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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Changing Routines

I'm mostly interested in writing and talking about health lately. It is an obsession that ebbs and flows in my life and six months from now I may only want to talk about design or counseling or good books. I sometimes feel a bit apologetic writing about health here because it is inexplicably linked to weight in my brain and I set up this blog to explore all the other interests in my life like reading and art and cooking and nature. It was a reminder to myself that I'm a whole, well-rounded (oh my gosh, no pun intended) person and so much more than the obstacle that has often been a thorn in my side. 

Yet, I feel a bit stilted in my writing when I'm thinking nearly nonstop about one topic and trying to write about something else. I think this topic is going to hold court on the blog for a while. I'm also writing this as a warning to myself. I still want this to be a place that explores all of my interests. I just don't want to shut the door on letting health topics in for a visit. 

I'm still going strong on the allergy-free diet. It will be twelve weeks this Monday. We went out to a nice restaurant the other night and I succeeded in navigating all the land mines of gluten-free and dairy-free foods. I've despised being "different" for a long time and when it comes to eating differently than others, I've had a hard time. I'm sure my feelings will go up and down about this for many years. I knew ten years ago that I had some kind of food sensitivity and in my own attempt to diagnose it I spent two years off dairy, sugar and meat. I didn't want to give up my beloved carbs like bread, potatoes, pasta, and crackers but I could certainly live without those other things. My health did improve somewhat but after two years, I told my mom one day I was tired of "not being normal." I hated the disruption that my food limitations caused when I was out with friends or visiting others. I so much wanted my body to act like everyone else's "normal." 

It's only taken me the ensuing decade to figure out that my normal is not other people's normal. 

There are benefits and consequences to both. One benefit for me right now is that I feel amazing. My energy level is unprecedented for me. My stress level is much lower. I seem to have the ability to keep up with busyness of my life. That feels spectacular. 

One downside is convenience. I have to make everything from scratch. Which is great that I'm cooking more, but sometimes more difficult when I wish I could just grab a quick bite somewhere. I'm spending a lot of time cooking and I'm learning the art of doubling recipes and freezing the leftovers. Those freezer meals are especially crucial when I'm busy and tired and don't have time to cook. They keep me plugging along. 

My normal looks different than most people's normal. My kitchen cupboards and my pantry do too. I'm most comfortable right now in my own kitchen where I can use my favorite olive oil, I can always make a fruit smoothie and my stock of dark chocolate is very close by. 

Good food and good meals bind us together when we share them in love and conviviality. I think really what I'm most worried about is missing out on both of those because my food will not always look like my neighbor's. I think that is what drives me to find, make and share food that appeals not only to me but to my neighbor as well. I still have a lot to learn about that. 

Welcome to my new normal. 

6 comments:

The Puffer Family said...

Amen! Sometimes it's nice to eat 'normal' like everyone else. I totally understand how you feel. I stick out like a sour thumb here in the South (but I still love it).

Flying monkey clan said...

I like hearing how things are going with your health. I wish you luck and besides aren't you supposed to share your goals so it is easier to keep them. I'm cheering for you whole heartedly.

E F R said...

As I have always said as a response to my husband when he refers to 'normal', "What Is Normal"? ...Who, What, Where, Why and When did 'Normal' come to be?

Normal

6 entries
1. 1normal (adjective)
2. 2normal (noun)
3. Normal
4. normal curve
5. normal distribution
6. normal school
Main Entry:

1: perpendicular ; especially : perpendicular to a tangent at a point of tangency
2 a: according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle
b: conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern3: occurring naturally (normal immunity)
4 a: of, relating to, or characterized by average intelligence or development
b: free from mental disorder : sane
5 a: of a solution : having a concentration of one gram equivalent of solute per liter
b: containing neither basic hydroxyl nor acid hydrogen (normal silver phosphate)
c: not associated (normal molecules)
d: having a straight-chain structure (normal butyl alcohol)
6 of a subgroup : having the property that every coset produced by operating on the left by a given element is equal to the coset produced by operating on the right by the same element
7: relating to, involving, or being a normal curve or normal distribution (normal approximation to the binomial distribution)
8 of a matrix : having the property of commutativity under multiplication by the transpose of the matrix each of whose elements is a conjugate complex number with respect to the corresponding element of the given matrix

In my opinion, the word 'normal' should not exist. Just look at the definitions above. Confusing! Confusing!

So Eden, remove the word 'normal' from your vocabulary, and you have nothing to worry about!

Elaine - Rach's mom

L & H & Q & E said...

I'm so glad you're feeling so great. To me, that makes all the extra effort worth it. Who wants to feel lousy?

Also, I think you read my recent blog posting about eating. I can't tell you how much that experience has benefitted me. Maybe it's a strange perspective that no one else can understand (sometimes personal revelation is like that), but if I think of my eating habits in a similar light to morality, I don't have a problem being different. We're LDS, and therefore different in so many ways, that adding one more difference to that stack shouldn't be a problem (in theory). You are surrounded by so many people who love you and are supportive of your efforts toward health; don't worry about the conviviality part of eating (love that you used that word) -- we're together in spirit, if not in precise consumption.

Salut!

Megan said...

I'm very interested in using your "normal" for a few months. Wanna cook for me?

Eden said...

Puffer--Good luck as you continue to stick out in the food department. I will be thinking of you!

Flying Monkey--Thanks for the encouragement on writing about health. And yes, good reminder that a goal not written is only a wish. The Philly Mission is still alive and knocking about my head.

EFR--you certainly gave me pause for thought when it comes to the word "normal." Thanks for all the information.

LHQE--Thank you. Just the support I needed to hear, my friend. Salut!

Meg--Of course I will cook for you! Anything for a convert to this way of life.

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