As a Baby Boomer, I realize that there are some things I just can't do any more like I did in my youth.
Yesterday, we talked about how just a few drinks with your friends can knock you for a loop.
It's no longer a case of "youthful alcoholic consumption" when we could slug down a 12 pack of beer and two bottles of Boone's Farm and wake up the next day ready to conquer the world.
The day before that, we touched on how much I miss having the sharp eyesight of my youth.
Things are getting foggy and slightly out of focus these days and it's not always caused by the couple of drinks we have with dinner.
We started this discussion a few days earlier by lamenting on how much we missedplaying the competitive sports of our younger days.
You can click on the highlighted links to go back and read them.
These were important things... essential parts of my life!
I really miss these things now that I am older.
Now that summer is quickly approaching, I am reminded of one more thing that I really miss from my youth.
The warmer weather brings with it bar-b-cues, picnics, baseball games and family get-togethers. These bring out the foods I can no longer eat that I loved when I was younger.
You know what I am talking about right?
I'm talking about your favorite foods that you devoured when you were younger that cause all kinds of gastrointestinal issues if you eat them today.
Everybody has them and they vary from processed foods, dairy, spicy foods to fruits and vegetables.
I know I am getting old and I can accept that. But not being able to eat the foods I have always loved is a different issue.
Like a large percentage of the Baby Boomer population I have minor issues digesting dairy products.
My girlfriend, Doc, thinks I might be slightly lactose intolerant, which means (unfortunately for her) a little more gas and a few more farts escaping from me.
I live in the desert Southwest, the home of spicy Mexican foods filled with beans, chilies, cheeses and peppers. I know I can't eat spicy foods like I used to anymore.
Let's say I have modified my eating habits to match what Miller Brewing has done to their beers. My menus are now "spicy light."
I'm OK with that, but there are a few foods that really cause me angst and I really struggle with having to remove them from my diet.
The first of these came as a real surprise to me.
I struggle after eating cucumbers. Cucumbers are a vegetable for Pete's sake. They are supposed to be good for you but after eating them I get gas and burp them back up for hours.
My research leads me to believe that I am not alone here. It appears that cucumbers contain a chemical compound called cucurbitacin. Most of this compound is found in the seeds and skins and this causes a phenomena technically referred to as "cucumber burp" in some people.
I love cucumbers... but they don't love me anymore.
Let's toss in onions while we're at it to the list of vegetables that I can't eat anymore. Am I the only Baby Boomer that suffers from "onion intolerance symptoms?"
When I was younger, onions were a staple of my diet. Of course, they were always piled high on my hot dogs and hamburgers but they were also a vital ingredient in everything I ate including salads, salsa, meatloaf, spaghetti, soups, stews and slaws.
Who can eat fried bologna without onions?
Don't forget late night snacking on "Funyuns."
My "intolerance" for onions may stem from the high amount of sulfur that is found in this vegetable as well as other vegetables like beans, garlic, chives, and kale. It appears that as we get older we lose essential enzymes in our systems needed to digest certain chemicals and food compounds. The University of Maryland Medical Center says that "raw garlic and onions also contain lots of fiber that can cause gas and indigestion."
This may be the reason why I have such a hard time after eating a bowl of chili. I loved chili when I was younger. There was nothing better than a hot bowl of chili with a handful of oyster crackers for lunch on a cold winter day in Chicago. But chili is full of onions and garlic and beans.
All are considered healthy foods but as I have gotten older, they sure do keep me up at night.
I'm sure you are thinking about a few of your favorite foods right now that you loved as a youngster but can't handle as a maturing adult.
How about liver sausage?
Maybe bacon is your gastronomical nemesis?
I once ate fish sticks with abandon when I was younger (just ask my kids about them when I was a poor single Dad) but now they leave me gobbling Tums by the handful.
Finally, let's finish with the granddaddy of them all: Hot Dogs.
The Baby Boomer generation grew up eating hot dogs. Hot Dogs are by definition an almost perfect food. They are an easy, convenient and inexpensive meal that combines meat (I think) bread and vegetables all in one bite.
What could be better?
And they are found virtually everywhere on the planet... cookouts, restaurants, roadside stands, ballparks, picnics and even in front of Home Depots and Lowe's.
In my youth, I would eat hot dogs every day if I could get away with it.
What's really In a Hot Dog?
An article I read estimates that almost 65% of the U.S. population eats hot dogs on a regular basis and that the average person eats over 30 pounds of hot dogs/sausages a year!
But then there are disturbing articles like the one written by the PCRM Nutrition Education Director Susan Levin that states:
"A hot dog a day could send you to an early grave."
All I know is that when I eat a couple of hot dogs for lunch or at a ballgame I feel the effects for hours. Acid re-flux, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, painful rectal itch...take your pick. These are all bad side effects I experience now when eating my favorite food.
The controversy over how deadly hot dogs really are rages on. Nobody is really sure what type of meat is in hot dogs. Hot dogs contain high quantities of nitrites and preservatives.
Experts say that the "nitrites combine with amines naturally present in the meat to form carcinogenic N-nitroso compounds" when these puppies are cooked. These compounds have been associated with cancer of the mouth, urinary tract, esophagus, stomach and brain.
But boy are they ever tasty!!!
Let's not get too deep into the amounts of fat, salt and cholesterol that can be found in hot dogs as well.
My motto has always been: "If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger."
Not so much anymore with hot dogs.
So, are there any other foods that you loved when you were younger that just don't sit right with you anymore?
Please make sure to share them with other Baby Boomers in the comment section below.