My mother tells me she craved and ate a toasted tomato sandwich while she was in labour with me. Which explains a lot.
I never could convince my husband that a tomato sandwich qualifies as a meal. Or even as a sandwich, for that matter. He figures tomato slices are merely a nice bonus to the required meat, cheese, pickle, and perhaps lettuce.
But this time of year, I could live on toasted tomato sandwiches…if only I could. If only I hadn’t developed what we believe is Interstitial Cystitis (a hard-to-diagnose chronic condition I wrote about last winter) which causes serious pain if I eat tomatoes (and a long list of other things containing acid or potassium or caffeine or alcohol or hot spices or too much salt).
In May, I enjoyed an exceptionally good month with no pain and lots of energy. I believed God had healed me. I even planted tomatoes, certain I’d be enjoying them in August. Alas, the pain returned in June (and yes, this is challenging my faith but I’ll write about that another time) and now I must be more hyper-vigilant than ever about what goes into this body. Tomatoes trigger far more grief than all their deliciousness is worth.
It kinda breaks my heart. If I could remove one food from my long verboten list, I’d pick tomatoes. (Even before chocolate, which is saying a lot!) It’s just that eliminating tomatoes eliminates so many of our all-time favorite meals: spaghetti, lasagna, pizza, chili, tacos, and most of the soups I used to make. I hardly know how to cook without tomatoes!
But thanks to my optimistic planting spree last spring, I’m now picking gorgeous red tomatoes, slicing them for hubby, and giving them away daily. It might seem stupid to line them up on my windowsill where I can only lust for them while I wash dishes, but it’s a short season and I’ll survive it. Doesn’t mean I can’t throw a little pity party now and then, though. Is once a day too often?
I’m not sure what’s more difficult: the sadness of not being able to eat what others around me can eat, or the guilt induced by feeling sorry for myself. The dialogue between my whiney self and my conscience sounds like this:
Conscience: The nerve! How dare you feel sorry for yourself when there is such an abundance of food you can eat? When food is so readily available? When you have a job to pay for that food? When you own a car to bring it home in, a fridge to store it in, and a stove to cook it on?
Whiney: I know, I know. But—
Conscience: You should be thankful, thankful, thankful.
Whiney: I am! But still. It sucks.
Conscience: Zip it, ya big baby.
Whiney: You’re right. I’m scum. Scummier than scum.
Can you relate? Are there good, healthy things you can’t enjoy that make life seem stinking unfair? And when you allow it to bum you out, does your conscience scold you? Have you come to terms with it? How do you live with it, or should I say, without it? I’d love to hear from you.