I stuff fistfuls of potato chips into my mouth.
Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.
“It’s four in the morning,” my husband says. “Are you eating chips?”
I swallow and look down at the half-empty bag of Cape Cod Waffle Chips sitting between us in bed. Baffled, I set them on my nightstand, pull up the blanket, and go back to sleep.
When I enter the kitchen in the morning, my husband’s head is inside the refrigerator.
“I think you ate last night’s sausages,” he says.
My husband tends to be a bit OCD. He freaks out when a sock goes missing and the drink glasses aren’t ordered by size. I ignore him and make coffee.
“My sausages are gone,” he announces again.
Now I’m peeved that he’s making such a big deal about leftovers which are most likely behind the carton of eggs. I am not a morning person.
I march over to the fridge and pull out the drawer where I stored the baggy of sausages from last night’s meal. But only half a sausage, the half that was somewhat burnt, remains. I’d put two and half links in there last night. I am sure of it.
“That’s weird . . . ”
Then I remember the predawn chip episode.
“Oh my God, I think I was sleep-walking and sleep-eating! Have I ever done that before?”
“Not that I know of.” Content that he’s made his point, my husband picks up the morning paper.
The sausages in question were grilled last evening for my husband. While they are gluten-free, the corn ingredients tend to make me ill. I prefer Boulder brand sausages or chicken sausages from Al Fresco.
Evidently, I’m not that discriminating about brands or ingredients when I’m asleep, nor do I care whether the sausages are warm or cold.
At first, I’m embarrassed by my late-night munchies. Then it hits me.
I’ve deprived myself so much these last six or so years — passing on slices of birthday cake and Christmas cookies, avoiding crackers and cheese plates during cocktail parties, skipping on the movie popcorn but smelling it throughout the entire movie, sipping my water while the rest of the table chews on warm bread lathered in butter — why wouldn’t I raid the refrigerator or the pantry in a unconscious state?
In fact, why has it taken me so long?
I’ve woken in a sweat from dreams where I’ve eaten an entire chocolate cake with vanilla whipped cream frosting — I’m not only allergic to dairy and eggs and gluten but also vanilla. Still, I’ve never eaten in my sleep. Or even walked in my sleep.
I saw a TV show once about overweight people who have to lock up their food to keep them from eating in the middle of the night. Has my celiac disease and multiple food allergies created some sort of sleep-related eating disorder? Will my husband have to start padlocking his full-of-gluten-and-allergens food before heading off to bed?
After a quick Internet search, I discover that some people who are on diets may unconsciously eat at night. Eliminating gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn and so many other foods could certainly be called an extreme diet. That particular night I went to bed hungry because there’d been little for me to eat at a social event and once home I didn’t want to consume the extra calories before bed. With that in mind, it doesn’t seem all that odd that I raided the kitchen at 4 a.m.
The funny thing is I could have grabbed some peanut M&Ms or some leftover pizza or even a brownie that was sitting on the kitchen counter. But I didn’t. I chose gluten-free sausages and gluten-free chips. I’m so accustomed to avoiding foods that will make me sick, I’ll even avoid them in my sleep.
The chocolate cake with vanilla whipped cream will remain in my dreams.