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

25 thoughts on “Back to Eating Like When I Was Thirteen… Mostly”

  1. Oh, my!! Your baked shrimp and veggies dish looks deeeeee-licious!!! I hope your tummy likes it because as diets go, this looks like a pretty good one. Yum!!!

    My stomach is rebelling against everything right now. I’m going through a really bad patch with it. Trying to be patient and philosophical, but I’m just about ready to trade it in for a better model. *grumble, grumble* 😉

    • I’ve been on the same boat, when it comes to food actually playing nice with my stomach. All the usual diets keep on failing, so I’ve been trying to put my stomach first before choosing a drink or a meal: I’m packing my food with dill (for gas), sprinkling a lot of cloves and nutmeg in my tea (for the same reason), I gave up the piece of cheese I’m allowed (it keeps my innards from burning)…

      Mind you, that none of the above has truly worked yet… But all we can do is try, hope for the best, and be really grateful we have friends and family to grumble to! That’s what I tell my Piano Man, lol!

      Continue to be patient… I will tell myself the same. ♥

  2. Like you…I makes a plan …grins wickedly…and gets on with it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work…keeps your mind active and the pans even more ingenious 😀 XXX

  3. That dinner sounds delicious! What do I do? Cry some. I’ve been enjoying moaning lately, too. But mostly grin and bear it. When I’m with people I’m much too happy to dwell on it, and I can lose myself in a poem too.

    • I think, Susan, that we are a couple of the lucky ones: we have ways to release the stress (our writing); and having family, friends, a social network… give us people to moan to when we need to. And sometimes, moaning and fish shaking is definitely the healthy thing to do.

  4. What’s that old saying ‘go with your gut’…. gf, your diet when u were a kid is what some articles and talk shows are professing NOW a days…lol…. ginger is the cure all.. Also, the fact u aren’t eating anything processed is the key.. plant forms are the best.. and no mention of red meat… YAY…. Ever since my oldest went to Italy for a few years, she came back lactose intolerant… She adopted the Italian way of eating… not the Italian-American ….*wink wink*…. for the past 10 years, I’ve stopped eating red meat, processed/fast food… more veggies, lost my appetite for pasta, potatoes… fish, chicken…are the only ‘meats’…. My good cholesterol is thru the roof… and the energy is as well… oh and my love for cheese has diminished…shocking huh? but I do love black beans..

    • I’ve always consumed a lot of ginger and other spices that keep my tummy from bloating–it’s always leaned that way. I missed cheese and yogurt so much when all this madness started, but not recently. And you’d never believe it, but I’m even losing my taste for coffee… shocking, indeed.

  5. Ginger is exceedingly wonderous for your digestive system. You may be on to something about how your tummy works. I would say that you certainly had a wise woman in your family that sensed what you needed to start your day off well. Bananas are a folk remedy for the bowels. Ripe bananas prevent constipation, unripe ones will alleviate looseness. You might see how well you tolerate turmeric. It is awesome for inflammation anywhere in the body. I never had a weight problem as a child. I lived for being outside and subsisted on pinto beans and cornbread and sucked on lemons and loved chocolate. Hope things work out.

    • I’ve yet to add turmeric to my cooking, but I’ve been reading about it (to make sure that it doesn’t end up messing up something else). I’m starting to practice preventive cooking–choosing my spices base on how well they work against an existing condition. I just started doing this, but as of right now the results are good. *fingers crossed!*

      And you are so right about the “wise woman” bit. I used to hate that wormwood tea; was so happy when I was old enough to choose not to drink it… Looking back, it seems I might have done a very silly thing.

      But we live, relearn what we’ve forgotten, forgive ourselves for being ridiculous, and then we live some more, right? 🙂

      • Magaly, just to let you know, my mom tried turmeric, for her pain of her arthritis. I am not sure what happened, but she had a reaction and stopped it. Something in her tummy. Thought I would let you know ;o)

        • One of the studies I read said that people who took consumed large amounts daily experienced things like upset stomach, GERD, palpitations and all sort of things… so I am being rather conservative in my taking.

  6. Wow, what a gorgeous recipe. I love shrimps!

    Your younger self had such a wonderfully healthy diet. I was one of five children and my parents would cook lots of large pan meals like pasta, soups and stews, so there’s be plenty to go around.

    I have IBS and have had trouble with my digestive system for a good many years. It took a lot of time and patience to discover which foods caused the pain. I do find it difficult to eliminate certain foods and certainly face the consequences when I can’t resist them. In the evenings, I tend to make a large pan of something I can either eat cold or reheat the next day, and this (sometimes) stops me reaching for all the things I crave but can’t have.

    I hope you’re having a perfect weekend ♥

    • I’m so glad you, and others, are sharing the issues IBS has brought into your life. This is a difficult path to walk, and things can get even more complex (and frustrating) if we think we are alone.

      About dealing with consequences of our trespasses *cough*, in a couple of weeks I shall tell you how it goes for me: I’m planning to eat half a slice of pizza. Yes, I live wildly like that! 😀

  7. So difficult working with one’s body chemistry–always groping in the dark. It’s taken forty years of dieting to realize I have a wonderfully tolerant stomach that loves all food, with the slight side issue (ahem) that I can’t eat sweets, starch or complex carbs of any kind–processed or unprocessed, whole grain or junk, without gaining weight, slowly, incrementally, at about two pounds a week. I pretty much have to eat only lean meat and green veggies or become the giant doughboy in Ghostbusters.

    Obviously, I was cunningly designed to be one of those who survive when the Great Famine wipes out all life on earth except those who can live on grasshoppers and stored fat for months and years. I am so sick of meat, words cannot describe it, and would love to be vegetarian, but then I would have to buy a new house, because I wouldn’t be able to get through the doors. I feel for you very much, Magaly, and I hope you find a way to make peace with your innards. I wouldn’t be surprised if your difficulties were environmental in some way.

    • You’ve made me laugh so hard; thanks sooo much for that. This can get so hair-ripping annoying. Without patience and a lot of humor, this thing will never work… I swear that someone stole my digestive system and metabolism while I was sleeping, and gave me someone else’s damaged goods… It will take some time to get used to the low quality gut, but I’ll manage. And then I, too, shall walk the path of She Who Knows What to Eat.

      I’m crossing my fingers for all my troubles to be environmental and behavioral. Because if getting better depends on me, well, then I got this!

  8. When I was a child I always wanted fruit but my mom rarely bought any (she was all about cooked food and vegetables). I was frequently constipated and my mom’s solution was laxatives… Since I moved away from home at 18 I have always had a big fruit bowl at home, and I have never had any such issues again. I hope eating what your body is naturally craving will get you back on track.

    • My digestive issues started when my doctor had to tweak my diet, as a way to fight my bleeding… I think the “solution” created more problems. I’m like you when it comes to fruit: it I don’t eat it (and a lot of it), my gut and other bits get really unhappy.

  9. When we’re forced to be creative based on dietary restrictions wonderful things can be concocted! This looks YUMMMM. Inspired my dear Magaly, for some delicious healthy cooking!

  10. That looks so good! My mouth is watering!!! How do I get over life’s hurdles? Over the past few years, I have learned patience. And, I am still learning it! That, and crying, being stubborn, meditating, dancing, gardening. I think that’s it! LOL!

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