I’m not exactly a paragon of virtue, and among those virtues is “healthy lifestyle.” Apparently, I’m now also paying the price of using my body without any regard for its long term condition along the way. It probably doesn’t help any that I’ve been doing it that way for the last half century either.
So, after turning fifty, it has seemed as though my body went on strike. I now have a bunch of pills to take daily, as all sorts of issues are being addressed. Most of them have arrived since August, when things seemed to just hit the fan with me. Needless to say, misery doesn’t like company, or much of anything else.
Now my New Year’s resolution was to eat chocolate daily, which sounds a bit silly, but was a lot more symbolic than most people realize. The chocolate represents taking care of me and my wants and desires and needs, and to remember that a little bit of pampering, consideration, care, and attention can go a long ways towards making sure that I can do the things that are important to me. Without that attention and care, I’m afraid I’d not be walking this world too much longer either.
Along with that has come attention to our diet. Our food budget is tight, and we don’t exactly live in a hot bed for organic foods either. I haven’t been able to find a store that I would call a “health food store” along the Gulf Coast in Mississippi or even in Mobile, Alabama. The closest I’ve come is the familiar chain with its shelves of bottles of snake oil and magical menders, which isn’t what I’m searching for. I want organic, non-GMO foods, herbs, whole grains…that kind of stuff. When Walmart is your biggest supplier of “health food”, you know you are in trouble.
But even on the shelves of mass produced foods, not all foods are created equally. We didn’t have to continue consuming over processed, over salted, and over priced foods. It just meant learning to eat a bit differently, and this lesson was one my digestive tract, already on protest from the pills it was expected to process to keep assorted parts healthy, would really appreciate.
I used to drink a lot of coffee. I’d typically sip on a cup virtually continuously through the day, as it ranged from fresh and hot to scum-forming tepid brew. It’s gone up in price, I’ve cut down on consumption, switching to teas. For the past few months, I’d been drinking very diluted tea as I typically would stretch a single teabag through three twenty ounce cups, sipping a variety of teas, with a strong preference for Bigelow’s Spiced Chai. By the time I drank that third cup, it was scarcely more than colored water with sugar and cream (with the chai.)
So, I made the decision today to start drinking chamomile tea. I have insomnia, an unhappy stomach/intestinal tract, plenty of inflammation and aggravation, ample stress, etc. Chamomile tea is great stuff, once you get used to its mild flavor. It’s also great for migraines, PMS, stomach cramps, insomnia, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. So…I’ll cut back on my regular tea consumption, drink chamomile for a week, see how it goes. I have to admit though, I’m looking forward to brewing a pot of coffee tomorrow morning!
Whole grains aren’t as easy. There is a very limited selection of grains to cook and use similar to rice. Even in rice options in the grocery stores in this region the choices are limited, unless you want long grain white rice! Typically, the Gulf Coast’s groceries will offer more kinds of long grain white rice than they do of all of the other “special” varieties together. This includes plain old brown rice too. Forget anything exotic like black japonica, Christmas rice, etc. Not even wild rice was offered at our local Walmart! They did have a Lundberg long grain/wild rice combination but that was it.
Vegetables…we can avoid the over processed canned vegetables and buy the frozen ones. It’s a bit more expensive, not as convenient since we have a micro-refrigerator with an even smaller freezer, but they are a bit better than the canned. Frozen vegetables are also a better bet than sad, wilted fresh vegetables in terms of nutritional benefit. Once again, the key is to avoid the varieties that come with “sauce”, as the sauces are highly processed and high calorie too.
These aren’t huge changes. They are small changes. But, every journey starts with a single step. This is our single step. I just hope the journey turns out to be worth it!