Rant: Turkey Meatballs and the Mind-Body Connection


We can talk about cookbooks next time, because right now I think my stomach is a bitch. Capricious, and petty, and picky, and whiny, and needy. I don’t care to answer the question, “what’s your favorite food?” because of her. Your favorite food is something you can eat and eat and eat, and still enjoy. I don’t have a favorite food. I have a favorite feeling, and that’s when I forget about my stomach.

I made a new recipe for turkey meatballs the other day, but, as always, I didn’t have all the ingredients and couldn’t really be bothered to acquire them. My cooking is 60% recipe, 20% what I have in the fridge, and 20% getting distracted by what’s on TV.

I replaced the parsley with some scallions that were going to go bad if I didn’t use them. A package of scallions is a lot for one person to deal with! And I replaced the carrots with orange bell pepper. None of those changes should have mattered fodmap-wise. Where I think I went wrong is the kind of bread I used. I’ve been buying gluten free bread from Aldi for forever because I like shopping at Aldi and it’s there. It’s gluten free and not expensive. It’s not, however, low fodmap. (Googling while in pain led me down a fascinating path to discover most sourdough bread is low fodmap. Who knew! Had trouble finding a list of gluten free breads that were also low fodmap, but there seems to be consensus about the Udi’s brand.)

After this culinary adventure, I had stomach cramps like I hadn’t had in literal years and diarrhea the next morning. Well, great.

At yoga, they talk a lot about being kind to your body. “Place your hands compassionately on your belly and feel your sacred breath filling the space.” “Honor your body and where it is today. This practice is yours.” How can I be kind to something that’s not kind to me? How can I show compassion again and again for something that’s betrayed me for years?

The emotional cost of a chronic illness is harder to put your finger on than the physical symptoms. Have you seen the new Cigna commercials encouraging people to talk about how they feel emotionally, not just physically, with their doctors? I feel that. I get that. It’s all a journey, and I’m still traveling.

Maggie DunlapComment