We share certain traits, brown hair, long legs, big boobs, and a wonky left hip that flares with arthritis in old age.
We share kind hearts, weak immune systems, asthma and a smattering of good old fashioned melancholia that rears its ugly head from time to time.
Poverty, malnutrition, coal mine dust haunt our genetics. We have also suffered at the hands of pharmaceuticals and conventional treatments focused on quieting symptoms rather than pursuing the root cause.
All of this is woven into my story, her-story, our story. These things quietly trickle on down the line, accepted and unspoken in fear that others will think less of you. Mothers cautiously condition daughters to "Be a Good Girl because The Doctor Knows Best" and "Que Sera, Sera, Whatever Will Be, Will Be". Enraged, I've spent half my life rattling the cage and unraveling these tightly wound threads.
My poor mother despairs in my difficult, wild nature. Food and health have become a fierce subject between us. I gently rub a handmade pain cream on her back. This cream has helped friends with their arthritic pain. Just try it for a while I plead. She agrees in one breathe but in the other pleads to me go see a doctor because I should have tests and mammograms and other things because what If I am sick??
I take a deep breathe and hold back my rant. We've had this argument a kazillion times.
Sometimes I remind her of all the unnecessary harm she's suffered, I've suffered, my aunt has suffered, her mother suffered, through the medical system.
I have examples and specifics going back generations and ending with myself. I ask her why she does not feel that I know what's best for myself? These thoughts run through my head but I take a deep breath, smile and shut my mouth.
Instead of lecturing her, I make lunch smiling victoriously as I pick dandelions in front of the kitchen window. They can see me gathering lunch and I know it pushes them out of their comfort zone. I am a good cook and they enjoy the food we prepare but still, it makes them anxious.
I nourish my parents during their visit and show my love to them through food. They enjoy it. Every meal is a new experience for them and one that I cherish. I can't control their daily choices, but here In my home, good, healthy healing & nourishing food is something I can do.
No one likes to be told they are doing the wrong thing, making the wrong choices. Criticism usually fails to inspire and so sometimes the best thing you can do is to lead by example.
A step at a time is what I promote to others that ask me for advice. Small incremental changes make a difference and tend to stick better than jumping in feet first. If you've got an ailment focus on that while slowly adjusting your food choices. This way you are nourishing your whole self while also finding relief from the symptoms that have surfaced. Gut issues - try fermented food. Inflammation - try leafy greens. Heartburn and acid reflux - learn about apple cider vinegar.
Perhaps if we all start thinking of our bodies as gardens it will start to make more sense. Just like plants, our bodies need nourishment in order to thrive. A neglected garden lacking healthy soil suffers, wilts, becomes diseased.
"Don’t eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. There are a great many food-like items in the supermarket your ancestors wouldn’t recognize as food.. stay away from these" ~Michael Pollan
What we eat matters.
Real food is the purest medicine there is.