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Being away and coming home creates a lot of room for thought about how life is being lived, as well as how to move graciously between two different worlds. One of these worlds is the familiar home turf in which we exist, largely as creatures of habit. We have our regular routines and favourite ways of being. All this is totally disrupted once we leave home for any purpose outside of the ordinary.
In total, I spent 16 days away from home. I was in a different world, so far as I was concerned. Although I was still located physically on the North American continent – and in the same time zone, I was not at all, in any sense of the word, in comfortable surroundings. This is probably good, for without comparison, it is difficult to appreciate home and its comforts. And I have to recognize that Florida, where I was visiting, was home to a great many people, and immensely comfortable for them at the same time that it set up stresses in my own life.
We have been having a cool summer here in Toronto. It has been comfortable, with even cooler nights, and a fair amount of rainfall, which has kept the city quite green and looking very happy indeed with flowers flourishing everywhere one looks. Many of our days have barely been warmer than 20C, with quite a few cooler than this, while we have enjoyed balmier weather going closer to 25C or even 27C or 28C for a day or two. Having been born in Canada, I do like cooler weather, and I have always suffered when it has gotten hot and humid. Suddenly, I was staying in a very beautiful house that had its air conditioning thermostat set permanently at 81F, which is hotter than most of the days we have experienced in Toronto this summer. It did not get cooler at night. By the same token, the house was always cooler than the air outside the house.
In Toronto, I walk a lot, day or night. Where I was staying, a great many of the streets had no sidewalks upon which one could walk safely, and there were no street lights after dark. Hmmmm. My outdoor exercise program became largely curtailed as a result.
Offsetting these physical discomforts was the fact that I spent my entire time with some incredibly beautiful and loving people who have become like my extended family. This created, by the end of my visit, a double pull – one that said it would be absolutely wonderful to be sleeping in my own bed with the windows open at night and cooler air surrounding me - and the other that didn’t want to leave my friends and the atmosphere surrounding all of us.
Coming home, I have had an opportunity to ponder the real dilemma of anyone who is following the BTD first hand. While in Florida, I experienced several occasions where I ate avoid foods, sometimes knowingly and probably unknowingly at other times. Fortunately, none of these occasions created any real distress to my system. However, since coming home late last week, I attended a wedding where the food was East Indian – very delicious, and very full of avoids. I love Indian food very much. I even used to cook it regularly for a while. But too many of the ingredients affect me, and there has been no study undertaken to assess the effect of ingesting several avoid category foods at the same time. I have largely stopped eating one of my favourite ethnic varieties of foods based on the physical reactions that I observe when I do this.
One must consider that there is a synergistic effect at times – that combining two foods that are mildly irritating to the system can create a huge irritation. That seemed to be the effect of this weekend’s wedding food on my body. I ate many unknown things, and although I could walk out of the wedding reception hall on my own legs, I really needed to get home and into bed as quickly as possible, taking whatever I could think of to remedy my body’s distress. When I got up the next morning, I had several very itchy hives on my left shoulder to remind me that I had not been faithful to the needs of my body, coupled with low energy for most of the day.
This seems to be one of the major problems of living in a world that does not understand the importance of the BTD over convenience and/or flavour, texture, culture, etc. It is a continuing struggle to maintain energy in the face of continual pressure to join everyone else, all of whom appear to be able to consume vast quantities of foods of any description without ill effect, and none of whom seem to understand what I’m babbling about when I talk about my food problems. It’s sort of like the family photos on festive occasions, when everyone smiles at the camera and looks incredibly happy for posterity, even though the undercurrents rippling throughout do not appear on the prints.
I don’t know the answer to this particular problem. I did decide, after this latest wedding, that I will not attend any more weddings where I am not intimately related to one of the main participants, in which case I should be able to mention my dietary requirements without hurting anyone’s feelings. Mind you, that’s what I said after the last wedding I attended, but I seem to have forgotten about that when the invitation arrived!