Taking Control

Today I took back control of the kitchen–sort of. Mom loves to cook but her version of cooking is more like doctoring up pre-packaged and/or frozen entrees. I confess, she has a knack for combining foods into a casserole or soup that is tasty but, because much of what she makes has a foundation in “processed,” the empty calories leave me hungry again all too soon after I eat. I have a lot of problems with digestion: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, borderline Crohn’s Disease, Celiac’s Disease, and, while I seem to tolerate things like cheese or yogurt (i.e. fermented dairy products), just drinking a glass of milk does not agree with me. So, tired of being one with “john” and frequent stomachaches, I took back the keys to the fridge, so to speak. My body just cannot handle the processed cuisine that constitutes much of Mom’s culinary success.
Spaghetti squash, baked in the oven, freshly-baked bread (without the gluten, whole grain), salmon, and a medley of vegetables steamed in a non-dairy alfredo sauce are on the menu.
I have to be careful though on how I take back this control. Mom’s fragile; she gets her feelings hurt easily and I don’t want to hurt her by taking it all back…but I also don’t want to be sick. I took the coward’s way out and, instead of telling her I was taking the keys back, I simply started baking squash and bread early.
Poor Mom! She tries. She really does. But cooking whole foods, cooking from scratch, etc. are alien battlefield for her (and, while I hate to be another baby blaming my parents for all the woes in my life, the processed cuisine is probably the reason I have so many issues with digestion…). Adding vegetables to a meal is opening up a can of corn or peas. She does make broccoli on occasion…over-cooked to the consistency of mush. Yet she made stuffed peppers the other day using the recipe I use for veggie burgers and, while the results should have been superb, she neglected to par boil the peppers before she stuffed them and they came out tough and under-cooked. She’d never even heard of spaghetti squash until about a month ago. Kale chips were a hit, especially liberally sprinkled with nutritional yeast. The homemade bread and butter pickles were also a hit. Swiss chard was okay; collard greens were, too. Roasted chestnuts didn’t go over all that well. She drew the line at hummus. And my failed attempt to make homemade gelatin using “Green Goodness” juice from Bolthouse (and I can’t say I blame her there…(smile)).
It’s cute the way she reacts whenever I introduce her to something new. There’s a look of panic on her face, like I am trying to poison her or something. She has to ask me at least a couple of times if it is safe to eat. Even after she’s watched me consume some of it–whatever it is–she’s still hesitant. And, it’s as if she’s doing the same thing in the other direction–purchasing the latest junk food craze and endeavoring to get me to try it. She bought a “carrot roll” that had everything unpronounceable in it, enough sugar to jump start a day care center for a week, but no carrots. I took a couple of small bites just to appease her. It was dreadful. I could feel my backside contracting in protest.
I’m not sure where this is all going, except that the latest health issues that have been plaguing me since Mom took over kitchen detail in the fall, are proof to me how important it is to eat healthy, whole foods instead of all that packaged, over-processed stuff that lines the bulk of the supermarket shelves. It re-affirms for me my commitment to homesteading, to be responsible for growing much of my pesco-vegetarian diet and getting away from commercial food products. My intestinal tract will be happy about this commitment even if Mom isn’t.
God bless you & keep you!

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