I Am Not a Foodie

9/07/2014 09:53:00 PM Lexie Dunne 8 Comments

So the truth of the matter is, I get migraines.

I’ve always been prone to headaches. I like darkness and I love reading, and they’re not great things to combine. But back in 2011/2012, I started getting migraines that would knock me out and make life miserable, and I had no idea why. Part of it is that I had a job where I was hauling around hundreds of pounds of merchandise every night, stocking shelves, being on my feet, and generally slimming up, and then I moved to an office job that required sitting for long periods of time. My body didn’t handle it well.

It took a long time, and a lot of headaches, to figure out that I had food sensitivities.

Thankfully not allergic to these.
Me. Food sensitivities. When I’d never even been allergic to anything. Papa Dunne’s allergic to cats, but none of my siblings or I have ever reacted badly to anything. I’d never even suffered seasonal allergies (though I do now). My friend Sabra suggested I might be exhibiting signs of MSG-intolerance, which can manifest in migraines, dizziness, nausea, etc. All symptoms I possessed far too often for my liking.

By playing with my diet, I discovered she was right. My body doesn’t like artificial glutamates, and it doesn’t like tyramines, things found in aged meats and cheeses, red wines (good thing I’m not a wine-drinker), soy sauce, or balsamic vinegar. If I eat any of these things in a greater excess than my body can handle, I get a searing pain over my left eye, dizziness, and I constantly want to throw up.

There’s two problems with being MSG-sensitive:

One, I constantly have “medical professionals” and “food professionals” telling me that this isn’t real. These professionals include the FDA, a body that does not rule it necessary for food manufacturers to definitively identify MSG, and therefore they hide it in words like “modified food starch” and “hydrolyzed yeast extract” and “whey.”

Two, it can be viewed as very racist. I think not liking MSG was once called “Chinese Food Syndrome” or something similar, which is where the racism comes in. And a lot of the lower end Chinese food places DO use MSG. Which makes sense: MSG is a flavor enhancer and for most of the population, it’s not inherently dangerous. It gets people addicted to their food, and they run a good business off of it. But the truth of the matter is, you’ll find MSG in every big restaurant. Little Caeser’s uses it in their sauce. McDonald’s uses it in their Chicken McNuggets. To find out if a restaurant uses it, I usually have to track down an ingredients menu because 9 out of 10 allergen menus will not include MSG information with their soy, wheat, gluten, etc. etc.

Yesterday I woke up with a headache from food I thought was safe. The main side effect was some buzzy pain that comes and goes and the fact that I teared up at everything. I can actually function reasonably well with a headache, provided it’s not too severe. Mama Dunne gets mad at me because when I visit on the weekends, I sometimes choose not to mention I have a headache. Pain medication barely works on it and there’s no reason to make everybody else miserable just because I want to lay on the floor and cry.

(In addition, I do a lot of good writing with a headache, on the principle that writing can be soothing. If you see a short story of about 1500 words from me, you can probably guess I had a headache and I needed something to distract me from the pain. Working on longer stories with a headache is rarer, which has been a problem since these headaches come frequently and I have a new deadline coming up.)

So. This weekend marks a change.

I am becoming a foodie.
I was going to go home and work on my Carol Danvers bag, but it’s a full house at the moment with five people and six dogs living at my parents’, and I need to start affecting some positive change about this food problem. Since fast food is no longer an alternative and my sister can barely boil water (this is not an exaggeration), I stayed home and did a lot of research. And then I hit up the local grocery store.

One of the things I’m doing is learning to prepare freezer meals. Making my own stocks to avoid the MSG-heavy ones you find at the grocery store (you can get the healthy alternatives, but those end up being costlier). Preparing food that’s quick and easy for working days. These are all part of my plans and what I’ve been researching.

Doesn't that look DELICIOUS??
So, currently, just for my own purposes, I’ve baked chicken for chicken salad sandwiches for lunches, made Smitten Kitchen’s chicken broth, attempted and strained a veggie broth, and the granola I made is stored in a Tupperware container on the counter. At some point, I’ll make some Mexican rice for the frozen burritos I’m planning to tackle.

My apartment smells like Thanksgiving at the moment. IT IS HEAVEN.

Needed more salt
Any tips or tricks for me? Going forward, I plan to save bits of chicken pieces and bits of vegetable pieces to make broths. And I’m slowly teaching La Sister how to not burn our apartment down by trying to cook dinner, so that alleviates some of the time necessary to cook. Or find a new place. Except I might have done the latter today. Apartment hunting is haaaaard. *cries*

See you on Wednesday!

Stay sexy.

The broths cooling in my fridge. Yes, my kitchen is lopsided. It's part of the reason for the move.


  1. So...many...vegetables. The horror!

    1. Yeah, right, like you wouldn't be at my apartment every night stealing food—er, I mean getting dinner—if we lived in the same time zone, bucko.

  2. Your granola bars intrigue me. But unfortunately, I am allergic to vegetables. It's true. It's science.

    1. My granola bars are DELICIOUS and I have been sneaking over to the counter periodically to nom away.

      I am allergic to not having enough em dashes. SO THERE.

    2. Yes, but my allergy will kill me, yours will just be a minor (not) inconvenience.

    3. Methinks the beta doth protest a bit much.

  3. I'm sorry I don't have much common sense when it comes to cooking. You, Pa, and Ma were always cooking at home.

  4. I hope your new place has a huge freezer for all this pre-cooking you're doing. That's something I would like to get for our place soon, so I can give our slow cooker a proper workout...


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