Fries or Figs?

This post was intended to go a very different route.  As it is my first contribution to the Teacup Wellness world, and honoring my background as a nutrition coach, I had intended it to be a comical take on the eating habits of my family. We all have very different preferences and if I don’t laugh about it, I will cry… But, after writing a couple paragraphs I just wasn’t really feeling it. I was sharing funny stories and making a big joke of it, because that’s just what I do. It’s who I am. Life is funny, and I truly love to laugh. However, I decided to delete and start over. I have built myself a soapbox, I might as well preach a little.

Since it’s a lesson I had to learn the hard way maybe I can spare someone else the pain.

For most of my life, I ate whatever I wanted, whatever was available, whatever tasted good. Oh man, when I was overseas there was this little restaurant on the NATO pier and they had the greatest menu on Earth. I, being young and dumb, did not take advantage of the local delicacies as I should have and instead opted for a little ditty that reminded me of home. Chili cheese curly fries. The nectar of the gods. And in this case, by ‘gods’, I mean heart disease. It was so undeniably good and they would give me this huge container filled to the brim with cheesy, saucy, delicious-ness.

One night when I was headed in for a 12 hour shift, I swung by my favorite restaurant, grabbed my chili cheese curly fries to go and rolled into the dispatch office; heart disease in one hand and a case of liquid heart attack (a highly caffeinated soda I’m not sure I can name without getting sued) in the other. This was a standard meal for me at the time. Over the next 12 hours I would crack soda after soda and eat fry after fry, all the while saving the world. And everyone was fine with it, that is, except the interpreter that sat on the other side of the room; ready at a moment’s notice to shout everything I was shouting in a variety of languages I couldn’t begin to comprehend. He was a good guy. However, it seemed that he had had enough of my non-foodie nonsense.

So, walking in that night, I relieved my predecessor, sat up my space and settled in for a long night of world policing. After maybe 30 minutes, when turn over had completed and everyone was calmly moving into their predetermined tasks, I reached over, opened my Styrofoam container of awesome and reached down to grab a can of liquid energy from the case I had placed under the desk.

“No.” I heard my interpreter’s voice on the other side of the room.

“What is it?” I asked, the hair on my neck standing straight up. He monitored all the radio channels I couldn’t understand and there was a constant stream of chatter. “What’s happening!?”

“Not again.” He said, rising from his chair and walking across the room. “Not tonight.”

I then watched in sodium-addicted horror as he snatched my curly fries off my desk and hurled them into the trash. In their place he sat down a bowl of figs, with these words of wisdom, “you are going to kill yourself, eat a *expletive* fig.”

He was right. I didn’t know it at the time, and I was too angry at him to see it from his prospective, but I was, indeed, killing myself. After 10 months of dealing with acute organ failure, being diagnosed with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) and taking upwards of 15 pills a day, just to try to stay alive, I finally learned the lesson he was trying to teach me all those years ago. My poor choices (and there were several) were killing me. My food-addiction was killing me. My low-quality diet was killing me.

I’m happy to say that I am now back in working order, organ function has been restored and I watch what I eat and what I feed my family like a hawk. Learn from my mistakes. Take care of your body.

In the immortal words of Dimitris, “Eat a *expletive* fig!”

For more info on EPI:

For more info on the health benefits of figs:

For more info on the nutritional value of chili cheese fries:

For more info on what happens to your body if you drink soda every day (or a full case in a night!):

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