Friday, February 03, 2012

Adventures with Food (& eating & the Amish & being a stricter mommy)

Hi there.  I’ve been busy not-blogging here because I’ve gotten a kick to the pants to start eating healthier again.  And all that carrot peeling, fruit chopping, and bread baking takes a lot of time.
Here's my story: December of 2011 was Chocolate Month. November was Thanksgiving. And October ushered in Halloween candy, which I never used to buy until this year. Oh, and September was Moving Month. The girls were loving how much junk food mom was letting them eat all fall.  And, alas, January came with the understanding that  I was we were fully dependent on sugar and chocolate. Along with recurring blecky feelings after eating, I had some strange new symptoms:  My hormones were all out of whack.  And I was having hot flashes many times a day. What? At 33?
That’s what I said.

Truth be told, my diet was already probably better than 75% of you readers. (I’m not trying to brag, I just know how many of my friends already thought I was a health-food nut). And so it seemed kinda crazy to me that my body got as messed up as it did. Since January 3, I’m eating different than I was, than I ever have.  Proof: I got a recipe book from the library with an entry for “Brain Omelet” (that’s calves’ brain, people).  And while I will never (in a million years) be preparing brain omelet, I am now eating with body chemistry and body physiology in mind like I never have before.  Ever heard of re-colonizing a digestive track? You can do it with kefir.  (My Iowa friends give me an are-you-on-crack face when I mention kefir. But come on, West Coast, you’ve got to be friends with kefir. I just know it.)
Did you know you might get fewer stomach aches if your grains are soaked in water and an acid for 24 hours before cooking? Yeah, I’m back to that again—soaking grains and legumes. I’m fermenting and growing things on my counter before ingesting them. I made my own wild yeast starter for sourdough, and I’m baking bread. It’s happening. Oh, and apparently, experiments with enemas help, but I'm skipping out on those.
The hard part of all this is my offspring, who nightly tell me I’m Hitler the worst mother in the world, that I’m ruining their lives with the stricter rules about sugar.  God help them, they can only have two cookies after dinner.  “In the old days, you would have let me have three!”  “In the old days” = a temporary lapse in judgment since moving four months ago.  I was busy painting their rooms--and so of course they could have ten cookies for dessert?

The upside is that I think I feel better, though it’s slow going, and the hot flash situation is not resolved. The most educational part about it all is that I bought two shares in a herd of dairy cows on an Amish farm.  It’s illegal to sell raw milk in Iowa, and so I don’t buy raw milk. I already own some (now that I bought some shares in a herd of cows).  And when I went to pick up my raw milk for the first time last week, my Camry bouncing over a muddy rutted lane, I called out my window to a little Amish boy, circa age 7, who replied to me in a the most adorable German accent that I could pick up my milk right down the lane.  As my friend Rene and I drove through the farmstead, we passed a barn with the door open. From the ceiling hung two sides of an unfortunate animal (cow, I’m assuming), just curing in the foggy January air. Clara, the Amish woman who sold me a share of dairy cows, gave me my gallon jugs of raw milk and pointed out for me the cream line a third of the way down the gallon.  These are organic-fed, pastured cows—lots of omega-3s in their milk.  Still, I had no ideas cows were this prolific when it came to cream.

There is something really beautiful and pleasing about making my own butter or cheese from milk that has never been at a grocery store.  Something really comforting about all the jars-covered-with-cheesecloth that perch on my counter in various stages of soaking/culturing/fermenting. Something unseen, mysterious, is happening in all those bottles and jars, and my body will find out what in 24-48 hours. My body will be happier for it.
Will I always eat this way? I don't know and I don't care. It’s just how I’m living now, to get up out of this hole.

1 comment:

Cate said...

It's too bad that all takes so much TIME. It's all I can do to focus on buying/cooking good food and using it before it spoils, let alone soaking grains and churning butter. Also, maybe I'm a bad Californian, but 25 years in CA vs. 3 in Iowa and I have no idea what kefir is. :(