Why Meals are Challenging
I have a lot of trouble with meals. There are several reasons for this.
1. Food looks good but then my stomach thinks otherwise.
I see a delicious salad and am so excited to eat it. However I take 5 bites and become too nauseous to finish. I am hungry and I really want that salad, but at the same moment I feel like I'm going to throw it all up.
2. Standing makes me nauseous.
Cooking and meal prep involve a lot of standing. By the time I finish cooking a nice meal, I'm too nauseous to eat it. This happens ALL the time. Talk about frustrating.
The slow cooker is helpful as it allows me to take a nap before dinner. Believe me, it is incredibly discouraging to spend an hour cooking a nice meal but in the process becoming so nauseous that you develop an aversion to the smell of the meal. So even after I've rested, often I have to force myself to eat this meal that I'd once been so excited to make.
I do use a stool in the kitchen which helps a lot, but even just being upright makes me nauseous.
3. Swallowing is difficult.
The lower part of the esophagus is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. It contracts when you swallow, helping to bring the food down to the stomach.
However my esophagus contracts slower than it should. That means it takes longer for food to go from my mouth to my stomach.
The problem is that when there is still food left in your esophagus, it messes up your swallowing reflex. So when there's still food in the bottom of my esophagus and I take another bite, I get the food to the back of my throat and suddenly I can't swallow. It's like my body forgot how to swallow. You feel like you're going to choke until suddenly the reflex kicks back in and I can swallow again. Talk about stressful! This happens because my body doesn't want to put more food in my esophagus before the last bite has fully passed through.
That's why, for those who know me, I'm one of the world's slowest eaters.
It's easy to see why I get frustrated with eating at times. I enjoy meal replacements and things that are very simple to make. Cereal and oatmeal are staples for me. Their bland flavours rarely upset my stomach.
A word of advice, do not tell your doctor that eating stresses you out. That's how to make them wonder if you have an eating disorder - regardless of how much you insist you really do want to be able to eat!!