You compl-eat me

I’ve just started looking after a new Director at work. She arrived on Monday; preceded into the office last week by a handover list from a previous PA, including the Director’s food allergies and intolerances. (My official new work buddy doesn’t start work until the middle of August; but as we’re playing musical chairs at work, I am looking after this new one two-days a week as well).

Before starting one of my roles, I can remember being nervous as I tried to work out what to take to the office for lunch. Having got another office used to what I ate, or didn’t, the idea of breaking-in new colleagues filled me with dread. The couple I was living with; Mon Bears, said not to worry – I was working in Reading, nothing would be unusual. As usual, they were right. People in my new office didn’t bat an eyelid at what I had in my packed lunch. It was actually the easiest food transition I had.

It was also the office with the greatest fridge policy bar none of everywhere I’ve worked: if it was in the fridge on Friday nights, it got binned. The fridges on every floor in the building were spotless because of it. Bliss. I’ve never understood how can you forget you have food with you? I’ve never understood how people think a festering mess of slimy stuff is always someone else’s problem to deal with either, but there we go.

This was back in the oughties, when being gluten free was seen as a fad. I didn’t have a coeliac diagnosis; but every so often, I collected bread from the chemist on prescription and paid a small fortune for doing so. I had got an IBS diagnosis, but only after a locum GP listened to the issues I’d been having; then looked back at how many visits I’d had with ‘stomach virus’ and V&D symptoms over the previous few years. I was prescribed a medicine I had to take 20 minutes before I ate. It stimulated my entire digestive system to rhythmically contract like it’s supposed to, instead of fluttering, as it was wont to do.

I love the variety of gluten free food we have now, but having gone vegan a few times in my life, I can categorically say that being gluten free is far, far harder. How many replacement foods for meat dishes that would be an easy swap-out, like ham, sausages, mince and so on, have gluten or other grain proteins in to bulk them out? Most of them.

Anyhoo, I digress. How great it is that us peeps that have issues with food can share those issues and now be listened to. I’m not saying it isn’t an issue to eat out, it can be; but doing the high-protein, low carb thing (to help balance out my hormone pathway by avoiding glucose / insulin crashes) means steak, salad, cheese for dinners out with friends. Hardly a hardship.

I wish I could go back to that anxious girl venturing out on a brave new world and tell her it will be alright in the end. That’s what I’m telling myself now. I’ve had a bit of a wibble in the anxiety stakes; I am feeling better already, but it was enough of a wibble to make me think it was bigger than I could cope with on my own.

I’m getting better at the self-care thing. Wherever you are today, take five minutes to check in with you. How are you doing?

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