Boy, have I been feeling the pain of joy the past couple of days.
Not being a physician, I can't diagnose what causes my stomach to seize up and my fingers to swell, but I blame what most people blame: It must have been something I ate.
"Somethings" would be more like it. The problem, to my mind, is not any one thing in particular but rather eating too much, eating too richly, and eating too . . . spicy.
Ugh, does the spicy ever get to me. Don't get me wrong. I long enjoyed hot foods: buffalo chicken, salsa, red pepper flakes on spaghetti sauce . . . but these days, spicy doesn't get along with me.
Did I mention I'm only 26?
Enough about my particular issues. What is a good plan for facing down the platters of abundant, fatty, highly seasoned (gurgle) foods so prevalent during the holidays?
1. Eat healthy, plant-based foods as much as possible. When not at a celebratory feast or experiencing the grueling recovery (when I can't stomach anything that isn't very bland), I need to stick with the fruits and vegetables that make my body feel nourished.
2. Eat sparingly. Well, at least try to keep away from that stuffed feeling. I found this strategy didn't do me much good at our election-night party, but again, that's because I chose to indulge in the foods that I know irritate my stomach as well as just generally rich foods. So . . .
3. Avoid known enemies. Good bye, chiles, cayenne, raw garlic, and red pepper flakes. So long, heavily salted foods. My hands won't miss you, tortilla chips, even if my tongue might. Oh, and let's slow things down, coffee, just for good measure. At least horseradish and mustard give me no pain.
I need to take my own advice more on that last one. I can feel the fluid retention already from the handful of tortilla chips I plopped alongside my grilled cheese. Leaving off the hot salsa isn't enough.
And yes, I know cheese and butter are poor choices for a sick tummy, but I just go with whatever sounds appealing when I'm feeling ill. They at least don't make my stomach churn away or, perhaps more irritatingly, add to the hiccups.
Ah, the holidays. They inject such joy into our lives!