Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Love/Hate relationship with kale

*Warning, discussion of vomit is below.  Read at your own discretion*


I have this sort of love hate relationship with kale.  For a long time, I loved it, and my go-to meal was inspired by this recipe (basically kale sauteed with garlic and olive oil), except that I would add cumin and coriander to it.  Heaven.

Then I got pregnant.

Hyperemesis began on Christmas Eve of 2008 when I was chopping kale to make this very dish.  Remember that?  I thought I might die.  I threw up lots of things. I never threw up kale though, because the very thought of kale disgusted me so much that I couldn't even see it without running out of the room, curling into the fetal position, and rocking back and forth while chanting unintelligible things.

I haven't been able to eat kale since then.  That's almost 3 years of no kale.  I actually still have a hard time with a lot of green vegetables.  Things just don't taste the same to me anymore.  I thought it would go away after the baby was born, or after I stopped nursing him, but I am still kind of waiting on some of these things.  At any rate.  I've tried kale a few times since then, but I've never been able to eat it sauteed wtih garlic and cumin.  It wasn't just the taste of it, but the texture too.  The only way I could eat it was if I made it into kale chips.  Well, the strangest thing happened after my 18 mile training run this weekend-- I was craving sauteed kale.  (Who craves kale after an 18 mile training run? That's crazy).  So I bought some at the grocery store and last night I made it.  Delicious!  I ate a ton of it.  I was so happy!  I think kale is probably the healthiest food on the planet.  It makes me feel like I'm going to live forever when I eat it.

Well, unfortunately, I also ate some sauteed mushrooms with my kale dish last night.  I only ate a couple because they didn't taste quite right.  I'd just bought the mushrooms at the grocery store, they couldn't have gone bad already!  Could they?

They had.

Long about 10:30 last night, it hit me.  Oh god, those must have been some bad 'shrooms.

I felt awful.

I went and got my grandmother's emesis basin.  Yes, emesis basin.  For some reason, I inherited it after she died.  I guess it was among the items left in her room, and my mother thought maybe I could use it.  She was right.



About 11:30, I sat bolt upright in bed, clutching the emesis basin and gagging.  Thank god for the emesis basin.  I ran to the bathroom.

Let me just say, throwing up kale (sauteed with garlic, cumin and coriander) ranks right up there as one of the most unpleasant things I have ever done.  There is probably a reason why bulimics generally do not binge on sauteed kale: it does not come up easily.

(Beware, the description below is gross)

I was kneeling there at the toilet, gagging my heart out, but only a pathetically small amount of kale came up.  It was completely clogging my esophgaus; it was in my nose, it was filling up my entire head including my brain.  I thought I might choke to death.  When I breathed I tasted it.  When I swallowed, it felt like I was swallowing over a massive wad of kale (probably because I was).  It was disgusting.

I had to revert to an old hyperemesis trick that I used when things weren't coming up easily.  I drank an entire glass of water, quickly.  I sat there and waited.  I was exhausted, I felt terrible.  Finally (emesis bowl in hand), I went back to bed and curled up into a shivering ball.

A half an hour later, I sat bolt upright again, gagging into the emesis basin.  I ran into the bathroom (again) and barely made it to the porcelain goddess before the kale started coming up.  And up, and up.  Oh my god, and up.  I had eaten a lot of kale, and it all came up, every last bit of it.  I stayed in the bathroom for a while and puked 2 or 3 times and then finally felt like I was done.  I brushed my teeth and brushed and brushed, but I could not get rid of the awful burning of kale sauteed with garlic and cumin and coriander.

It was no cheese tortellini (throwing that up ought to be outlawed by the Geneva convention), but it is not an experience I would like to repeat.  And I probably won't repeat it, given that I doubt I will ever be able to eat kale again.  Which is really too bad, considering that I am pretty sure it confers immortality if eaten in appropriately massive quantities.  We'll see.

Sorry for being so gross.  Thanks for reading.


Alena said...

Ouch! Is it some survival mechanism that screws us over like this (not being able to eat a certain food even when we know we got sick from something else)?

My husband has a somewhat similar story. When he was around 10 years old, his parents got him a rare and delicious (in USSR) treat - a banana. He ate it - piece by little piece - for a few hours while traveling by bus. He got motion sickness at the end and thew it all up. Twenty years later he still would not touch bananas and can't even stand the smell of them. Too sad.

I hope you feel much better by now.

Katrin said...

Poor you! And please excuse me laughing while reading the blog!
As for your husband's banana story, Alena: My brother used to get motion sick in the car all the time. And I, being a mean big sister, once held a banana (which he truly despised back then, he wouldn't even accept my Mom's half serious offer to give him 5 German Marks, if he ate a whole banana) in front of his face and created quite a mess.

Unknown said...

I just ate kale in a soup for the first time. I only vomited the kale, nothing else from my soup came up. It was awful and the came the bile. Ugh needless to say my mouth was bitter and my throat is still burning.