Posts tagged ‘Diet’

When you are a parent of a child with severe food allergies, you constantly walk along a cliff, looking down, watching every step, trying to make sure you don’t plunge off the edge.  Most of the time, through diligence, patience, and a lot of home cooking, you can stroll along with a wide comfort zone between you and the abyss.  Sometimes, though, circumstances push you closer and closer to the edge, to the point that, with every step, gravel and small rocks slip from beneath your feet and tumble down while you flail desperately to keep from following.  You know that if you do fall, there is a pretty good chance that you will be able to grab that rope called “Epinephrine Auto-Injector”, and it will help prevent certain doom, but it is always a last resort.

For the most part, we have done OK, but this morning we were reminded of just how precarious our journey is.  When my son woke up, he had the tell-tale polka-dot rash spreading out from his neck and down across his torso, front and back.  Thank you, cross-contamination.  We got take-away for dinner last night from a trusted location (one that we have researched and know the menu and ingredients and what is safe and what is not).  My son enjoyed his meal, but had an uncomfortable overnight, and woke this morning with the rash.  Our best guess is that someone had cheese on their gloves when they grabbed his chicken, or somehow a drop of ice cream somehow got onto his food.  No matter, it happened, and there was nothing we could do about it.  Allergy-inducing proteins are invisible.  They don’t come in bright colors or carry signs to alert you of their presence.  They just lurk in the shadows, waiting to pounce, given the opportunity.

I didn’t choose this journey, but it is mine, along with my husband and my child.  We look to each other on a daily basis to check our footing, and reach out to catch each other when one of us starts to slip.  It is never pleasant, never easy, and never-ending.  Thankfully, it has been a while since we have had to use our auto-injector, but I have to erase my mental chalkboard of “Days Without an Allergic Reaction” and reset it to 0.    While our trek continues, just once, I would like to be able to stop and enjoy the view from Life on the Edge.

I am home from my mini-vacation.  I didn’t think it was possible, but I now understand how some of these “Reality TV” shows do what they do.  I am talking about the ones where the celebrity/host shows up at the target’s home and gives them a week to change their life.  Whether it is how much stuff they have, their diet and exercise program, the spending/hoarding issues, or the horrible decorating, these professionals can create change in one week.  In my naiveté, I assumed that the unseen production crew and army of assistants did most of the heavy lifting in these situations, and the hapless family just stood by and watched their lives being completely rearranged to the extent that, when they are finally returned to their homes, they have no option but to accept the changes that have been wrought on their behalf.  I know now that the changes are not that drastic – it just takes the proper approach and presentation.

Specifically, I am talking about my own personal diet, and the eating habits of my family.  For too long, we have been in a rut of greasy burgers and fries and pizza and fat and calories.  While I know I may not be able to change my family overnight, or even in a week, I am slowly going to shift their consciousness toward eating a healthier diet.  I came to this place after spending only a few days away from home, but the important part was where I spent it.  I was in  a place where no less that three organic grocery stores were competing with no less than three traditional grocery stores for the healthy food dollar of the local consumer.  And all of this was in a town of only 55,000 people.  Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s were literally one block apart, and yet both stores were doing brisk business while I was there.  Fruits and vegetables were plentiful and tasty.  My diet for the weekend included almost no beef or pork, just a little chicken, and the rest was a composite of grains and produce, with some pasta for variety.  Lots of water (love the water!) and juice and tea.  When I had dessert, it seemed almost too much, rather than the satisfaction of the chocolate cravings I have been so familiar with in the past.  In short, spending just a few days in a “healthy-eating” environment changed how I think about my own eating habits.
Now that I am home, I am determined to keep up with these changes.  I have been paying more attention to what I am putting into my mouth and what I am serving my family.  The boys were resistant, but my husband willingly tried the rice-quinoa pilaf I served with dinner the other night.  Big salads are becoming common, whether they are fruit or vegetable.  Yogurt is a must.  And I am finding that the better I am eating, the less I am craving those desserts.  The other night, I had a slice of triple chocolate cheesecake after dinner, and just felt terrible afterward.  Talk about a sign of the times!  One co-worker told me she was giving me a week before I revert to my old habits.  My husband said two.  But I am going to prove them wrong.  And if I happen to loose a few pounds along the way, I will accept that as one of those happy fringe benefits.  Look out summer, here I come!