Coughing so hard, I can hardly breathe. Coughing so hard, I start to feel twinges I shouldn’t. This is what I had in February, and for a while I thought I had the flu. I didn’t. Instead, my body has decided that some foods are not good for me. The baffling thing was the fever. But if my esophagus was inflamed from all the tummy upsets, then a fever would be understandable. I was out sick a second time with the same thing in March. This time my doctor gave me an antacid, which I think helped my esophagus.

But what is triggering all this?

Prior to this, I’d had a lot of overtime work and dinners that were easy solutions, including pizza. I knew that wheat was a problem. I’d been struggling with a red, flaky forehead during Christmas, when I consumed a lot of food made from flour (including my beloved pumpkin pie). When I avoided wheat, the skin irritation went away.

But just avoiding wheat wasn’t enough. I found that eating oats was giving me sinus trouble. So I did a little online research, learned that there are several proteins in the grass family that can be troublesome—not just gluten—and formed a theory: That all grasses had become an issue for me. When reading up on what I then had to avoid, I discovered that I would also have to avoid sugar cane and bamboo. Did not realize that.

So the list is wheat, rye, barley, oat, rice, teff, bamboo, mullet, corn, sugar cane, sorghum, einkorn (spelt), and maybe some others I don’t know of. Not grass or grain: Amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat.

I ate pizza on Thursday, and it took two days to shake the sluggishness, muscle aches and sinus headache completely. Well, that at least confirmed for me that I shouldn’t eat that food. (Probably shouldn’t have had the Irish Coffee, either.)

I tried oats again this morning, adding a couple of spoonfuls of oatmeal to my buckwheat—and was rewarded with one helluva coughing fit, something I didn’t get with just buckwheat.

I now know I have to throw out what’s left of the oatmeal, if only to make sure I don’t fall for the temptation again. But I am reluctant to do that. It’s not just the idea of letting good food go in the trash, either.

I have never had to say “no” to any food before, and a part of me doesn’t want to be one of those people, picking apart a menu to find the one thing that is agreeable to my body and digestion. It means work. It means I have to make an effort, I have to think in a different way. It means I have to just admit and accept that some foods need to be thought of as toxic.

It means a paradigm shift.

The Daily Prompt: Toxic

By Keera Ann Fox

I am a bi-lingual American who has lived most of my life in Norway.
Jeg er en tospråklig amerikaner som har bodd mesteparten av mitt liv i Norge.

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