His daily meal was either cheese pizza, cheeseburger, saltines and cheese, or Chinese food. As for snacks, cheese popcorn, candy corn, clementines, or Mallomars (graham cracker-marshmallow-chocolate cookie).
Conclusion, if it had cheese, started with a “C” (or “M”), and was highly processed–with exception to the clementines–it probably was in his diet. “His” referring to my father.
These, dare I say “foods”, were consumed regularly (daily) for a very, very long time (years). Though looking at him, you wouldn’t guess it. He looked younger than his age and his waistline looked to be normal. He certainly wasn’t obese nor overweight from what I remember.
As the years flew by, I noticed some weight gain, but still hadn’t processed the thought that his dietary choices may have played a part to his growing belly. He was doing well, monetarily, and therefore could afford to eat “well”.
Fast forward, he has a stroke. Still, I’m not consciously thinking about his diet and how it relates to his health. It (the stroke) just happened, and I believe that the stress of his work manifested into a physical reaction.
He is ill and his health is deteriorating rapidly. Now add Alzheimer’s to the list. Kidney failure would soon follow. I’m thinking, and thinking,….”What is going on here?” It’s all so surreal. “This cannot be happening”, and I am in denial, still tending to my work responsibilities, thousands of miles away from him. He’s in California. I’m in New York.
Guilt. ANGER! Confusion. Numbness. Sadness. I’m in this whirlwind of emotion, so much is going on, and despite the chaos, there is a path of clarity that I am on, and each step is a guided one.
I need serious therapy to work this all out, and my sessions are held in a kitchen: mine. This path is clear–cook, and while you’re at it, cook for health. It’s funny to think how I was called by my kitchen, but I don’t know how else to put it. ‘Tis true. Cooking was my therapy and could withstand every single emotion I felt, and I put ALL I felt into my food, deep sorrow included. Perhaps that is why some of my dishes were “sad” in taste, or simply–not.good.at.all 😦
So I’m cooking, and cooking, and thinking as I’m cooking–“You better take care of yourself now Beth or else….”, an AHA moment is forming here, “you’ll end up sick too.”
Long story (trying to make it real) short, a purpose is born, with continuous nutritional schooling and studies to follow, in addition to a strong desire to support both my health and that of the man our children will one day call “Daddy”.
Perhaps because I was not able to save my father’s health, it’s even more important that I save that man of mine from illness. If so, that’s fine by me, and I’m happy to be called the savior in this regard; I just want that man around, in health and for a real, real long time:-)