Saturday, December 19, 2015

A New Path Unfolds

You know how life is...  suddenly, there's a new path, one you had not anticipated, and there it is before you?

Mamas know how it is with mothering, as well as with with the process of becoming a mother. Changes. Surprises. Unanticipated life lessons. 

So many new sensations, perceptions and feelings come with pregnancy, labor, giving birth, and meeting this new being, as well as with becoming responsible for another human being. One who is completely dependent.

There's learning how to cope with fever, hurt feelings, bumps, bruises, broken bones, changing developmental needs, stains, unruly children and learning how to let go.

It can be a new experience each and every day.

We resurect ourselves to meet the challenge.

And then there's confronting the picture of myself reflected in my children, the pretty and the ugly alike, remembering who I am, who I was before motherhood, and always working on relationship, with others, and with balancing life and work, motherhood and friends, motherhood and self. The world of the home and hearth and the outer world. Always seeking balance.

The latest unanticipated path to open before me is not about mothering at all. Unless we count mothering the self. It's one that involves nutrition, the nourishing of my self. It’s a new path for me of gluten free, dairy free eating.

Until I heard the doctor explain the test results, I thought my diet was uncomplicated. I’d been an omnivore, with a preference for whole, sustainable, organic, local and ethical foods or SOLE food. And a penchant for whole milk lattes, milk chocolate and sweet butter. And maple cremees in the summer. 

I think I knew somewhere deep inside that foods made from cow’s milk and wheat were not agreeing with me. It began with mild stomach uneasiness after eating hard cheeses. Then I began to feel bloated. And gassy. I felt exhausted after eating toast. I’d want a nap after a sandwich. It was kind of funny. But it was not. I was starting to feel perpetually bloated, exhausted and foggy brained. Not typical for me. Moe, my furry boy was ailing too, and I thought to myself, "Here we are, growing old together." And then I thought again, "Hey, wait a minute. I'm not that old."

It has crept upon me, slowly and progressively, going on for years, even decades. During the 90s, it was joint pain. It was transient at first, coming and going with no ostensible rhyme or reason. I thought it might be the season. I had seasons of energy and seasons of dragging along. One doctor said rheumatism. Another said I likely had some sort of mild auto immune issue, "But don’t worry about it, he said." He didn’t suggest anything. Finally I found a doctor with a great reputation for routing out allergies and auto immune conditions. He ordered lots of tests. I had blood drawn. And then the results came and changed everything.

The good news is that I am feeling so much better. My energy has returned. I quit drinking coffee. Without milk, espresso is - well, blah - for me. I never liked drip coffee - no loss there. 
I began drinking ginger tea with lemon in the morning. Mmmm.

The hard part is the reckoning with all the foods I am no longer able to eat if I want to feel healthy, and the giving up of butter. Oh how I love sweet butter. My friend Heather, with whom I worked at Café Liliane used to call me Mademoiselle Buerre for I ate so much butter. The bread was a mere carrier for butter.

Garlic butter sauce - yes. Butter to bathe my omelet - yes. Toast to carry chunks of butter - yes. I love butter. Butter cakes. Butter cookies. Butter in pie crusts. Butter on the roasting chicken - yes. 

My love for butter is so great. My dad used to tease me and ask if I’d like a little something with my butter. "No thanks, I’m happy with the butter." And cheeses. Oh my, I love cheese. Triple cream. Aged cheddar. Real stinky muenster. Soft cheese. Feta cheese. All cheeses.

The new resolve is to eat butter and cheese and cream no more. I'm appreciating broths, soups and stews, and root salads in a new way. I'm working on healing my gut with simple foods. Maybe the GAPS diet.

I thought I'd share the news with you, as I journey along this new unanticipated path and make all sort of new discoveries. I am feeling so much more compassion for my food sensitive friends.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Simple, Slow and Meaningful

We’re in slow motion this year, still lingering in the mood of sweet slowness that follows Thanksgiving. We’re stuffed with roast turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, spicy chickpeas, cranberries and all the goodness of the Thanksgiving table.
 It’s warm inside and wet, cold and gray out of doors. I'm waiting for the snow.

We’ve unplugged from the busyness of the world, partly by choice, partly by force. My son was in an accident just before Thanksgiving and got quite bashed up. He is now on the mend, thanks to what must have been divine intervention, as well a very skilled surgeon, and a wonderfully kind hospital crew, for whom I feel enormously grateful.

With surgery and broken bones, there's lots of down time for convalescing. We canceled our travel plans and stayed put. It has been sweet.

As we move along in the season of Advent, I ask myself what matters most to me? The people I care about. My family and friends. My work. Cultivating community. Ample time. Being fully present in the moment.

How do I live these values as we approach the busy holiday time of year, with so many events and activities  beckoning us to join?

I begin with a checking in on our family home rhythms. The pulse of our daily life can tell us a good deal about what’s going on.

Next I look around and begin right where I am. In the days of slow and simple. Right here. Right now. And I savor it.

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