Sunday, December 15, 2013

Splurging in The Country of Control

Since I am unable to digest and absorb most (typical) American foods, I sometimes feel as if I am on a diet.  But who wants to be on a diet?  As a malnourished (thin) person for most of my life, I have had the pleasure of being able to shun diets.  I've been able to say that they are not good for us; they don't really work; they create a sense of scarcity; they cause rebounding and bingeing; and on and on…  And yet the word diet itself is really harmless -- it means what we eat.

Our culture today has caused the word "diet" to mean that cruel device we torture ourselves with, but it actually means what we put on our plates, our diet.  My diet is mostly breakfast.  I love my breakfast: steamed greens (dandelion and mustard greens, the bitter greens to help my liver), some kale or chard or collards, and some purple cabbage for color and fun.  I cover my plate first with ground flax seeds (almost two tablespoons worth for fiber) and then I add raw sauerkraut (for pre-biotics) on the side with two or three sardines.  (My husband eats the same thing but adds a tablespoon of chickpea miso.  We are soy free.)  We put a dash of olive oil on our mounds and dive in.  (I cover mine with over 450 billion bugs -- probiotics made by VSL#3 without which I would disintegrate!)  Afterwards he has Greek yogurt with cherries and honey. I have plain blueberries for the antioxidants.  This is breakfast.  We eat like Royalty in a Very Strange Country.  The Country of Control.

Why do we eat this?  Because my mother died when I was nineteen, and I am still angry about it.  Because it is terrible to lose a mother.  Because it is hard to live a long time without one.  Because the week I became a mother, it was inferred (by several doctors) that I had lung cancer.  Tests were done.  And I took the possibility of death to heart.  So for years now (over a decade), I have been terrorizing myself (and my husband) saying, we have to be as healthy and responsible as we can possibly be, because we are parents now!

So we eat everything we think we are supposed to eat, and we actually like to eat it, but it probably doesn't keep us alive.  It probably doesn't protect us from whatever future is out there waiting for us, and yet we cling to it.  I cling to it.  I believe that this "diet" is part of what keeps me healthy and alive for my son.  If I die young, he won't be able to blame the Doritos!  And since I can't control much else, I control my diet.

How do I do that, you ask?  Isn't it hard?  When I stray from my diet, I get sick.  Profoundly sick.  So no, it isn't really hard, because the consequences are so awful.  (Not the consequences of a few extra pounds or a hangover, which are not great either, but Celiac Disease and Ulcerative Colitis consequences are painful, embarrassing and potentially deadly.)  But I still sometimes feel deprived and need a little something to ease my cravings.

Tonight I had a few dates.  The sweet kind with 18 grams of sugar in each!  Last night I boiled some water and thinned some cashew butter (two tablespoons) with a teaspoon of coconut oil and had that over my blueberries. (Technically my blueberries are a splurge alone so this is really super decadent for me.)  Once in a while, I'll have some cantaloupe!  If I overdo it, I get sick.  Not the fun kind of sick, the sick that involves blood, ruined clothing, accidents…  I have great respect for the digestive system, because mine demands it.

I am glad I can still digest my amazing breakfast.  I am grateful that I am still here.  I am four years older than my mother ever was.  I try to give myself a break, cut myself some slack, indulge in a few bites of gluten-free pizza every once in a while, but mostly I want to be around for my son, so I usually let him have the rest of it and enjoy every bite of my bitter greens.  I recommend a dash of Umi Plum Vinegar with some olive oil to dress them up.


  1. Thank you for inviting me to read your blog, Emma. I was very moved and inspired by your post & am trying myself to live in "the country of control." You are more of a native in this country than I am, but I am beginning to realize that there is no other place to live. Your colorful breakfast looks very tasty indeed!

  2. Thanks Leah! I am glad I can inspire you! xo

  3. I want to eat like YOU!!! Wonderful. Only when I cleanse twice a year am I that clean.