Categories: Kristin's Earlier Blogs, About Kristin
This past weekend I spent with relatives for my aunt’s memorial service. I arrive in Seattle, walk into my aunt’s condo, and within in 5 minutes, hear this phrase echoing from somewhere in the kitchen:
“We Know You Don’t Eat Chicken”
Wow. Great. OK. I see my mother has been regaling the relatives on the quirkiness of her only daughter. I don’t think she fully understands, nor comprehends WHY I don’t eat chicken… but it’s a start. Since I had missed lunch, I am given some Thai leftovers of white/brown rice (cool!) beef with vegetables (not bad… probably some corn derivatives in the sauce but I scrape off what I can) and herb tea. A decent lunch for a beggar. I’m thinking this weekend might not be so bad for me food-wise. Until dinner arrives…
Since… “We Know You Don’t Eat Chicken”, dinner was lasagna… tomato/wheat lasagna. I felt my stomach do flips at the mere thought. Plus, one of my aunts had made her signature dinner rolls. I felt I had one of 3 choices… 1) I could not eat and feel miserable 2) I could rummage around and try to find something suitable to eat and risk making others feel bad for not “providing” adequate food for me during our family’s time of mourning, or 3) enjoy sharing food lovingly prepared by my family and feel grateful that I had food at all. I went for option 3. Plates were full enough already without me making a fuss. And I did survive.
The next day I fared a little better in the sea of avoids. There was lots of fresh fruit at breakfast and… organic yogurt!!… along with a few other lovingly prepared avoids. But the yogurt and fruit certainly helped make for a good start to the day. And later, at the reception, since “We Know You Don’t Eat Chicken”, roasted turkey breast was served, along with deviled eggs, beet and Brussels sprouts salad, raw veggies and a few other B friendly items. I began to feel myself returning to more of an even keel, and I slept fairly well that night. In the morning, I made oatmeal for breakfast, with raisins and raw almonds… a wonderful beginning for a day of travel back home.
Interesting to note that although I felt some discomfort from some of the avoids, I didn’t notice any lasting effects. Maybe it was because they were prepared with love. I’d like to think so.
At least I didn’t have to eat any chicken!
I love the New Year. It is a potent moment in time… ripe with possibilities, new discoveries… a melting away of the old and embracing the yet-to-be. Every New Year’s Eve, it has become my tradition to set goals and affirmations for myself and my life… to look at what I desire to create in my life in the upcoming year. What path’s do I trundle down? What rocks are left uncovered? Can I see the horizon? …
But, not this year… not yet…
In keeping with “the season that wasn’t” theme, the New Year came and went with hardly a notice from my inner self. Strange. I wondered why for quite some time. And made no movement toward any new goals. I didn’t even know where the ground was, let alone the horizon.
Today, I had a realization about this unusual lack of inner guided focus. Last year was a whirlwind year for me… so many changes, transitions, joys, sorrows and such an expansion in how I view myself and my place in the world that I somehow forgot to integrate all the newness. So much has happened but it still is not yet a part of me. And until it is, I can’t possibly make room for anything more… no matter how wonderful. And out of all this comes my first goal for the New Year…. To fully integrate the changes, lessons, and experiences of the previous year to make room for new growth and awareness that will bring the rich fullness of living to each and every moment.
I have also been sick. For quite some time. A long time, actually. I had a bout of flu at the end of November, which transpired into a sinus/ bronchial infection that is just now beginning to clear. It has been ages since I have been sick for this long… certainly long before I started the BTD. And it has been a difficult journey for me through this illness. I was in denial about it for a long time. It wasn’t until I slowed down… and I mean
r e a l l y * s l o w e d * d o w n, that I began to recover. Now I tend to feel that I live my life at a snail’s pace as it is, albeit somewhat reluctantly… so going slower still was challenging. But it was what I needed.
However… this morning I felt back in the shroud of illness again. How could it be? And then, I remembered. Yesterday, I had a late evening meeting to attend. I didn’t have time for dinner so at the meeting, I ate some wheat crackers with brie, plus some fruit and veggies thinking the wheat wouldn’t bother me as I hadn’t had any wheat for quite some time. Wrong Sherlock! I woke up this morning in a complete mental fog that I just couldn’t shake, had a runny nose, a congested and stuffy head. Through my cloud of forgetfulness, I suddenly realized about mid afternoon it had to be the wheat. Wow. I had never had a reaction to wheat like that before. Probably because I am still not completely well yet. But it was a good reminder that I do need to be especially careful about what I eat now as I continue to recover.
And also a good reminder that taking the time… yes, the time… to integrate my experiences of the last year is so very important. I did feel like I was in a dense fog through some parts of it. I am ready to feel the sun now. And with time… I know that horizon will soon be in view.
It has been a quiet season of deep reflection for me this holiday time. My aunt did pass away a couple days before Christmas. But this was only one of several deaths that have touched our lives in the past few weeks... two of which were rather freakish accidents to young, vital people. And although tragic, it is a vivid reminder that each moment really does count.
So this year has really been more of a subdued Christmas for my family, and myself in particular. I felt the need to make a nurturing, yet simple meal for our Christmas dinner. I roasted a leg of lamb, with only garlic and olive oil for the seasonings. So simple... and yet perfect. And with the new knowledge that the A’s in the house are non-secretors, all were able to enjoy the lamb, well, all could enjoy the lamb, that is. My husband is still a die-hard veg-head. Sigh.... at least he has the knowledge of his blood type and secretor status. We also had a winter squash/cranberry dish, scalloped potatoes, (... OK... those were just for me...), brown rice, steamed broccoli and a green salad. A very simple meal, stress-free to prepare, and oh so nurturing. Oh... and I made a spelt-crust pear/ginger pie for dessert. Delish!!
One of our holiday traditions is what my brother-in-law fondly refers to as the Arctic Death March, which usually takes place on Christmas Day but this year it happened on the day after. We bundle up my Californian brother-in-law, and drag his oxygen-deprived body up the foothills for a hike in the white stuff (snow... that is). He appreciates this tradition oh so much! Ahhh... it’s what he gets for visiting Colorado in the winter... we just want to make sure he gets the “full’ experience. But this year he was rather lucky, as the weather here has been downright balmy. There is still snow in the high country... a little slushy... but still snow. And certainly enough snow for my monkey-boys to frolic about. I had to dodge many a snow missile launched in my direction.
Yes.. that is my life with boys... but also uplifting to experience care-free moments in the midst of difficult times.
It is snowing... big fluffy flakes drifting outside my window this morning as I write this. So picturesque... and bitterly cold. A perfect morning for a steaming batch of steel-cut oats. I cook mine in a mixture of cow’s milk and water with chopped apples, vanilla, fresh-grated nutmeg, a splash of maple syrup, and dried, unsweetened cherries. So warming and nurturing on these wintry days.
So tell me... where did November go? It seems a blur to me now. It started out with traveling to Seattle to visit my favorite aunt who is gravely ill. I met my mother and her sisters there. And although this was a very sad time for my family, it was wonderful for me to be in direct contact with my matrilineal heritage. I gained a little more perspective on how I was shaped by their presence and influence when I was growing up. And with no men around... I must say it was indeed quite blissful... for a time, anyway. My aunt lives just a couple blocks of a Trader Joes so it was easy for me to have my food needs met while visiting.
Thanksgiving took us to Santa Fe once again, amidst a bout of flu that ravaged my family. My youngest son was the one sick during the trip. I thought for sure that I had packed the elderberry syrup but could not find it anywhere in my suitcase... until we arrived back home, that is, and there it was hiding in one of the pockets. Oh well. My husband’s aunt did not make her signature apple and green chili pie... which was a little disappointing but probably for the best. Of course... when in Santa Fe we must eat out at a Mexican-style restaurant which are akin to torture when a B. For me it is the temptation of corn. Of all the avoids for B’s, this is the one that still challenges me. So I had to employ my “corn deflect”... when everyone else is enjoying freshly made corn chips and tomato-based salsa, I order a margarita and before too long, I no longer care about the corn. Sure... I am trading one avoid for the other but... since agave nectar is usable for all blood types, shouldn’t tequila be as well?? Ah, yes... I know... but I’m not ready to shatter this dream just yet...
Yes... I did get the flu... and happy to report that I did survive. I am fortunate in that I only get the flu once every 10 years or so... thankfully... and with the BTD certainly I suffer less than I used to when I do. I drowned myself in elderberry syrup, elderberry tea, and vitamin C which helped... and rested, reflected, and finally recuperated.
And now... here it is... a week before Christmas. Wasn’t it just Easter? Where does the time go? I remember when a teenager and impatient to become an adult and be on my own out in the world, a wise woman said to me, “Oh Kris... don’t wish time away..” I could not grasp the truth of her words then, but I do now. Time is indeed precious.
I love autumn.
I think of this time of year as a spiraling inward, a time to pause and notice the transitions of this season, and what they bring. Watching… noticing… helps me prepare for the coming dark and stillness of winter.
So… being the dreamy B that I am, I have spent many a morning sitting in the crisp air on the front porch watching the sun drift slowly upward into the beginning of the day as the leaves on the Rocky Mountain maples let go in the breeze and skirt along on the winding currents to the ground. I just love that moment of letting go leaves do in their autumn dance, their swan song to the summer that has passed. As I watch the leaves floating along, leaving their mark on this autumn canvas, it gives me courage to look at what needs letting go of in my own life… to make room for new seeds to be sown.
I try to spend as much time outside as possible now…. noticing all the changes taking place in the outside world. Every day there are obvious changes, a shift that was not there the day before. Suddenly, the hummingbirds have left the cañon, the insects have fallen silent, the shrubs, bushes, and trees begin pulling their energy toward their roots away from growing upward and outward. Spaces between the branches begin to open up as the leaves begin their Falling. I think of the end of autumn as when the sky opens up to be seen in it’s fullest.
It is also a time to make a conscious shift toward high compliance and preparation for the cold to come. For me, that means increasing the amount of root vegetables in my diet… carrots, beets, sweet potatoes… and winter squashes high in beta-carotene. Cooked greens like kale, chard, and spinach replace raw salads. My fruit consumption changes too… eating only a few pieces of fruit per week.. I crave cooked whole grains and keep foods made with flour grains to a bare minimum.
As my outward activity begins slowing down, I yearn for slow-cooked foods… soups, stews, slow-cooked roasts. I eat much more meat in the winter, and balance that with reduced dairy. And then there is sugar… ah yes, sugar.. so much associated with holidays and traditions. But the longer I follow the BTD way of life, the less sugar cravings I have. I only desire sugar now if I have not had adequate protein in the day, or in using sugar like a drug… something to take me out when I am feeling lousy. But those times are few and far between now…
All of these things help me begin to slow down, pull inward, inducing the quiet necessary to prepare for the darkness that gives birth to the dawn a new year… new experiences… new growth.