My mom has always thought I was different. Of course we know that to be true; we are all different; God made us that way, but for my mama I just seemed to stand out from my siblings and her with my food choices. She would (and sometimes still does) say “Where did you come from?” She knows. I wasn’t adopted, but it’s just hard for her to understand why I like garlic and eastern spices when we never used them in my childhood home. She doesn’t understand why my favorite foods are Ethiopian, Indian and Mediterranean. She doesn’t understand why I dine at these restaurants and even cook some of my favorite dishes at home and serve them to my family. She can’t understand why I don’t serve a white dinner roll or cornbread with every meal. And how can something be sweet without white sugar? And how can you manage or cure pain without a prescription drug? And how can anything taste good not made the old-fashioned way? Though she may have wanted to say “Blah, blah, blah” when I would tell her of certain benefits to my health regime, she has begun to listen after listening to the experts.
Her occupational therapist, Manoj, has a doctorate in occupational therapy, has a best friend who is a naturopathic doctor and himself has studied natural remedies for gout, a form of arthritis. This week he told her to cut out of her diet pork, seafood (except salmon), and beef, to include vegetables like celery and those from the sea and drink plenty of water and tart cherry juice. Manoj, a native of India, and I talked about our favorite Indian dishes and our mutual love for Ethiopian food. Everything Manoj said my mom had heard from me and heeded some, but from the surprise in her eyes that her “different” daughter had told her the same things, I believe she will begin to incorporate more of these remedies.
Her nurse, Kate, made sure to emphasize the importance of dental hygiene for a healthy heart, saying she has to brush her teeth before going to bed so the mouth bacteria won’t travel to her heart and possibly set up an infection there. This is particularly important for my mom who has stents in her heart arteries to push away the blockages there. Earlier that week I had just told my mom how poor dental hygiene could cause a host of health problems, like diabetes and abscesses, and she gave me the side eye. After Kate, who has been a nurse for 30 years, spoke to her she gave me wide eyes and admitted that I had just told her something similar. Now my mom may fall asleep before taking care of her teeth, but she has popped up in the middle of the night to handle her business.
So if you have a granola-loving friend who is picky about the way she eats and is always trying to get you to try something you have never done, let alone heard of, be open. She might just be telling you what the experts have uncovered and are now sharing with their patients. Remember, God told us what we needed to know before the emergence of any “experts.” In Genesis He told us that He gave us plants and seeds for meat and He later added meat for food (1:29-30, 9:3). His ordering seems to speak to the primacy of food grown from the ground. Regardless, we can’t deny the proliferation of reports on the benefits of fruits and vegetables. Just this week I heard a news report on the benefit of blueberries and apples: preventing and ridding the body of disease, giving energy and providing mental clarity.
If you are that health kick person, keep doing what you’re doing, including sharing your benefits with friends. They may talk about and shun your advice, but, like my mom, they may eventually take heed. You have God, experts, your changes for the better and the food itself on your side. Your words to them are not in vain.