Back to Eating Like When I Was Thirteen… Mostly

When I get so lost that I forget where I was going… I stop, take a few deep breaths, and then continue paddling forward. My gut and I have been approaching eating in this way since last October… But fresh focus and deep breathing has not resulted in the revelation of a dietary plan we can follow for good. The most recent attempt, which never materialized (thank goodness!), consisted of a designed diet that was to take into account all my health needs.

I spent a week or so reading about how this food molecule reacted with that other one; and how a different food was great for my stomach, but if I ate it too close in time to this other one, then the combination would turn the bacteria squatting in my intestines into The Hulk.

In a moment of pure frustration… right after my nutritionist and I realized that regardless of how we approached the situation, I would end up eating the same things over and over and over… I said, “You know, I had no stomach problems when I was a kid. Maybe I should just stuff my face with what I used to eat then, and see what happens.” To my relief—and if exhales are any indicators, to the relief of my nutritionist, too—he agreed with the spirit of my outburst (I might’ve been yelling when I made the proposal *cough*).

While growing up, the bulk of my diet was fruits and vegetables. Egg, fish, poultry and meat were used almost as condiments. I drank tea in the same way other children drank milk; I hated milk. And I would not touch rice or beans without the encouragement of bribery.

My days started with wormwood tea, chased with a cup of sweet ginger tea. The first was intended to treat intestinal parasites; the latter to keep me from going into dramatic shock, due to the disgustingly bitter taste of wormwood tea. Breakfast was a boiled green banana or plantain with a boiled egg. Sometimes we would go wild and have some cassava or white-fleshed sweet potato instead of banana or plantain… the egg was rarely substituted.

Lunch was rice, beans and some kind of meat or fish or vegetable in sauce. Whenever I got my way, I would eat a fried or charcoal-baked green banana. Dinner and breakfast looked very similar, but the egg was fried or substituted by something like salami. I didn’t like the smell of salami, so I just ate my banana. On cool days, we had hot chocolate and bread, or something like it. No milk in my hot chocolate… unless someone wanted to see me gag.

So… I can’t really replicate what I ate when I was younger and wilder… and with a less ridiculous digestive system—I mean, we grew or raised most of what we ate—but I can eliminate processed foods (and things like dairy and too much meat) almost completely.

And if this doesn’t work either, then I shall crack my fingers, bare my teeth, rub my tummy, and come up with something else… How do you get over life’s hurdles, my Wicked Luvs?

Baked Shrimp and Veggies with Ginger, Dill and Orange Juice
(last night’s dinner)
Baked Shrimp and Veggies with Ginger, Dill and Orange Juice

– 13 shelled shrimps (defrost and pat dry)
– ½ cup baby red potatoes (sliced)
– ½ cup carrots (sliced and then cut into half inch chunks)
– 1 medium orange (juiced without pulp… about 2 oz.)
– 2 oz. ginger (cut in strips)
– 1 tsp. dried dill
– ¼ tsp. of olive oil
– Salt to taste (I use less than ¼ of a tsp.)

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
• In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil
• Add shrimp, ginger and dill, and sauté over high heat (stirring frequently) until there is no visible moisture left in the pan
• Add potatoes, carrots and salt; stir for a few seconds;
• Add orange juice and remove from heat
• Pour the contents of the sauté pan in a small baking pan, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 21 minutes
• Remove foil, and bake uncovered for 13 more minutes

* makes about two cups