TMI department, or even offensive. Read at your own risk.
In all my years of battling my weight, I’ve often entertained two primary fantasies, I mean other than that metabolism transplants were possible:
1. That fat would turn into hair (only on my head, please) and I could just snip it away. I’d gladly donate it to places that made wigs for people who needed hair. You’re welcome.
2. That I could develop such a sudden, severe aversion to sugar- and flour-based foods that I would literally become sick at the thought of eating sweets and carbs.
I know this whole food aversion thing can work. When I was 5 my mother introduced my sisters and me to our first rye bread. For me, eating that piece of rye bread unfortunately coincided with the onset of a stomach virus, which is why, moments later, when I threw up the rye bread, in my mind, it was the rye bread that made me sick. To this day, even the smell of rye bread makes me feel nauseous.
That was one of the last times I had an experience like that. Until this week. I bought some lamb shoulder steaks at the grocery store in the “manager’s special” bins filled with meats that are either approaching their best-sold-by dates or are actually on the date. Yes, my bargain-hunting extends to meat, too. Don’t judge.
The label on the lamb I selected (30 percent off!) said it had been packaged on June 1, and was best-sold by June 5, which was the day I bought it. My lucky day!
I love lamb, and I especially love lamb shoulder steaks, which is one of my best-kept culinary secrets because lamb shoulder steaks have a lot more meat than those cute little – very expensive – lamb chops. And I confess this, even though there are Greeks among you – lamb-eating purists – who will wince when I say this, but I do like mint jelly with my lamb, too. I can’t help it. I just do.
I went home and barbecued the lamb. I cooked it rare – as I like my steak. I ate it with mint jelly. It tasted fine. I did some computer work for a few hours and decided to treat myself with something I almost never do – early bedtime. So by 9:30 p.m. I was showered and under the covers with a book, which I read until I fell asleep.
Life was good. Until it wasn’t.
Food poisoning is the rudest of awakenings, especially at 2 a.m.
Even in my agonized haze, my reptilian brain shouted two words: baaad lamb.
I try to look on the bright side of all things, and during those many, many, many episodes that began in the dark, lasted through sunrise and well into the afternoon, I was just grateful that I wasn’t throwing up, too. Aware of the dangers of dehydration, I drank as much water as I could, but even so, at some point I was as parched as if I’d crawled across a desert. So thirsty. So dry. So miserable. So svelte.
I texted my sister and asked if she could bring some over-the-counter medications, which she delivered, along with ginger ale, and then she promptly skedaddled, as if I had leprosy, because at that point, we were thinking I had something horribly contagious.
The thought of food – or even my beloved morning coffee – made me ill. I drank ginger ale, water and iced tea all day.
Eventually I made my way to my computer where I diagnosed myself via Google: Clostridium perfringens, or you can just call by its informal name, C. perfringens. It’s one of the most common causes of food poisoning, and its bacteria spores may even survive cooking.
Mainly, I slept. I did go outside once, to throw away the leftover lamb in the garbage can. Just looking at the lamb made me queasy.
It’s often said about me that I have difficulty just relaxing, taking it easy, doing nothing. That day, I had no difficulty doing any of those things. I felt so weak, so tired.
By yesterday morning I was feeling almost completely back to normal. Until it came time to make dinner. I was going to make a chicken salad, but my stomach flipped at the sight at the cooked white meat. I threw it away, too, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to make myself eat it. Besides, how did I know I could trust the chicken? After all, I’d bought it the same day as the lamb. (No, even I would NEVER buy discount chicken. Give me some credit.)
So I had a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries for dinner. Better safe …
Today is my weigh-in day at Align Private Training. I’m so excited. I know I will have lost weight.
The trick will be keeping it off. Without the aid of lamb or rye bread.