This post is merely an interlude before I speak about my current health and dietary restrictions/adjustments. I was once (and for a longtime) a vegetarian. I was even, for a few months here and there, vegan throughout this period. During that time, I was often self-righteous about my diet. I was also very self-righteous about my decade of “no white stuff” with no sugar or refined flour. I was also was pretty self-congratulatory about the fact that my two older children ate the full spectrum of vegetables and whole grains. I really thought I was doing things right. I’m sure I’ve even shared some of that good old-fashioned self-righteousness on this blog–particularly during my yoga teacher’s training with the vegan brigade.
In the last five years, I have been humbled. First, my extreme pregnancy-long nausea (kid 3) brought me back to sugar when sugar-based foods were often the only thing that my body would accept. Second, I had a child that was born a pathologically picky eater even when I did everything “right” (as defined by the dietary thought police), such as eating a wide-variety of fruits and vegetables while breastfeeding him. Finally, after weaning J. at age three (because breast milk was still one of the only things he consumed back then but had at least stretched his diet to twelve items), I became sick. Overtime, my ability to digest grains diminished and then left me all together. My ability to consume green leafy veggies also vacated the premises. My lactose intolerance re-emerged with a vengeance. Left weak and exhausted (with scary amounts of hair loss), I finally decided to add meat into my diet.
Now, I feel really really chagrined by the self-righteousness of my past. I finally understand that each person may have completely different food needs (for what ever reason) then the next person. One person may have diabetes, one may have problems coping with certain food textures**, and another may lack the digestive enzymes to process dairy or grains. Another may have developed a leaky gut over time and now may be developing allergies to almost every food they eat. Still others are just struggling to find the funds to keep enough of any kind of food on the table. [On that note, I just read this fabulous article by Holly Goodman that puts a very human face on what it’s like to live at or near the poverty line in this country today. I highly recommend reading it!]
In our effort to promote health in this country, we’ve become so preachy about food choices. Even so, I’ve yet to find a consistent dietary principle. For example, while some now might be speaking of the benefits of butter, there are still those (ahem, yoga teachers) that would tell you what a great alternative Earth Balance is to butter. It all comes down to R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Respect for one another’s individual choices, in food, parenting, and otherwise. Respect because we do not know what path our neighbor walks down.
Perhaps its age, perhaps it’s Al-anon, perhaps it’s the humility gained from my evaporating health guiding me. These days, when it comes to diet, I find it is best to focus on just myself and let others be responsible for themselves. That said, I plan to tell everyone about my current diet–not because I think anyone should adopt my diet, but simply because I’ve combed through gobs of other bloggers’ posts to glean some small bit of information that might help my own quest for health. On that quest, however, there was never any one person’s dietary regime that would have completely “fixed” me.
Therefore, before i expound on my quest for health via diet, let me just say that if I ever get that log worked out of my eye, well then maybe I can see well enough to spot the speck in your eye–but by that time, I hope I’ll just congratulate you on the small size of the speck in your eye and ask you humbly, “How do you do it?”
**Recently, my dentist told me that everyone has different sensors in their mouth and dental work that might feel smooth to one person, will feel completely rough to another. She told me this to assure me that it was okay that I had come back in to have her do additional sanding and buffing of a recent composite filling because it felt scratchy to me, not unlike the horrible cheap nylons that my mom made me wear on Easter Sunday the year I turned nine. She couldn’t understand why I threw such a fit about the hose. To this day, I cannot even tolerate the thought of wearing panty hose. Their texture makes me shiver.