Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Delicate Flowers Fight Back

I've been struggling the past week or so to get some amount of control over my aches and pains. First it was my left pointer finger, which then spread down to my wrist. Then in a fit of capriciousness, it left my hand entirely (although I'm starting to get arthritis joint in my finger: that bony growth that makes your hands look spooky and old. ) and this time it went down to my feet. Everywhere. Toes, soles, ankle bone, you name it. I downed every supplement and enzyme I had in my arsenal, and finally, FINALLY I am back to normal without having to increase the steroids. I'm a delicate flower.
My coworker, Olga, hurt her back a few months ago by simply throwing her hair over her head as she was blowdrying it. A simple act, one we take for granted - but she doesn't take it for granted anymore. Now she has a bulging disk, and it's taking months to heal. She's a delicate flower, and she's only in her early 30s.
Another coworker, Greg, has kidney stones. He is 26. Another delicate flower who is way too young to be one.
My daughter Katie has been a delicate flower for years now. I used to feel guilty because she had so many aches and pains: knee surgeries, broken neck, headaches. It was very hard to see a girl who loved sports and dancing hurt so much all the time while I felt pretty good. I've developed a real empathy for how she feels now. It's been a long time since I've had a day where I felt perfect with no pain anywhere. Now (as I'm sure she is) I'm just thankful for a day where only my finger hurts, or I'm just a little stiff.
I guess my point is that we need to appreciate our good health a lot more than we do. And we also need to protect it. When I think of all the garbage that I used to eat - the junk food, the processed food, the food just laden with chemicals - I feel such responsibility for the shape I'm in now. I knew better, but I thought I was invincible. My daughter is much smarter. She really tries to do the healthy thing every day for her family. Fresh fruits and veggies, chicken, fish, good stuff.
I'm seeing a doctor now that I've been learning some amazing things from. The process has been slow, but after two years I'm starting to see the benefits of all the major diet changes we've made. I can't say I'm 100% compliant, but I do try. I've discovered that there's almost nothing that you can't make from soy, including cheese. And most of it is pretty good. Give soy ice cream a try (or better yet, the Trader Joe's Cuties: soy ice cream sandwiches- yummy!) Cutting (for the most part) dairy, oats, yeast, cane sugar (oh, this one is very hard - nearly impossible, but I am limiting consumption), and a small host of minor items (cranberries and celery of all things!) I have succeeded in greatly reducing my steroid medication (like, I'm almost off of it!), and I feel really good most of the time with much less medicine. It hasn't been easy, and most of the time I'm really excited about it, but not many other people are. Most folks don't want to talk about limiting things from their diet. My brother has RA much worse than I do, but I can't get him to make any changes - he just laughs and says he doesn't want to have to cut out his favorite things. Well, you can lead a horse to water... I don't want to be in so much pain that my favorite things lose their cache, I guess.

So I guess to the rest of you delicate flowers - and even to you lucky ones who have avoided any health crisis - take good care of yourselves. Do good for your body. Exercise - doesn't have to be Olympian. Just do what you can. Some days, all I can manage are a few stretches, or a quiet walk. But do what little you can manage, and I promise you, that in a short while, you'll be able to do more. Don't wait until it's too late to manage the kinds of foods you eat. You can still have all the delicious things you love (mmmmm...lemon cake... and Vanilla JoJo's) - you just have them a little less, and have more good, fresh food. And if you have any new tricks, I'm always a listening ear. I'm a delicate flower health nut - or just a delicate nut.

I'm telling you, last night I cooked something I can't wait to cook again. For all of you folks who hate scallops, just listen: when you cook them this way, they are NOT rubbery. Here's how:
Put a small amount of olive oil in a large frying pan - just enough to cover the bottom. Heat it until very hot and then throw in (carefully) the scallops. They will spatter like anything, so be careful. I threw them in from about 2 feet away. Cook them until seared and brown with a slight crust and then remove them from the pan. Put in some butter, a couple of cloves of minced garlic, and some fresh lemon juice. Saute the garlic. You'll notice that there are, like, pan drippings from the scallops. That's ok. Just stir it around in the butter, juice and with the garlic. When the garlic is softened, mix the scallops back in and heat all together on low. Have spinach leaves, chopped walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese (a small concession to dairy...) and a balsamic vinaigrette tossed on each plate. Spoon the hot scallops and drippings over each plate.

I had something like it at Macaroni Grill (picture from the menu above), and between Scott (who works there and has seen it made) and LaMar (the master of the hot frying pan) I was able to make a reasonable facsimile. SO GOOD! Let me know if any of you delicate flowers out there try it. You're gonna love it.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmm! DELISH! Can't wait to make it. I totally connected to this post on so many levels. I was just telling Zach the other day that I haven't had a day where something didn't hurt in I don't know how long! Every day its something, but it just becomes my reality and I don't notice it as much. As soon as I can breathe without my ribs, back and chest hurting I'll get back to exercising! As for eating healthy, I think you're better at it than I am, but I do try...I just think I've been in a funk lately! Thanks for the recipe!


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