Summer is scooping heaps of Ingles tuna fish directly from the container with carrots, savoring each mouthful. It’s drinking chilled Sauvignon Blanc with my mom on the back porch, looking out at the lake. Ice cream sundaes decked out with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and bananas. As June gives way to July, it’s all about juicy watermelon at the kitchen table and my mom’s homemade gazpacho served to two newlyweds still finding their footing in this world.
Fall means apple cider served cold, hot, spiced, spiked. It’s recollecting Irish pub visits with my father when I’d fly down from college for short but food filled fall breaks. The changing of the leaves brings delectable autumn squash, delightful quiches, and delicious powdered apple cider donuts. As Thanksgiving approaches, fall is all about the giving way to winter and the launch of my favorite time of year: the holiday season.
Winter is home cooked meals in my parents kitchen, starting with my mom’s notorious popover pancakes and my dad’s slightly over the top alcoholic Christmas eggnog. Hot soups served on cherished snow days in my parents living room growing up have given way to peppermint schnapps infused hot cocoa on the couch with my husband on a snowy Sunday afternoon.
Spring holds the promise of my birthday and key lime pie, but begins with tofu served in baked pineapples and the last of anything butternut until summer collapses back into fall. With spring, comes my father’s birthday and Mother’s Day with each of those days entailing unique menus and mouth watering cakes (all thanks to my mother, who I swear was Mama Lydia meets Barefoot Contessa in a former life).
Food is meant to be enjoyed, not analyzed. It’s taken me a very long time to finally find a nutrition plan that works best for me. Somewhere along the way, perhaps at some point between eating Thai food in London with my father at the Blue Elephant and gorging myself on Indian food with a former friend in Fairfax, Virginia, I lost my way with eating. Food became my number one enemy and I fought physically, emotionally, and mentally with every meal I consumed. A combination of poor self body image issues and crippling cramps that led to weeks on end of disgusting bloating, I forgot about the magic of food. While food should not define us or be what our daily routine revolves around, it should be something that adds to the overall experience of this one life we all have. I don’t want to be trapped in a negative mindset any longer when it comes to my interactions with eating. Being able to put a name to what my body has been trying to tell me since my high school days has been an empowering experience….albeit, it’s only been a little more than a week since I began my low FODMAP journey.
Now, though, I can begin to adjust the foods going into my body accordingly and recognize that I DO have a difficult time processing certain foods. It WASN’T all in my head, and, perhaps most importantly, I need to also change my outlook on my relationship with food if I ever want the situation to fully improve. Food adds to the richness of life and, whether I like it or not, food is embedded into all of my most memorable memories: devouring fried eggs and sautéed spinach on an outdoor patio with my father in Cape Town, South Africa, giggling over Pinot Grigio and fajitas at a Mexican restaurant with my mom in Queenstown, New Zealand, shoveling the sweetest cake I’ll ever taste into my husband’s mouth on our wedding day in Pavia, Italy. All memories I want to hold onto for the remainder of my life. All memories I want to build upon. Like the genuine Cajun food we are sure to experience when we vacation in New Orleans for Thanksgiving break or having a slice of TRUE PIZZA New Years Eve on the streets of Brooklyn before returning to the base of the Brooklyn bridge with my husband to honor where he proposed to me.
Life is all about those lemons. Or, in my case…those FODMAPs.