Honestly. In the almost two years since I’ve given up smoking, my body seems to have become horribly temperamental. I have accepted with what I hope is good grace, my middle-aged body’s inability to do certain things any more – like leaping up steps two at a time without a cacophony of knee clicks and back crunches… or staying up beyond half past ten without succumbing to watery eyed yawns and next morning grumpiness.
No. What grieves me is the never-ending list of foods I appear unable to tolerate, that previously did me no harm whatsoever. Like garlic – raging indigestion. Pickled onions – pretty much the same. Chocolate – this is quite upsetting… a headache and increased tooth sensitivity, but a very special headache of the variety where you feel like ratchets have been inserted at the corners of your eyes and are slowly being tightened with every breath you take. (Should have been a torturer for the Spanish Inquisition, me.)
And of course, there’s cheese. Formerly a favourite, now it is to be avoided the way a vampire avoids garlic… I am aware of all these things and have taken steps to avoid them, even going to the lengths of running past the cheese counter in our local shop.
Things were ticking over nicely – I cut these trigger foods mostly out of my diet as that seemed most practical… I hadn’t accounted for my mother. With ninja-like stealth she surprised me with a cauliflower cheese. I wasn’t aware she was making this dish, but it would take a braver woman than me to tell her I couldn’t possibly eat it. It took me twenty years to tell her I hate Brussels sprouts.
I thought I could handle it. After all, it was more cauliflower than it was cheese. But no. I made it home, but then spent the next twenty four hours in the grip of a cheese-intolerant headache and stomach upset.
So. Beware the cauliflower. It may look innocent enough, but when in combination with cheese, it’s a lethal, incapacitating weapon.