Friday, November 05, 2010

Food dancing

Giving up control over my kids' food choices was a long, hard road. Floating, taunting GMO, pesticide, dye and corn syrup monsters would swirl around my head, laughing at my inability to protect my kids, every time they ate anything that wasn't organic or was too processed. I didn't always say something, but said enough to make a big issue out of food. This resulted in Gillen sneaking sugary foods into his room and in him biking to the store to find the choices that were denied him at home.

We have come through this difficult time. I backed off a few years ago and have learned that the kids do make good choices on their own. They love vegetables and eat them all the time. They eat them raw at the farm and they happily eat things like kale salad, vegetable soups or sauteed Bok Choi. They also like sugar, a lot, but prefer the natural sodas and homemade baked stuff to the nerds and airheads, for the most part.

I realized, a few months ago, that Gillen may have the gluten-intolerance that my father and sister and I have. He was having some of the same symptoms. In order to find out, Nicolas, Jesse, Gillen and I did an elimination diet/cleanse, for a week. We ate no corn, gluten, sugar, caffeine, meat, beans, potatoes or dairy. We ate a lot of fruit smoothies, brown rice, quinoa tabouli, stir fries, soup, fish, vegetables and good oils. The first few days were very difficult for Gillen, but he hung on for the whole seven days. The coloring in his face changed, he slimmed down and he had more energy. He told us that he felt great. The rest of us got a lot out of it as well. This was right before Halloween and the candy just didn't taste like we wanted it to. Our taste buds had changed.

Gillen is still going to eat gluten and sugar. When he reintroduced gluten, he didn't notice any huge difference in his body. He is eating less of it. If he does has a gluten-intolerance, he will deal with it when he is ready. Now that he has a reference in his body for what it feels like to only eat lots of non-processed pure food, he appreciates eating it even more.

At the beginning of the cleanse, Gillen happened to discover Anthony Bourdain, food adventurer, on netflix instant view. Over the last few weeks, we have traveled with Bourdain to eat in Vietnam, China, France (that one was during the cleanse - ridiculous that we kept cleansing instead of eating French cheeses!), Sicily, New Jersey..., last night - Polynesia. It is a fantastic show, besides the fact that it makes us all want to move immediately to each location - well, maybe not the one in Finland that was filmed in winter. It's making me want to eat cool fish and coconut milk concoctions for breakfast, like they did in Polynesia, and to consider eating parts of animals and fish that I would never have considered even looking at before (not that the kids have the same reaction). Food and its preparation is so diverse and gives us such a tangible link to a location that we may not get to see in person.

I'm ready to eat even more meals with all locally-produced ingredients. The cleanse reminded us of just how much we can do with our vegetables. But I can't imagine eating this way to the exclusion of unagi (smoked eel in sushi) or Asian meals that call for imported spices, or cheeses and chocolate that come from Europe (although more and more raw, aged cheeses are being produced in America). We can't afford a whole lot of these which makes them that much more special when we do get them.

I'm glad to have let go of the protective health fanatic persona that used to try to run the show. Now, food is a dance between following our senses, our associations, our opportunities for something new and different and following our knowledge. Hopefully, we have left behind the fear.

Willie, the new puppy, frequently follows her nose to the compost pile. The other day we saw her black blur running by under a big orange pumpkin.
Turns out that pumpkin is not a good choice for puppies. It was a stinky afternoon.
I love that Nicolas volunteered to help make thumbprint cookies with Jesse the other night, late.

The next night, my turn, we made old fashioned custard. Not exactly exotic, but oh so good.

All this food rambling is here to remind me to trust. It's always been easier for me in other areas than in this one.