Saturday, July 27, 2013

A brief history of why we eat the way we do.....

I have to feed two boys, a husband, myself, and a dog every day.  More than once.  And as much as I give them, they tend to keep coming back.   (Sort of like the alligator that my father in law threw a chicken neck to - to make him go away - it didn't work....)

Back when Michael and I first got married, we ate very well, though there was not what I would call a movement around what we did.  We loved the weird, healthy stuff, like tabouli and couscous.   Michael had lived in Japan after college and had gotten used to eating unusual dishes, fresh from wherever.  My Dad had made the odd things for me growing up while my Mom taught me how to make the more traditional, practical dishes for day to day family cooking.  So Michael and I always ate well, no matter which one of us fixed the food.

Another element to our food choices has always been that Michael has type 1 diabetes, and his mother read lots and lots of labels and measured lots and lots of food to make sure her baby boy grew up well.  So when we got serious, she did too, making sure I knew what Michael needed .... and what he did not need.   The Japanese diet he ate while overseas was actually a great one all around.  Good for him, yummy for me.  We tended to fall back on fish and rice and greens a lot early on.  When there have been times in our marriage where his diet has needed adjustments, it has thrown me into a tail spin for at least three weeks.  I have to go back to reading labels, which makes grocery trips long ordeals, until I settle into our new routine.  Honestly, I cannot remember really reading a food label - ever - until I had to cook for Michael.

Early in our marriage our first boy came along.  I made his baby food from scratch out of leftovers because it seemed like the thing to do.  My friends called me hippie.  When our second child came along, I did the same thing.  Between both boys, they have eaten exactly one jar of baby food.  It was at Jeannie Simmon's house in Aiken.  It was organic and orange colored. I do not know why my brain has chosen to use up space remembering this.  She had it left over because her kids hated it.  Mine didn't know better.

Shortly after the second child, I developed gastroparesis and I was sick.  For a year and a half.  Our hippie food gave way to whatever I could boil quickly to get the people fed.  End of story.

When I was finally well, what I could digest had changed dramatically and it did not match Michael's diabetes and that made every meal complicated.  We handled it okay for awhile, but it was at this time I began paying closer attention to the details on all those pesky little labels....not the sodium content or the grams of sugar, but the actual ingredients.

So here we are....six years later..... we eat whole foods, together, and we can all handle them.  I digest them.  Michael controls sugars with them.  The kids eat them.  They make sense and they have brought our family back on common ground.

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