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October 26, 2007

I almost screamed when I opened the juicer and saw this:

(I’m going to follow the weekly photo topic from this site: this week it was “scary“)

More about how this adventure turned out here.

We are embarking on (another) big health kick. I got all my tests back yesterday and the good news is: I’m completely healthy! At least, as far as the blood tests show. No food allergies, no nothing. Which is good, but does not explain my tummy problems. So I have a referral to a GI specialist. We’ll just continue to rule stuff out. I’m afraid it’s going to come back to, “Well, I don’t know, just be careful with what you eat.” Duh, I’ve been doing that for years and I’m still totally confused.

So I’m trying to have faith that this time it will be different.

However, I’m also totally willing to head down the Heal-Thyself path. I got Terri the CrazySexyCancerTips book for her birthday, and it’s full of good sassy tips for healing. One of the things she is emphatic about is juicing. So we’re giving that a try (see above). That, plus my new cookbook which has inspired me, is really lighting the fire to makeover our diet. Not just cutting out ‘bad’ stuff, but really focusing on good stuff. In with the cod liver oil, veggie juices, millet and quinoa, and almond milk. Out with the junk.

Although I’m still making gingerbread this weekend. If the majority of stuff we eat becomes really good, then we’re allowed a little leeway for special treats. I think that’s very sane and healthy.

I think it’s funny how my eating-life is really coming full circle. If you know me, you know my stories of growing up and what eating was like in my family. A day’s worth of food was something like this:

A fried egg and maybe homemade bread (toast). Plus a handful of vitamins and a glass of homemade apple cider with Brewer’s yeast stirred in. Brewer’s yeast cocktail, every morning. Never cereal, never. Cereal was for dessert, silly!

Usually homemade wheat bread sandwich with natural peanut-butter and homemade jam, plus milk from the dairy (we actually went to the dairy and bought the milk). I don’t know what else was in there, maybe some apple or maybe a cookie if we had made some.

Hamburger patty, usually venison. Sometimes elk. Infrequently beef from my grandpa’s ranch. We helped butcher all this meat. If it wasn’t that, it was salmon that my dad had caught. Also, peas (usually from our garden) and usually potatoes (garden), plus a big salad (with homemade French dressing.. now that was good).

However, all this natural home-grown goodness also meant that our dessert was homemade ice cream, made with real cream (skimmed off our milk from the diary) and homegrown strawberries or raspberries. We almost always had ice cream. It was hard as a rock, and you had to chip it out with a fork, but it was really yummy. We could also sometimes have cereal for dessert. And we almost always had cookies (made with whole-wheat flour, of course).

As we got older, the diet became less rigid… we bought bread, we had white flour in the house, and sometimes we had cereal for breakfast. This was a relief to everyone (except maybe my dad). I imagine it was hard to keep up all the work to have such a natural, healthy diet. And, it was a little boring. I remember going over to friends’ houses and marvelling at what they ate for dinner. The first time I had potato soup, I thought I was in heaven. “

However, now that I’m older, a little older than my mom was when she was doing all this for us(my dad did a lot too, gardening and hunting and fishing), I’m finding myself swirling back into that old circle. If it turns out I can eat wheat, I’m going to make our bread. If I could garden, we would have frozen homegrown vegetables. Terri expressed interest in Brewer’s yeast (I found out my cousins still drink it. Voluntarily. Are they crazy???). I eat a handful of supplements in the morning at work. Cod liver oil. Multi. Spirulina. I can’t handle the B vitamins — I get really sick from them. So I guess that Brewer’s yeast might be making a comeback in my life as well.

But what a new world we live in. My brother and I both developed a love of cooking. I’m inspired to cook naturally, and healthfully, but also with a lot of YUM included. There is no reason why it has to be boring. There are a whole slew of natural cookbooks and websites. There are raw food restaurants, organic vegan restaurants. Fancy foo-foo grocery stores in which to buy any kind of delicious natural goodness you can imagine. I’m lucky because I live in the Bay Area. I’m also lucky that I’m not struggling with a small family and no money.

But I really, really appreciate the good example I was raised with: I know how to eat healthfully. I don’t have to learn. I can learn new tricks and new recipes, but I know the basics. I can remember how, I’m not starting from scratch.

For better or worse, extreme comes naturally to me. I’m tempted to ditch our whole pantry and start over. We’ve got to get healthy at our house. But I think gradual is smarter (and less expensive). So we’re juicing, we’re going organic, we’re cutting way back on sugar of all kinds, and we may just seek out a big jar of Brewer’s yeast. But I’m not drinking it in apple cider. You can’t make me.

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