Mid-Life Diet

Is it just me, or have other people upon reaching their early 40s had to eliminate foods from their diet due to intolerance, allergy or other reasons? Is this normal?

I swear, the list of what I can eat or drink gets shorter every day. It's down to meat or eggs, starch and water. And bananas. And cookies, thank god.

It all started with the headaches. My head is totally broken.

With so many years of experience, you get to know your headaches - the average low-level annoyers, the sinus-related killers, the full-on migraines and others that are unique, brought on only in certain instances.

I've discovered over the years that BHT gives me a particular, skull-crushing head cleaver. It's brought on by any food containing this preservative - a suspected cancer-causing agent, I might add.

All mass-market cereals use BHT. Your Post, Kelloggs and General Mills-type fare - all your favorites, though plain ol' Cheerios is poison-free. It was a sad day when I had to remove Golden Grahams and Honeycomb from my shopping list.

Another BHT source - Potato Buds and other brands of instant potatoes or packaged dry foods. Caint have none of 'em.

MGS is another headache. It's in almost everything that's processed - soups, chips, crackers, sauces, some stocks - anything that tastes better than it should likely has MSG in it, and a lot of restaurants are using it again, though most of them won't offer that info unsolicited. Ask.

Then there's dairy. All cow products give me horrific headaches, a particular type that also comes with big dark circles under my eyes and a bloated face. Super attractive.

Nothing makes it go away. Well, a glass of fizzing codeine dampens it a little, but it hangs on for almost 24 hours every time. Doesn't matter if it's raw, organic, homogenized, pasteurized or has live active cultures. If it comes from a cow - no dice. So far, goat cheese seems to be OK.

Next on the list, and this one really makes me sad - so sad - chocolate and cocoa. Just in the last year or so these kids started making trouble in my head. My favorite Bensdorp Cocoa and Callebaut chocolate chips [sniff]... no more. Even small amounts are too much. Tragic.

Just about any liquor aged in a barrel makes a fine headache, though good red wine usually doesn't. White wine will almost every time and some champagnes and sometimes beer. Silver tequila on the rocks seems to be OK, but no reposado, no anejo, and no mixer/sugar.

Then there's raw veggies or too much fiber in any one dish. Whoa, Betty, that is an unpleasant experience the next day. I used to love carrot and celery sticks. Now, my lower GI says NO to that. That was an uncomfortable discovery to say the least.

What does that leave me? Steak, potatoes & eggs and Don Julio Silver, the breakfast of champions.