Green Bay Packers, IBS, and Eating Habits

One of my Xmas presents to Stephen this year was tickets to a Packers game! Now, I’m a Bears fan through and through- born and raised in Chicago (actually in Brookfield, but if you’re not from Chicago, you’d never know the difference.) I’m not going to lie though, seeing the 2011 Super Bowl Champs during an undefeated season was pretty cool. Not to mention we played the Raiders and SMOKED them. It was such a fun game to go to!

From a healthy perspective (which I randomly lose sometimes- all of my conscious efforts to be health-conscious go right out the window) going to an NFL game, or any game really, is absolute sabotage to  any and all of your efforts to eat clean, healthy foods.

Let me just set the record straight. I come from a Mexican and Puerto Rican family- we like to eat. Our parties and celebrations all revolve around food. I believe that food brings people together. I will just never, ever be able to be that person that brings their own separate plate to Thanksgiving. I will never be able to be the girl that just drinks one little glass of wine once a year on New Years Eve. I will never be able to be the girl that doesn’t drink beer and eat shitty (and delicious) food at Professional Sports Arenas.

Throughout the entire time we were at Lambeau field, I had three beers. Which, in all actuality, is really not THAT bad. After my third beer, I bought a liter of water and chugged it. It was so cold out that I sort of wished the water wasn’t so cold. But it was still delicious. I decided to eat the chicken strip basket and a handful of fries before the game started, and right after halftime, Stephen and I split cheese fries, and he ate nachos. In the car ride home, we stopped for gas and he bought a HUGE bag of popcorn and got me a little bag of Salt and Vinegar chips (he knows me so well).

Granted, it was not the healthiest day by any means, but I definitely could have made matters worse and eaten my weight in nachos, hot dogs, and beer- but I didn’t. I felt extremely lethargic on the ride home- and I knew immediately that it was from all the crap I ate. Know what the feeling is like is almost a good reminder as to why I don’t, and can’t, eat like that every day. When I was in high school and going through a particularly rough and stressful time, the first thing to act up was my stomach and GI tract. I was “diagnosed” with IBS when I was a Junior in high school. I also had slight Lactose-intolerance, and after an endoscopy, it showed that my small intestine and colon were severely inflamed and scarred- most likely due to stress. The scaring was most likely due to past inflammation that healed itself. I was never really a BAD eater, but there are significant difference in the way that I ate when I was in high school and the way that I eat now. For the most part, my stomach doesn’t act up anymore. Lucky for me, I am no longer going through such a stressful time but I also am much more conscious of what I choose to eat- both of these have allowed my stomach and GI tract to be much more pleasant most of the time.

Being at home for any extended period of time stresses me out when it comes to food. My parents have zero concept of health. I could rant about it for days on end, but I’ll spare you (you can thank me later.) Take last night’s dinner for example: I made a pot of lentils. I took half of the lentils out of the pot and made myself Lentil Burgers. (Took the recipe from Mama Pea- so delicious, and you should try it!) When my dad saw it, he immediately made a face that made it perfectly clear that he would not be eating that. Fine. He continued to pull out the chicken and I immediately told him to NOT MAKE ANY FOR ME. Chicken freaks me out to begin with, let alone chicken that is still on the bone and that does not have a label that states that it is “free range, grain-fed, anti-biotic free” chicken. NO THANKS. I just cannot bring myself to eat it. He then proceeded to make a pot of white rice. Again- can’t do it. My parents think that I am absolutely insane and just being a picky diva because I choose not to eat what they eat. Granted, they don’t pressure me into eating whatever it is that they eat- they are just not as supportive as I’d like them to be. I guess it’s selfish, really, for me to expect them to consider my eating habits, but I try to make it work.

For example, last night my dad told me not to eat at my grandparents house because he was making dinner. OK, cool. So when I got home from their house and asked him what he was making for dinner- he said “Pork chops and Mashed Potatoes.” First of all, I don’t remember the last time I willingly ate pork chops. To put it simply- they freak me out. Chicken freaks me out and Pork Chops freak me the hell out. Simple as that. I saw the 2% milk, the full fat sour cream, and the butter out on the counter about to be mixed in with the potatoes and I asked him to set me aside a bowl of the boiled potatoes without anything in them- just plain. I put some of our reduced fat cottage cheese into the food processor until it was creamy and smooth, mixed it in with my potatoes, added Sea Salt, and BOOM- healthier mashed potatoes. The green beans were already beyond repair- smothered in butter- some of them seemed to be less saturated than others- so I grabbed those out of the bowl- added them into my mashed potatoes- and VOILA- dinner was served, but I was not going near that weird looking pork.

It’s going to be tricky moving back in here with my parents and having to duck and dodge around their eating habits- but that’s a strategy that I’ll save for another day.

**I am beyond blessed and am fortunate enough to have the resources to be able to choose the foods I want to eat. I never take it for granted that I have the ability to choose the foods I eat, and yes- be picky enough to prepare my own food the way that I prefer to eat it and skip out on whatever I don’t want to eat because there is never a shortage of food in our house. For this I am eternally thankful. If you would like to help families that are less fortunate and who are in need of food, visit Feeding America, choose your state, and find a local food bank near you.**

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