When one has food allergies or other chronic issues, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking significant others are getting off easy. In my case, that’s particularly true.
My husband of four decades, Tyler, can eat anything he wants and often does. He also eats copious amounts, particularly when we’re bike touring. His idea of “carbing up” runs the gamut, starting with things like bananas and oatmeal that qualify as healthy carbs. But he also teases that he needs calcium and fruit . . . in the form of banana cream pie ala mode.
I’m allergic to bananas and dairy products, in addition to a number of other things such as wheat. I also battle candida, which in turn restricts access to simple carbs like energy bars and gels. It takes a long time for complex carbs, from vegetables, to translate into fuel for the body.
Tyler, on the other hand, has no problem spiking his energy level before a long climb. He simply reaches for his favorite solution, a 390-calorie Honey Stinger 20-gram protein bar that has 170 milligrams of potassium, 35 grams of sugar and 41 grams of total carbs.
But if one scratches beneath the surface, one realizes that people in the support system are impacted. Several days into our two-week bike trip this fall, I noticed Tyler’s face had a few pimples. He also had canker sores.
His response: “Going through puberty again at 61 is my lot in life.”
I knew better. Unlike some of our trips, the route we’d chosen this time included a significant amount of climbing. In some cases, towns were farther apart. We also had to keep our speed up to make certain ferries or face the prospect of waiting 2-5 hours for the next ferry. Tyler’s physical symptoms let me know he was feeling more responsibility for making the trip work to my advantage.
Several weeks before we started the trip, he pored over numerous maps, looking for optimal routes and backup routes. He had worked in a shorter day before each long day, to allow my carbs to catch up. Each night, he would seek input from motel staff on what restaurants they would recommend that would create meals I needed.
When I first realized I had food allergies and intolerances, Tyler would eat his meal and finish items on my plate that I couldn’t eat. That was not a wise plan. One night before we ordered, Tyler suggested that I order two meals. His reasoning: I could eat whatever from both plates and as the “human vacuum cleaner”, he’d eat the rest!