Thursday, February 25, 2010
You are what you eat.
Oh yeah, spring is just about here!
At least I am. For some people, it's all about what they don't eat. I have a friend who is so allergic to peanuts that if she eats even a fragment, her throat closes and she has to jab herself in the thigh with adrenlin, so as to not die from anaphylaxic shock. I know people who are dairy-intolerant. Eating a bite of cheese gives them hideous stomach cramps and diarrea.
Let me stop right now and say THANK YOU GOD for making me so tolerant of so many kinds of food! Wow.
After eight weeks during which I ate no wheat, this morning on a whim I walked to Peregrine Espresso, drank a latte and ate an almond croissant. Just like that, I broke my wheat fast. The croissant was not especially delicious which was, I admit, kind of disappointing. Now in the aftermath I am not suffering. People with allergies to wheat told me I would feel awful if I went back to eating wheat, but so far I am having no reaction at all. I feel like I had a nice breakfast, that's all.
I remember during the 1970's when I worked my way down the food chain until I was "macro-biotic" which is I believe what veganism was called back then. I didn't do a good job of it since at the time I didn't cook. I did not combine foods to make complete proteins like you're supposed to. My strategy (not a wise one) was to basically not eat anything. I remember the day all that ended. I was on vacation visiting a friend in Monterey whose landlady was a nurse. She took one look at me, sized me up, and invited me to come have dinner with her that evening, along with the friend I was visiting. Immediately I launched into a long list of what I didn't eat: no meat, dairy, sugar, fruit juice, refined grains, bleached flour, oils, etc. etc. etc. She nodded and smiled.
At dinner, she served me a plate of roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, and green beans slathered in butter. My jaw dropped. I stared at the food as if it had just arrived from another planet. When I looked up at her, she was gazing fixedly at me. She said, "Eat every bite." A switch flipped inside me and I did. When I tell people that story, they always ask, "Did you get sick after that meal?" Actually, I did not. After two years as a very strict non-lacto vegetarian which was for me some kind of eating disorder, all those forbidden foods tasted good; I had no reaction other than a happy sense of satisfaction.
Not eating wheat means I don't eat processed food much anymore, and that I DO eat a lot more vegetables, many more home cooked meals. I can't grab a sandwich or a slice of pizza any longer, which is a Very Good Thing. After today's wheat-fest, I'm going back to the wheat fast, not because I have to, but because it steers me in a more healthy direction. I am so lucky to be able to choose what I do and don't eat, so very lucky. A salute to my constitution and digestive system. Bravo!