If You Feel Too Old to Live Like You Have Always Wanted To…

This morning, as my steel cut oats simmered on the stove and I went through my cabinets in order to remove any condiments made with onion or garlic, a person I love very much messaged me to say that she felt too old. “I really wanted to help people,” she wrote. “If I could change time, I would go back and become a doctor.”

I added brown sugar and a pinch of salt to my steel cut oats and began to pan-roast five pecan halves, before replying to the text. You see, my Wicked Luvs, words implying that someone feels he or she is running out of time are not to be taken lightly. In my reply, I said that we should talk about this on the phone. And that “It’s never too late to do what our hearts call for [what our souls need]. If we are alive, we can find a way.”

The latter bit of the text sounds a bit cliché. I know that. Yet, that doesn’t keep it from being true. This person has done so much helping already. I reminded her that “Sometimes is difficult to see our own worth, but those outside… notice.” I’ve noticed the deeds of her huge giving heart a lot.

After adding two table spoons of coconut milk to the creamy oats, I stared at my half empty spices cabinet. I had no idea so many of my condiments had onion and garlic in them! My gastroenterologist put me on a mildly strict low FODMAP diet—no fructose, no lactose, no fructans, no galactans, no polyols. Which translates to no onions, no garlic, no most-of-the-stuff-I’ve-been-eating-for-the-last-almost-38-years of my witchy life… and no mangoes.

With all that in front of me, I started thinking, I’m so freaking lucky. That might sound a tad ridiculous coming from someone whose bones and gut seem to be aging three times faster than the rest of her. But I do feel lucky, my Wicked Luvs. Why? Well, because although all the changes upset me at first, in a day or two I’m back to being my usual chirpy self.

It’s not that I don’t care. Oh, I care so much and so very often. But I am lucky because losing some of the things I love and some of the ones I thought I needed—certain foods, driving, sitting at the dinner table—doesn’t take my happy away. I will miss them. But having them taken from me gives me the opportunity to search for new things.

My gut issues take my fresh onion and my garlic away? Fine! I’ll experiment with onion and garlic infused oils (the fructans in garlic aren’t oil soluble, so I can get the yummy taste without the painful *and embarrassing* tummy consequences). I shall also create a sofrito a la Magaly (yes, I’ll share the recipe). I am going to make all sorts of changes that I suspect will remind me that although I’m not living like I used to, I am still alive and I can choose to make the best of that gift.

If you feel too old to help society as a whole, then help a couple of people who live near you. If you feel too old or too sick to publish a book, then write short stories and submit them to literary journals, magazines; share them online! If you feel too old to live like you’ve always wanted to, then find something different to want just as much and live for that.

With those thoughts still swimming in my mind, I made a cup of French Vanilla coffee, added the roasted pecans to my steel cut oats, and took a bite. And you know what, my Wicked Luvs? I rather like this recipe. I might miss the rich and distinct flavor of evaporated milk, but the coconut milk and pecan combination gives my oats a wild and earthy healthy taste.

Steel Cut Oats - Low FODMAP

– ¼ cup of steel cut oats
– 4 cups of water
– 3 sticks of cinnamon
– 2 tbsp. of coconut milk (canned)
– 2 tsp. of raw sugar
– a pinch of salt
* 5 pecan halves (optional)
* one serving

In a one quart saucepan, bring the water to a brisk boil. Add cinnamon sticks. Let it boil, over medium-high heat, for five minutes. Add the steel cut oats and lower the heat to medium. Let it boil, stirring every now and then to keep from overflowing, until the oats are soft and most of the liquid is gone (about 30 minutes). At this point, I remove the cinnamon sticks, but you can leave them in if you like. Add the sugar, salt, coconut milk, and stir. Set the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. While you wait, crushed the pecans and roast them (I roast mine in a frying pan for 3 minutes or so). Pour your oats into your favorite bowl, sprinkled the hot, roasted pecan on top, and yum, yum, yum. ♥

29 thoughts on “If You Feel Too Old to Live Like You Have Always Wanted To…”

  1. NO MANGOES!!!!!!!??????? I’m sorry …Marine corp or not, fess up..you cried at that news didn’t you…..but you is a canny witchy woman and have concacted a yummy substitute. ( I is hard…every morning I have my oats naked…as in made with water…nothing added) 😀 XXX

    • It will probably sucketh very much for a while. But life has a way of balancing itself. Maybe I will find a new fruit to love, next time I visit the Korean market. I will try many different ones while I’m doing research *cough, cough*).

      Oh, it’s the fructose in mangoes that we are trying to eliminate.

    • When I was in the military, I used to boil the them for a minute the night before, and then cook them for about 15 in the morning. It isn’t bad, but the taste is a little off. I don’t mind the long cook time. I read and plan me day while I wait. 😀

  2. I screamed” No Mango’s!” I won’t eat ” naked oats ice cream, no way”!!!! A second opinion is demanded!
    I understand your friend, getting older isn’t discussed, nearly enough. Dear Magaly, your glass is still half full, others glass is half empty, like it or not. I would say the same things to my Mom. I would flippantly say ” Tina Turner can do it, so can you!” She would look at me disappointed ( that’s usual) and say, ” someday you will understand”. That’s it! The don’t worry dear, everyone gets older talk! Well I will continue to teach my brats opposite to my lessons and on aging, I gently mention, ” that doesn’t feel right anymore” or ” I bore easy now, you carry on!” I keep my dispair to myself, because!…..we all will feel that at some point! So Rock’n Roll with it my cuties!

    • Debi, I hope you live for a very long time. So that when we are both white-headed and wrinkly, I can tell you, “See? Told you. I took that damn glass, shot it, dipped it in see saltwater for a few imagined-years, and made myself a sparkly sea glass necklace to dance in.”

  3. I have moments, about twice a year, when I stop and think “oh hell, what have I done with my life?” I used to dread those moments, but now I take a good look at what I have accomplished, and how I have loved, and moved, and laughed, and grown. And even if I’m not where I imagined I’d be, I find plenty to be grateful for.

    I think you will find that there is still a world of yummy-ness out there – even without fresh onions & garlic. (I feel your pain though – they are some of my favourite veggies!)

    • Exactly! We all have our moments of dread–we are human. The secret is to take the time to remind ourselves that not all our living has been about the uglies. That’s what makes life yummy. And onion and garlic… hot damn! 😀

  4. I blacked out after you said ‘no garlic’.

    But oats? Yes, I do oats. Every day. I don’t know where the evaporated milk would go, but I think you missed the whisky…

    Good luck to you with your diet change. Finding something you like is winning the battle.

  5. Thank you so much for this! “I’m too old” has been part of my vocabulary recently. You’re right, age has nothing to do with it! It’s your outlook. Good luck with all your changes. You are handling all of this beautifully.

  6. I feel like life is just rocketing past me at the moment. So many things to do, so little time. One of my goals this year is to prioritize so I can spend more time on the things I’m really passionate about. I hope your friend can find a way past her regret. Being a doctor is wonderful, but there are other ways to help people, and it sounds like she is already doing it.

    I feel your pain about the food. My stomach issues have meant some things I love are off the menu because they make me sick now, like any kind of concentrated tomato in dishes, or black pepper. *le sigh* But like you, I’m trying to get creative with the ingredients I can eat. 🙂

    [By the way, I have just messaged you a couple of WIP shots on FB of our little project. 😉 ]

    • I completely understand that bit about life happening in front of us at a million miles an hour. It seems that the time I spend dealing with hospital stuff goes by very s l o w l y. But the rest of the time is barely visible. It can be infuriating at times, but we must go forward, right?

      The diet is a tad annoying, but if it works I wouldn’t care if I had to eat the same things every day. I will miss certain things, but I will get over it if the reward for giving them up is to walk around not feeling like I have a basketball in my stomach.

      Yay! for pics. Off to see them!

  7. I feel like I’ve missed part of the ongoing story of your health. I imagine eating differently will become easier when the desired results of no pain manifest. It can be a pain though to relearn how to cook and eat.

    • There has been some ups and downs when it comes to my GI issues. The most severe symptoms are now under control, but the bloating and mild-to moderate pain have been a bit more difficult to get rid off. I’ve been staying away from GMOs and other things my body might not be able to deal with properly. I was on a low fiber diet for a while, but that didn’t help much. Now I’m low FODMAPs and hoping this will make a difference. Fingers crossed, right?

      And like you say, if some dietary exclusions take away the discomfort, then it will be more than worth the trouble!

  8. Firstly, those oats look delicious. Secondly, that is a very sad thought, to feel too old to do what you’ve always wanted to. I try not to regret my choices, because at one time they were exactly what I wanted. And it’s never too late to change your mind. I sometimes feel this way about my degree that I’m at the tail end of. There’s just not a lot of opportunity in my field I feel. I sometimes wish I would have become a midwife instead. But I think the universe has a more enchanted path planned for me than one I ever could have dreamed up myself, so I try to relinquish control and be happy in the garden I’m planted in.

    • Indeed! The trick is in making what we have into what we always wanted. It’s not always easy–not even fun–but if we keep at it, eventually we get there.

      Here is to glasses full-full all the way to the top!

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