I heard a news story recently about a new item at Taco Bell — the Cool Ranch Doritos taco.

Suddenly I was hungry. Very hungry. If I had been driving, I’m sure I would have suddenly found myself drawn by a powerful, unseen force straight to the restaurant. Luckily, I was at home, in my pajamas. I turned off the radio and shook my head to clear it of evil thoughts. No tacos for me; no, no no.

Life can be hard for the many people who, like me, suffer from gastrointestinal ailments. Our culture is saturated with food — much of it greasy.

Temptation is everywhere, but I will pay dearly, in my own private hell, if I succumb.

Going to the supermarket is a challenge. I know food gurus recommend sticking to the aisles around the edge of the store, where the less processed, healthier food is located.

They don’t realize, however, that the Wicked Whoopies are right there, artfully arranged in a big basket, on the outer circuit in my local Hannaford. Killer pastries, I think, as I avert my eyes and head for the seafood counter.

A couple of weeks ago, I had to adhere to a liquid fast for medical reasons. I was roaming around the house like a schlump all day. My bright spot was going to be watching an hour of “Big Bang Theory” reruns.

Big mistake. There’s a ton of food in that show. The characters are often eating takeout in Leonard and Sheldon’s living room. They meet for lunch in the college cafeteria. Penny works at the Cheesecake Factory. The ads are for McDonald’s and Pizza Hut.

When the shows were over, I was hungry enough to eat the hamsters in the Kia commercial.

Instead, I went to bed, where I dreamed Howard’s mother was cooking a brisket for me. I haven’t eaten red meat in 25 years, so this was serious. I often joke that I will die (when my time has come) while watching the “Big Bang Theory,” but I mean from laughing, not starvation.

My husband, Paul, graciously went out to eat that night so I wouldn’t smell food. I had bought half-price Easter candy a few days before, though, and I thought the aroma of coconut from the Almond Joy chocolate eggs was wafting toward me. Great. Now I was hallucinating.

I guess it would be helpful if I could keep only rice, applesauce and yogurt in the house, but that’s not going to happen. That would send me right over the edge and into Riverview, where the shrinks would probably make me eat meatloaf and mashed potatoes. They’d be sorry — but I digress.

Paul, of course, has to eat. He has a cast-iron stomach. He is tall and has a fast metabolism. If I don’t feed him Tostitos and Oreos — along with the agonizingly healthy food I try to stick to — he loses weight.

Life is so unfair.

I try to think ahead and bring fruit and yogurt to work so I am not tempted when a box of doughnuts appears in the office. Yeah, right. I work in a school library, which is conveniently located right off the food court. Whenever I venture out to do anything, I smell burgers and grilled cheese. Breakfast pizza day is the hardest for me. No breakfast pizza; no, no, no. How’s that for a mantra?

Teenagers are always eating. They aren’t allowed to chow down in the library, a rule I’ve come to appreciate. But they’ve always got candy and chips stashed away in their backpacks, and will sneak them out when they think no one is looking.

My ears are super-sensitive to the sound of rustling plastic. Yours would be too if you had to eat the way I do. That’s probably how one kid managed to down an entire bagel without detection. By the time I was on to him, all that was left was the cream cheese. No plastic involved. Tricky.

Even when I’m just hanging around at home, quietly sipping a green smoothie, I am taunted by my so-called Facebook friends, who are eating five-course meals in Tuscany and sharing photos of each dish. Paul once posted a picture of some scrumptious-looking dessert from the A-1 Diner directly to my timeline. Really, what was he thinking?

I know I am solely responsible for friending The Red Barn. Then again, a girl can always dream — of a clam basket.

I also know how lucky I am to have unlimited access to Stonyfield yogurt, local raw milk, Florida oranges in winter, eggs from my backyard chickens and rice, pounds of rice. Only in America can a person feel so deprived while surrounded by so much food.

Liz Soares welcomes e-mail at [email protected]

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