Wednesday, July 18, 2018

from one bowl to another

While we enjoy our lives (as we should), the inevitability of death circles us daily. Like a lean leopard waiting for that one little slip that will turn us from yesterday's toast of the town to today's lunch.

And, no, John, I have not been reading too much Thomas Hobbes.

I have simply been getting my health back on a regular course. It all started, as you know, with my recent bout of gastro distress. (That is what we will call it so as not to disturb the Victorian gentleman in the back row reading his Kindle.)

My digestive system is a marvel. Someone once said of Thomas Jefferson, in his old age. that he had the digestion of a teenager. And I have felt that way about my well-run bowels. Until recently.

On my long walks, I frequently find myself urgently in need of a rest stop. There seems to be something in the movement that confuses my intestines.

That is simply an annoyance. The more serious problem lately has been long bouts of -- and let us be adult and use grownup words -- diarrhea. Once I realize my system will not clear itself, I head to my doctor who will give me a bout of antibiotics, and I am as right as drain -- so to speak -- within a few days.

My latest bout persisted for a month through a regimen of conservative treatment and two rounds of antibiotics  My doctor gave up and referred me to a specialist in Manzanillo.

There were some worrisome results in my lab report. But the earliest appointment I could get was 10 days away. So, I waited. And three days before the appointment, all was back to normal in digestionland.

But I went to my appointment on Monday. The doctor ruled out a number of causes. Cancer (most Mexican doctors are refreshingly honest in their accurate use of words). Food allergies. Food intolerance. He was even dubious that a parasite or bacteria would give the results in my lab report.

Like many Mexican doctors, he took a conservative approach prescribing some nature-based drugs and asked me to come back in 6 weeks or so.

In the back of my mind, I could see neither a good reason to take the medications nor to return. My stomach was fine.

That is, until I got home and had to run from the front door to the nearest toilet. My hubris was not well-rewarded by my bowels.

OK. There is a little more to that story. I stumbled onto some Rainier cherries at Sam's Club just before my appointment. Worried that they would not keep in the heat (I will use almost any handy excuse), I ate the entire kilo of cherries before I got home. I suspect I would have made the same run had I not had an earlier problem.

Under my current food plan, those cherries probably contained enough sugar to fulfill my weekly requirement. I am trying to cut down as much as I can on my sugar intake.

I do not like sweets. Even fruit. Cherries being the exception. My sugar downfall is carbohydrates. Primarily pasta. But, there are plenty of other culprits, as well.

Two years ago, I altered my food intake to rid myself of a lot of foods I can do without. Combined with my walking regimen, it worked. I felt better. I looked better. I acted better.

Salads have never been a favorite food item for me. They simply do not fill me. But I have learned some new tricks from my reading.

I am easily bored by food. If I eat a dish three times, I am not inclined to eat it again.

Salads are the perfect meal to avoid that rut. The possible combination of vegetables is almost limitless.

Take my salad this afternoon. I combined leaf lettuce with basil and mint leaves, topped it with cucumber, tomato, habanero, red, and yellow peppers, onion, celery, Kalamata olives, feta, and walnuts.  And then sprinkled it with a lime-balsamic-oregano dressing of my own invention. Amazingly, it has kept me for the full afternoon.

If I ever become one of those people who feel they have the liberty to bang on about how everyone else in the world is poisoning themselves with the food they eat, I hope a sane and good-willed soul will punch me in the face until I come to my senses.

But, I may share some of my own discoveries with you on my road back to good food and good company. If you make a fist, I will stop.


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