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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sweet Home Chicago

2:24 PM Posted by Tiffany Taft , , , , ,
In case you missed it, I live in Chicago.  Well, I live in the suburbs of Chicago again, not far from where I grew up because parents = free child care.  The suburbs are OK, I suppose, but I'm more of an urban gal.  Which is why our practice is located in Oak Park.  Technically a suburb, but the first one just west of Chicago.  You can get downtown via the CTA, or "L", as we like to call it.  It's a whopping 10 miles to the lake (Michigan).

Voted one of the best skylines in the world.
Chicago has a lot of reputations.  I'd say our most recent is being the murder capital of the country because we have a bit of a problem with shootings in our poor neighborhoods.  A culmination of extreme segregation, oppression, and gentrification into neighborhoods that resulted in the razing of low income housing and disrupted well-established gang territories.  But that's a whole other set of conversations.

Today I want to talk about food.  Specifically, two things Chicago is world famous for:  pizza and Italian beef.  If you come to Chicago to visit, it's required to try deep dish pizza.  Have you had it before?  It's amazing, contrary to what Jon Stewart thinks.  There's debate among locals as to who has the best deep dish pizza but I side with Giordano's.  Others will say Uno, Gino's East, or Lou Malnatis.  None are bad, it's a matter of slight variations in how the pizza is made and what you like.

A thing of beauty.

Since being on this ridiculous elimination diet, I've had to sit and watch friends and family eat Giordano's pizza.  Twice.  The urge to say "to hell with it!" and take a bite was so powerful, I must now be able to relate to someone addicted to heroin who is a month into recovery.

Another food Chicago is famous for is Italian beef.  Al's is the best, but we like Portillo's as well.  Which you can find in other cities because the owner understood the importance of making this delicious food available to the masses.  For whatever reason, Portillo's beef has wheat and soy in it.  Because, of course it does.

So this past weekend I sat and watched my in-laws chow down on beef sandwiches while I ate the sweet peppers that could be put on said sandwiches.  They were as close as I was going to get to the flavor of the real thing and I guarded them like a rabid dog.

Me on Saturday.  Image credit:  Cujo

In all instances, my family and friends felt bad for me.  Which is not what I'm going for with this whole elimination diet experience.  They've even offered to try to find places to order from or go eat that will have something that I can enjoy.  I don't want them to do this at all.  Mostly because I'll likely only be able to order some lame salad with no dressing. Why should they have to work around my diet?  I tell them this, say it's not a big deal, and eat my carrots.  I think it makes them feel a little awkward or bad that they're able to do something I can't.  And I don't want that, either.  Which is why I do my best to downplay the whole situation. 

The joys of the social interactions while on a restricted diet.  Thankfully nobody has said anything stupid to me.  But I know that it happens, probably more often than it should.  I hear concerns from clients that people will think they're weird or ask too many questions about it if they go out and there's food they can't eat.  So they turn down offers to go to parties or out to dinner or whatever.  And that leads to isolation that makes depression show up or get worse.  Not a good plan, even though it has some sense to it.

To hell with that.  Yes, you feel deprived when you watch people eat [insert delicious food here] and you want to throw in the towel and enjoy yourself.  It's hard.  REAL hard.  And I can see how it'd be depressing if you think about it too long.  But what's more important, feeling sad about a delicious beef sandwich or enjoying time with friends and family?

No really, the beef is amazing.