Scientific-ish observations on all the weird crafts I get into over at Risible Itinerant Enterprises.
My kitchen smells of Old Bay seasoning & green onions, and it is divine. I haven’t really mentioned it yet, but I am on (a very personalized adaptation of) the Paleo
diet lifestyle due to my food allergies & various other health concerns that it sort of allofasuddenlike dawned on me about a year ago were probably all dietary in origin, or could at least begin to be addressed dietarily.
I have to confess, I’ve always been a foodie at heart, even though I only heard the term very recently. I love food, and have therefore really never been one of those people who ever dieted. In fact, I never thought much about food at all, beyond what kind I wanted right then, until it started making me very sick. In high school I started reacting to white cheeses (but of course it took me a couple years of pretty much shooting in the dark to figure that out… hey, it was before the internet!). Fast forward to my late 20s, and I’d managed to accrue a list of food allergies/sensitivities as long as my arm… but something still felt off about it all. Mostly the fact that, as careful as I always was about what I ate, my ‘treacherous’ body would still try to — cover your children’s eyes, but — literally shit itself to death, with alarming regularity, and apparently without provocation.
Food became a hassle, a reason why I couldn’t eat out with friends (because even the “chef” didn’t always know all of the ingredients to a dish), or why I’d get a half hour less sleep each night (having to pack my own lunch just so I could know for sure what was going into my mouth), the impetus behind countless doctor-ordered food diary pages (in the interest of discerning my migraine triggers, the cause of my fibromyalgia, or just for data to compare against the latest round of blood tests). Food consumed my life, and wasted my fucking time, and I was so sick of it. I lamented our collective lack of scientific progress toward food in pill form like in the old scifi movies. I espoused a willingness to try Soylent Green if it came in BBQ flavor. I was so damned done with it all.
Then, I got pregnant with my daughter. Enter Hyperemesis Gravidarum. After that fresh hell, I finally decided that there was Something Really Wrong with my body and its relationship with food, and that Something Must Be Done. A friend of mine went Paleo and lost about 40 pounds, but more importantly she just could not shut up about how much better she felt from day one, even before she lost any weight. So, I looked into it. I did the 30 day cleanse, then began taking baby steps that seemed right for me toward a more primal way of approaching food. Somewhere along the way, I stumbled upon some heavily scientific research (which I have since lost, due to having my computer stolen) regarding gluten sensitivity. I decided I would cut all gluten out of my diet for 30 days, but after 10 I was sold. It was the ONLY solid ten days of my adult life during which my body never once attempted to shit itself to death. I knew I was on to something.
And let me tell you, as a gal who was damned near a connoisseur of beer, gluten was not an easy thing for me to dismiss outright… but I’ve never looked back. It’s a sad thing indeed when some teriyaki chicken can land you in the bathroom for a day and a half because the teriyaki sauce had wheat flour as its third to last ingredient and you didn’t think to look for it there, but such things do rather effectively prove a certain point.
Point being: eat better shit, dummy. So, I learned to stop & really look at the plate of food before me at each meal, to choose what I would & wouldn’t eat, and then to check again at the end to make sure I’d kept my word to myself. This (re)taught me that I can trust myself to make good choices. I learned to keep a little tupperware of plain beef jerky & unsalted raw nuts in my purse instead of stopping by a fast food joint. This taught me that a fun, busy life with two very interesting children doesn’t have to exclude immediate gratification… and that I don’t have to sacrifice my health, my budget, or my need to lead a balanced life by example to those children, in the pursuit of such. I’ve learned to cook much more than the pancakes I was once famous for, and the desserts which once earned me a living. This has taught me that I’m versatile, and resilient, and that I still love learning new things (and eating them!) as much as ever. These are all wonderful, important things to know about yourself, and only all the much more so when they’re autodidactic.
I’m still learning what a rational portion really looks like. I’m still not sure how I feel about getting wholly rid of dairy, because damn cheese is good. I still struggle with wanting those damned BBQ potato chips & especially dark, nut-filled chocolate sometimes. And sweet Jeebus do I miss beer on hot summer evenings! But right now, eating salmon with fresh dill, avocado with tzatziki-dill creme & asparagus in bacon-butter-lime sauce made by hand by someone I love?
TOTALLY FUCKING WORTH IT.