Monday, October 3, 2011

Confessions and Lessons

I'm not sure how it happened. I haven't eaten sugar for 9 months. I don't even want it. But on the counter, my son's edible model of an animal cell and all its components lay unattended. At first it was only a single Skittle, but then it was the leftover cake pieces, the icing, the licorice...they all leaped from their resting place into my open mouth. Oh horror! What was I doing?

But that wasn't the worst of it. I binged on nuts, too - unsoaked at that! What happened next was no surprise to anyone familiar with the lysine-arginine ratio of nuts and refined white sugar. The following morning, my mouth was a hotbed of raw canker sores, even on the underside of my tongue. Talking was painful, eating excruciating. Any further escapade into the land of sweets was out of the question. Even the natural fructose of whole fruits made my mouth burn. I was determined to eat only the best foods. I re-committed. Carefully I prepared a Hugh Maughn Gus salad. Oh, the torture! (Raw vegetables are not exactly smooth and creamy. Every bite scraped my inner cheeks, my gums, my tongue.) Good day for a fast, I thought. But the next day was no better. The scales showed I was losing weight. At 5'10" tall and a slim 140 lbs., weight loss is not particularly desirable. I succumbed to ibuprofen tablets and lysine supplements.

How long would this go on? Should I venture into the more soothing arena of Alfredo sauces, buttery mashed potatoes, and soft white bread? NO! Once was enough! How could I even consider it! I must persevere. Luckily, on the fourth day, I found a cure: a mouth rinse of rosemary-sage-mint tea used 3-4 times per day. Quickly the inflammation subsided, the rawness ceased, the burning extinguished. Aaaahhh! How grateful I was for my morning smoothie, my lunchtime salad and my dinner soup.

And I learned a few things:
  • Don't let spilled milk ruin the meal. I could have used my error to justify more errors. That would have only made things worse. Instead, I chose to pick up from where I was and move on. What happened was done, over, and behind me. The sores would be a reminder to make wise choices in the future.
  • Feed the need. By examining my eating habits over the previous week, I realized that I had not been giving myself sufficient nutrients and calories. My body was crying for more. So when an opportunity presented itself, I fell. If I had been adequately nourishing myself, filling the basic physical requirements, the treats on the counter would not have even been a temptation. For me, the lesson was to get back to basics, remember my 2 pounds of vegetables, 4 servings of fruit, cup of beans, wise use of grains and limited nut intake.
  • Weigh the pleasure against the skunk's stench. A story is told of a group of teenage boys who decided a midnight adventure of outhouse-tipping would be a gleeful caper - until one of them tripped over a skunk. The resulting odor was definitely NOT worth the fling. So it is with eating off the nutritarian menu. Are the consequences worth the risk?
Well, the silver lining of the whole story is that in my attempt to eat something soothing, I created a creamy bean soup, posted below. I hope you enjoy it - and never have a mouth full of cankers!

To your health and happiness,

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