I wish that forgetting — or ignoring — that I have ADD could be as inconsequential as forgetting about some other physical characteristic, like that I have brown eyes. Yeah, yeah, the proper term is ADHD — it is not merely Attention Deficit Disorder but Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, neither of which really conveys the nature of the condition which manifests differently in all who have it — but I tire of all of those extra syllables, particularly because they don’t convey anything meaningful to or about me and more because whatever we call it has no value in describing how it will impact my behavior at any given time.
Like, last Thursday night. It was 7 pm, the end of a day that had me up and hustling since 5 am. I had just spent an hour sitting in rush hour traffic and then a quarter of an hour standing in line at the library. It was way past dinner time and I was ravenous.
What I really wanted to do was pick up some take out as I didn’t have anything ready to eat in my refrigerator. Before Paleo, Chinese would have been my go to, but all of that soy and rice does not work with Paleo. I was not in the mood for Middle Eastern or a burger with salad and I didn’t feel like driving to the Encino rotisserie chicken place I like. I didn’t want to spend more on the gas to get there than on the meal or to have another battle with traffic. I turned my thoughts back to home.
I could thaw and cook a piece of fish, but I was too hungry and impatient for that. I had had eggs for lunch so that was out. I thought about making a green drink but then remembered that that would be breakfast while driving from the gym to my 8am client the next morning. Green drink two meals in a row? No. Besides, I wanted food that I could chew.
Then I remembered the can of tuna sitting in my cupboard. And then I remembered that I was out of mayonnaise. Yes, I could make some mayo — it would certainly taste better than whatever I would buy, but I only had extra virgin olive oil in the house and I can’t get past the greenish tint that it gives the final product. I know it is just the chlorophyll from the olives, but it looks so unappealing. Besides, I wanted to walk in the door, sit down and eat, not start fussing with the blender.
I decided my best option was to go buy some mayo. My favorite store-bought mayonnaise (Best Foods, aka, Hellman’s where I’m from) has soy in it — not acceptable on the Paleo plan — so I would have to go to Whole Foods (rather than my local Ralph’s) for soy-free Veganaise – the only soy free mayo I knew of.
I did see red flags: It was late, I was tired, and there would be all of that temptation in the store — both for things I shouldn’t eat and for things more expensive than my budget allowed. But, I had to drive past Whole Foods to get home anyway. I vowed to stay focused on the mayonnaise and made myself a mantra: Get in, get mayo, get out. (Ha!)
I ought to mention that I hated tuna salad as a kid and don’t like it much better as an adult. I always have it on hand in case of emergency — and I do have friends who like it – but I think of tuna salad as a last resort– punishment, if you will, for not having planned better. As long as I add plenty of red onion, celery and good mayo it is tolerable. The one redeeming feature of tuna salad is that it is fast.
I also ought to mention that at that late hour my medication had completely worn off so my ADD was in full throttle which, because one of the manifestations of my ADD is the severe impairment of my already poor working memory (the RAM of the brain), did not occur to me. (Did I mention my raging ADD?)
So there I was: a foodie, an ADD chef, tired, hungry and unmedicated, in the middle of a grocery store, unable to remember where to find the mayonnaise (need I add the confounding factor of being on the Paleo diet in a haven for people with contemporary dietary interests and restrictions such as mine?).
Three steps in and the shiny object equivalents began vying for my attention. Ooh, almond milk – I’m out, I thought. Into the cart it goes. And, look, there’s an almond milk creamer I’ve never seen before. One of those went in the cart as well. Next a Paleo granola-like product caught my eye. Ten bucks. Oh, what the heck, I need some variety. In the cart it goes.
The bulk section caught my eye and I remembered that I was out of mulberries (I like to add them to my smoothies for extra protein, fiber and sweetness). I filled a bag and then decided to go for the golden berry, mulberry, goji berry, acai berry mix instead – more nutrients and only $21 a pound as opposed to $24. And since I was almost out of trail mix, I did some comparisons and finally selected an almond, cashew, cranberry mix – it was the least sugary one that didn’t have peanuts — and tossed that into the cart as well. What’s another seven bucks?
I was still in search of the mayonnaise when I found myself in the super foods section, looking to see if there was something new to add a little punch to my day-to-day (because I hadn’t already done that). Yes, right there: raw, sprouted-seed ginger snaps. Sounds awful but I do like ginger snaps. I decided to give them a try – another seven bucks. I saw the hemp powder (protein for green drinks) and remembered I needed some, but the brand I like is in the supplements department so off I went in search of that. Found it and dropped another $30 into the wagon.
My mantra long forgotten, I found myself in front of the fish counter where I saw a package of smoked mackerel – just what I had been looking for to serve at the breakfast I catered two days earlier. Oh, well. But, I thought, that might make a nice dinner – high in Omega 3s, good protein source, something different. And it was not tuna. Into the cart it went. Smoked mackerel is very oily and has a very strong flavor. It really is best on a bagel or other chewy bread. I decided to check the cracker aisle for something Paleo that might substitute for bread. Sure enough, I found a box of sea salt and black pepper flavored wafers made from almond flour for six dollars. Into the cart it went. Then I realized that I still hadn’t found the mayonnaise – my sole reason for entering the store. Shaking my head, I finally remembered the little cooler in the back corner of the produce department and marched off to retrieve my prey. Finally! Done.
By the time I got to the checkout line, sensory overload had kicked in and was slowly shutting me down. Lulled by the rhythmic blips of the scanning device as the cashier rang up my items, the numbers flashing on the screen were pretty much a blur. As I mechanically swiped my debit card through the machine I heard the clerk murmur, “That will be one hundred and seven dollars and …”
“One hundred and seven dollars?” I stammered, jolted awake.
“Things add up,” he said stoically.
Too drained to change course, I had to get out of the store. I needed the mayonnaise. I tapped the green button and took my shopping bag (yes, only one) from the clerk.
Mayonnaise. I had come in for mayonnaise. Get in. Get Mayo. Get out.
I wanted to blame the Paleo diet for the time, for the expense, for the exhaustion; but, Paleo had nothing to do with it. It was all me: I knew I was tired and I knew I was hungry – a dangerous way to be faced with any decision — but I had forgotten to remember that at that late hour I was not medicated, which makes an already challenging situation even more so for me.
One hundred and seven dollars for a jar of mayonnaise. Great. Thank you, ADD.