The Thursday Thesis - 25/01/2018
It was embarrassing, and my friend was concerned.
My head lolled around and I could barely keep my eyes open, then my words started to shut down...
It was embarrassing, not to mention weird. I wasn’t drunk: I never drink.
But it felt unpleasantly like being drunk – if I remember correctly how that felt.
Incidentally, if you want to know what’s unpleasant about being drunk, ask a glass of water.
But something wasn’t right: something had shut me down.
Think back, Neil...
Two double espressos, cheese on toast, cappuccino to follow lunch... blah, blah, blah.
Nope, nothing sinister in that list, right?
In fact, with all that caffeine rushing through my system, I should have been wired!
But I was nodding and flopping all over the place, struggling to string a sentence together - what the hell was going on?
I remember wondering if I was having a stroke or some life-altering health crisis: that’s how bad it was.
My friend propped me up in my chair and now tells me that my eyes rolled upwards, then closed and I began to snore like a diesel engine idling.
Twenty minutes later I was wide awake and raring to get on with the day.
Two double espressos, cheese on toast, a cappuccino...
It bugged me, the way that only a mystery can bug a restless mind.
It’s happened too often, and I kept thinking about it, asking why I had these episodes, these shutdowns and crashes. I thought back about them, looked for a pattern, a possible reason for the mysterious crashes.
Bread – or more accurately – wheat. It seemed that every single crash had been preceded by some kind of wheat product: a sandwich, a pastry or snack grabbed from the supermarket en route to somewhere.
Now this was bad, bad news for me, because I LOVE bread – especially fresh bread, still warm and aromatic from the golden oven.
I didn’t want to be right, because I wanted to have bread in my life.
Yeah, that’ll do it – “I’ll go wheat-free for a few weeks and see what happens” I thought. “I’ll prove that bread (aaaah, bread....) has NOTHING to do with my crashes. Then I can have as much bread lovely bread as I want and I’ll be absolutely certain that it’s not part of the problem; well, that’s what I thought.
The cravings were the worst – worse than when I stopped drinking alcohol in my twenties. I’d find myself on autopilot in Sainsbury’s in-store bakery, breathing THAT smell in like it was the half-remembered perfume of a love affair, my mouth wet with anticipation, only just able to wrench myself away without a crusty loaf or a bag of Danish.
But the crashes stopped.
What a pisser. The very bread I loved had been knocking me out for how long – months, weeks, years?
Digging deeper into the mystery I heard stories of increasing gluten content in genetically modified
wheat, gluten intolerance and Celiac disease, and all sorts of anecdotal evidence of other people’s experience. That was all very interesting, but nothing very solid that I could point to for sure. So I decided to just go with my gut and trust the evidence that I’d got, first-hand: at least that was reliable.
That was several months ago, and the crashes receded into memory. So – naturally - I did something stupid: I had a huge cheese butty.
If you don’t know what a butty is, you need to get out more.
That crusty butty was so delicious that I had another – then I had a nap in the car because I was too dozy to drive.
I did tell you it was stupid, didn’t I?
Now, here’s the thing – if I’d not tested the daft idea that bread was my problem, I’d still be crashing after breakfast, lunch and dinner, or even just a snack, because wheat is cheap and abundant it finds its way into all sorts of food – especially cheap foods and fast foods.
If you’ve ever fallen into a Carb Coma after lunch, test what you’re eating. Perhaps you’ll find – like me – that the sandwich you think is topping-up your energy levels is flat-lining you instead.
If it works, you can change, but until we test what we are currently doing we are flying blind, guessing and bumbling through the day.
Life’s like that, isn’t it?
© Neil Cowmeadow 2018
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