Saturday, November 28, 2009

More to be thankful for

This year's Thanksgiving was extra special because it was also the weekend we celebrated my sister Bridget's engagement to Kico. We had lots of friends and family come to visit. Especially members of Kico's family. This was great for me because I grew up with a big extended family (originally a big farm family) and family for me is something you can always enjoy more of. Meeting the little girl cousins was especially fun.

This little girl particularly loved the mashed potatoes. My mom made them with potatoes I got at Scenic View Orchards. I bought half a bushel for $14 at the last market, which seemed like a steal to me. The potatoes were literally white as snow.

I made a couple of dishes, including a coconut curry rice dish that had nothing local in it. But I also made a butternut squash and sweet potato casserole with a caramel sauce that used my friend Chad's sweet potatoes and a butternut squash from I think Jubilee. The colors of this dish were very fall and I loved the black flecks on the casserole dish. I made up both dishes as I went along. For example I poured the liquid off the bottom of the casserole and reduced it to a caramel sauce, mixing in apple juice for flavor. Then I poured it on top of the dish and broiled it.

I got a lot more compliments for the rice than I did for the casserole, though I thought the casserole was better. Something I am noticing too is that as I have begun to eat a lot more healthily, my tastes have changed a lot. A lot of times sweet potato dishes are extremely sweet, and I am not a fan. I like to temper the sweetness with the vegetal notes of the tubers. But that may not have been what people were expecting.

I ate something that triggered a food allergy. I had a suspicion there might be gluten in the chicken broth mom used for the gravy and I looked it up on the internet. And it did. I not only got tired, I staggered. This had nothing to do with alcohol, because I decided not to have any; It also was not the turkey. The reaction was actually something I was happy about- I think I have really begun to get to the bottom of what has plagued my my whole life- an autoimmune reaction to wheat, dairy, and maybe a few other things. Now that I have eliminated these foods from my diet, I can tell within minutes of eating them. That means to me that if I don't eat them, I won't be a zombie anymore. The other benefit of being food sensitive is that it causes me to either cook for myself or go to places that cater to people with allergies, which are always places that use fresh, whole foods. So I get to be awake and eat healthier.

People felt sorry for me going into the holidays because I picked this time do do my elimination diet. But I had plenty to eat and was glad that I felt so much better in general than I ever have. I also still got to talk to everyone and enjoy them, and that's most of the holiday for me.

I was talking to a friend the other day about my new way of eating, and I remarked how interesting it was that the answer to my problems in the long run was not to add something like a medicine to my life, but to remove something from my diet. My friend told me that is counterintuitive to our commercial culture, where we have to buy something for all of our problems.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. May you be blessed with just enough: an abundance of family and friends, and an elimination of the things that are not benefiting your life.

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