I’m home from the hospital and feeling a bit more perky. It’s been a strange experience for someone as food-obsessed as I am– I went nearly a week without food. My last real meal was a Trader Joe’s enchilada for lunch at work on Wednesday– and now it’s Tuesday, and I am slowly, gingerly nibbling on oatmeal. I’ve been living on IV fluids and, on good days, clear liquids. On the bright side, this did spare me from having to eat hospital food; their chicken broth was the closest I came to anything resembling food. (I couldn’t resist doctoring it up a bit– I added a packet of lemon juice to my bowl of plain broth and pretended it was avgolemono soup.)
No diagnosis yet, but test results are still pending. In the meantime, I’m a few pounds lighter, a few inches thinner, a few hairs greyer, and rethinking the way I eat.
As regular readers will no doubt have noticed, I’ve always been very enthusiastic about good food. Even as a child, when I was a notoriously picky eater, I was absolutely zealous about the foods I did like (mostly spaghetti and chocolate). When I find things I enjoy, I eat them with little regard for calories or nutritional content. I spent two years on an extremely restricted gluten-free and later wheat-free diet, and when that restriction was lifted I understandably wanted to sample the favorites I’d missed. Lately I’ve tried to pursue foods that don’t contain loads of chemicals and preservatives, but to describe my diet as ‘healthy’ would be a pretty big stretch.
And now I’m totally clean, my stomach is a tabula rasa, so this is the perfect opportunity to change my eating habits. I’m not going to try to be too ambitious– I’m not giving up chocolate or beer unless they force me to (which possibility is still not out of the question). But that Coke-a-day habit has got to go, and perhaps I need to ease up on the coffee too. Maybe fewer fried things, and fewer empty calories. Maybe I need to start looking at food as nourishment– not just as a skill, a cultural and historical bridge, or a source of sensual pleasure. Whatever the diagnosis turns out to be, it’s clear that my body is extremely sensitive to everything I put into it; I need to respect that and learn how to work with my body instead of against it.
It’s going to be a journey. I’m going to keep cooking and writing about it (although I might ease up on the spicier dishes for a while). I’m going to use this blog to maintain an awareness about what I’m eating and how it affects me. I know that it is possible to create delicious, inspired dishes that are also healthy, and if I can do it and write about it here, perhaps some of you will find help or inspiration as well.