The lights were low, the atmosphere quiet as diners enjoyed their meals and wine, and waiters weaved through the restaurant bringing platters of food. In front of us were decadent flourless chocolate cakes, topped with gently sweetened whipped cream and berries. My husband and I savored forkfuls of rich cake, and laughed and talked.
And I remembered to be grateful. To be alive. To be healthy enough to enjoy such moments again. To be healthy enough for dates and cakes.
In a way, nothing yet everything has changed how I view food and how I eat.
Perhaps the most accurate way to describe it, would be everything I believed before – the benefits of eating well, the joy of food, and the joy of hospitality – is heightened now.
Serious health issues changes your perspective on life in many ways, and makes you reexamine both the big issues in your life, but also the small ones. I don’t feel it would be honest to jump back into food blogging without sharing some of the ways the last few years have changed how I eat and feed my family.
For those who have been around for a while, you know that the last couple of years have been a whirlwind of ill-health and a gradual recovery. I have a short list of diagnoses, but mold illness and Lyme Disease were both a significant reason I got seriously ill and even had to go to the emergency room several times with very scary symptoms. (You can read more of that story here: My Lyme Disease Story and How it Changed Me.)
I won’t go into all of the details, but suffice to say, I was very sick for a while, and at one point had a page and a half of symptoms I brought to my doctor. It was brutal, and hard, and scary. I am so thankful to have improved so much in health since those early days of illness.
When you are that ill, you certainly don’t have the energy to make elaborate meals. My husband took over making dinners, and we kept them very simple. He also went out and bought snacky foods, especially for the kids, that I had long avoided. We were just grateful for modern conveniences!
My situation (getting ill from mold in a house and a tick bite) also underlined a concept that I always believed in – eating well is a great habit, but it doesn’t ensure health. It can be part of the solution when rebuilding your health, but it’s just one part of the puzzle. We had to look at my health from a very holistic viewpoint, and well beyond simply food.
I’m so glad that I had changed my subtitle to my blog to be “Beautiful food made simple” because seeing the beauty in the gift of food has long been my goal when writing about this topic.
So yes, it’s true, I often have to eat healing diets with strict guidelines. But when I had what felt like near death experiences, I gained an even greater appreciation for life, and enjoying the everyday gifts it contains. And very little is as constant as the food we eat every day!
Now that my health is oh-so-slowly improving, I am leaning into the gift of being able to enjoy sweet ice cream with my kids, and fudging on my “healing” diet on dates with my husband. Sometimes I decided not to “fudge” on certain foods again, after I felt it bothered me too much. But usually, it was well worth enjoying.
The reason I started this food blog was because I wanted to celebrate the beauty and gift of food – even when I’ve had to eat a more restrictive diet to avoid both my food allergies and food intolerances.
So none of this is exactly new. But I do feel that I have a heightened sense now of how grateful we should be for food, and how we should bless it not merely for being our fuel and offering us nutrients, but for the beautiful gift it is to us for enjoyment. Savor your food. Enjoy it. It’s good to be alive. Who wants to waste their life competing to be the best food “purist” ?
So as I continue forward in my food blogging expect the following from me:
- This is a food blog that embraces the beauty of food. Even for those of us, like myself, who has a fairly long list of foods she has to avoid. Let’s celebrate that beauty!
- I continue to have a curiosity about how food, and daily habits we have interact with how we feel and our health. For that reason, I continue to read research and books on the topic, looking for what I can glean for myself. At some point, I imagine, I may share some of that research, or more of my story.
- With everything on my plate, figuratively speaking, we often eat very practical and simple food. So some of my recipes will be practical and simple, because that’s how we really eat.