Yesterday I went to Portillo's Hot Dogs and had myself a feast (if you aren't from Chicagoland you might not know what Portillo's is). Months had passed since my last feast at this place. During the drive there I fantasized about what I was going to get: a Chicago-style hotdog, an Italian beef, a cheese fry and a chocolate cake shake. The feast was to be epic.
When I finally got to the restaurant I tempered my order just a bit. I forwent the hotdog. It was probably a good choice. I ate the rest of the meal with passion and speed. I couldn't get enough of the nostalgic cuisine. I ate everything except the shake at this point. The shake was for the hour long drive home.
It needed to be a large shake. When was I going to be back having this food?
I crushed the entire large shake. The shake had a piece of chocolate cake blended into it. It is a colossal illustration of American comfort food. When I finally exited my car I immediately felt the effects of the sugar rush. My forehead felt tingly. My stomach felt bloated. I felt if I jerked any part of my body it would cause me to throw up. All in all, I felt miserable. Within an hour I passed out. My body shut down. My digestive organs went into overdrive from the sugar.
I slept for 2 hours.
When I showered later that day, I couldn't help but think about what happened. I ate this substance that literally caused my body to shut down and go into a mini coma. I called my mother after I woke up and told her the story. We laughed about it. For better or worse I thought about taking out the food description of my story and putting in some type of drug.
"Hey, sorry I didn't call you sooner, I ate a bunch of terrible food and literally passed out" with,
"Hey, sorry I didn't call you sooner, I took a bunch of Xanax and literally passed out."
Of course there are differences in how the two substances affect the body. There are some similarities however. For me, it was a snapshot of how food can literally aid in your body's demise. Generally speaking, I eat pretty well. I don't eat too much fast food, when I shop at the grocery store I stay out of the processed food aisles and I don't habitually snack.
This isn't the case for thousands if not millions of people. What I saw yesterday was how high and numb food can make an individual and it was a bit frightening. Is this the last time I will ever go to Portillo's or get some comfort food? Absolutely not. I do know how much my body can literally take before it shuts down and I cannot go that far again.
We have a very interesting relationship with food. We all need it for survival. It is something that all humans share no matter your race, sex, age etc. Our relationship with food, however, seems to have shifted. We can eat food to feel satiated or we can eat food for "mouth pleasure." We can eat food to feel high.