Menu: No Rocks No Woodchips

I wish you could be in my kitchen right now. There is a pot of Tuscan white bean and kale soup simmering, and it smells good! Close your eyes, and it will transport you to Tuscany on a gorgeous autumn morning, where you can stroll through the streets of Montepulciano. Yesterday we visited Mexico by means of a spicy pozole. We like soups in this home; they are nutritious, delicious, and fun. Yes, fun! Soup can help teach children geography by showing them on maps where in the world their soup of the day originated.

Cooking always has been a creative outlet for me, I view it as edible art. However, this past year took me to another culinary place that has been challenging, frustrating, and a reluctantly acknowledged necessity.

Health issues dictated a change in lifestyle. I was given a choice: change how I eat, or take medications. For myriad reasons, I choose not to take medicines if I can remedy issues by other means.

So, this far down the road, I was looking at learning to cook non fat, gluten free, vegan meals that have, not to be ignored, a low glycemic index. Really? I was pretty sure that left me a nice array of rocks, water, and perhaps some woodchips on the side.

Initially, I resisted making dietary changes, because denial was my comfort zone. After all, I cooked most dishes from scratch, used the finest ingredients, and faithfully read the nutritional labels on everything I bought, and only made the occasional trip to Burger King for a Whopper. How could my diet be the problem? Then, I decided to make a list of those foods I missed most, and prove this whole dietary thing was nonsense. In the spirit of transparency, I will share it:
Eggs scrambled in butter; cheese-all kinds, any way; red meat-any cut; homemade bread or toast with butter; cream based soups; cream based sauces; bacon; pie; ham-not lean; pizza; pasta-any kind, any way; salted crunchy snacks; potatoes-any kind, any way; Whopper from Burger King.

Yes. There it was. My physician may have had a point. It was a serious reality check for me, and from that point on, I have not looked back.

I want to spend these years with my family and friends as healthfully, energetically, and intelligently as possible. If that means the closest I get to a Whopper is a drive by the restaurant at lunch time when the burger broiling aroma fills the air for several blocks in all directions, then so be it. Besides, an imaginary trip to Tuscany is more satisfying than Burger King, anyway. I am not done here, so bring on the veggies, legumes, and fruit; small concession to make for the gift of time.

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