I just had some dental work done on Monday. The dentist assured me that, while I would be sore for a day or two from the procedure, I should be in less pain than I was before, since my tooth is now “fixed.”
I was still in pain Monday night, but not worried. I’m still sore from the procedure, plus it’s possible that some of the pain isn’t from the tooth he just worked on, but rather the wisdom tooth 2 teeth away. But suddenly on Tuesday night, I felt excruciating pain when I bit down on the left side! No question- this WAS from the tooth he just worked on!
But Wednesday night started Rosh Hashana, and I was busy all day Wednesday getting ready for the holiday. I really did NOT want to spend the day at the dentist, nor was I willing to do any driving on the holiday itself unless things were very serious. I did watch myself carefully for signs of infection- had my mouth gotten red or swollen, or had I spiked a fever, I would have gone to the Emergency Room.
My mouth only got worse as time went on. It hurts to chew on the left side at all. It hurts to chew on the right side “too much” and it even hurts to talk too much! I prepared the softest foods I could within the holiday and Shabbos restrictions, but the end result was rather imperfect eating.
I did make some soft green beans in the oven, and some spinach later on, but I couldn’t use electricity to make a green smoothie. The rice stuffing from the turkey was way softer than any of the greens I prepared, so I found myself eating more carbs and fewer veggies than normal. Fortunately, the turkey was soft enough for me to eat, so I managed to get plenty of protein. Plus I had stewed sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash that were all soft enough to eat easily.
I’m trying to do better today. I started the day with a green smoothie. That contained pasteurized liquid egg whites, spinach, a banana, and flax seeds. Lunch was a bowl of rice cereal and 3 scrambled eggs. I’ve managed to avoid talking or chewing too much today, so I’m not in as much pain. Now that the holidays are over, I should be able to nourish myself properly, even without being able to chew.
I called my dentist last night, after Shabbos was over, and left him a message. He’ll probably call back tomorrow. I hope I can get this fixed sooner rather than later!
It’s the start of another school year, and this year there are many changes for my family. Leah’s going off to Israel again next week, but that’s not new. Hannah’s going to community college, which means that I won’t have the car 2 or 3 days a week. And Jack will be homeschooled this year instead of attending the public middle school near our house.
I’ve homeschooled before, but this is my first year sharing a car with one of my children. I’m going to have to be much more organized about my errands- I can’t just run to the store if I realize I’ve forgotten something, not if I don’t have the car.
Right now, Hannah is at class and my Mom took Jack and Leah to the pool. I’m enjoying the quiet. I got some household chores done, but mostly I spent the day unwinding and enjoying the time alone. I’m not going to have a whole lot of that this year.
As I started making dinner, I realized I was low on mushrooms. I thought that maybe I’d run out to the store and buy some, when I remembered that I couldn’t. It’s very freeing- I don’t have to run around like a lunatic- I *have to* stay at home and pace myself. I’ll *have to* stay home and make do with what’s already in the house.
Later in the year when it’s cooler, I may walk or bike to the store or other errands. I don’t currently have a working bike, but Hannah’s bike only needs some routine maintenance and she won’t be using it when she has my car. For now, I’m enjoying the quiet and the “forced relaxation” this new routine is going to bring.
This week, the CSA gave us 5 pounds of beefsteak tomatoes- in addition to about a pound of cherry tomatoes- plus we didn’t even finish all the tomatoes we got last week! Clearly, it’s time to make tomato sauce. We saved the cherry tomatoes for salads and decided to use the large tomatoes for sauce.
Last year, I made tomato sauce in the crock pot. I remember blanching tomatoes then peeling them and putting them in the crock pot, adding onion, garlic, and fresh basil, and letting it simmer overnight. It turned brown before it was done, and it was still thinner than commercial sauce, but still very tasty. I also pureed it with the stick blender before freezing it, since we were planning to use it for making pizza.
Before I had a chance to do any of that, Leah got started on making the sauce herself. After blanching the tomatoes, she sautéed onion and garlic in olive oil in our medium sized soup pot. She peeled, chopped, and seeded the tomatoes while the veggies were sautéing, then added the tomatoes and let it simmer on low-medium heat for a few hours. She got some basil from the garden and added that early in the cooking process. It was covered most of the time, but I left the lid slightly ajar to let steam escape so it would get thicker.
By bedtime, the sauce was done. It was still bright red, and probably as thick as it was going to get. She didn’t want to puree it, as she likes chunkier sauce for eating on pasta and such. I filled one small glass jar with the sauce and put that in the fridge. Then I put the rest into zipper sealed “snack bags.” I put all the little bags into a gallon sized freezer bag and put the whole thing in the freezer. Now we can easily thaw just enough for one bowl of pasta or a few pizzas.
If we get more tomatoes, and I make more sauce, I’ll probably puree the other batches. We mostly used the homemade sauce for pizza last year, and smooth sauce works best for that. I’m not sure if I’ll make it in the soup pot or the crock pot, though. The soup pot seemed to work better, but then I had to handle all of it in one day instead of being able to leave half the project for the next day.
I haven’t been feeling too well lately. I’ve been very tired and brain-fogged, and somewhat sore. It’s been months and these symptoms don’t seem to be going away. This is very frustrating, especially considering that I’ve been on SWAMI for years. Shouldn’t I be feeling better by now?
I do know that stress is a big trigger for me, and I’m unlikely to be 100% symptom-free during times of stress, no matter how well I eat. My whole family is in transition right now. My oldest just returned from a year in Israel and isn’t sure what her plans are for next year. My younger daughter just graduated high school and also isn’t sure of her plans for next year. Both plan to go to college, but not necessarily this September. And my son had a very hard time in school last year, so I plan to teach him at home. There are just a lot of changes in our lives right now.
But stress isn’t the only thing going on. I started taking a closer look at what I’ve really been eating. Ice cream at my Mom’s 70th birthday party- and leftovers. A few slices of cheese when we served a huge cheese platter to guests. Some “mostly compliant” gluten free sliced bread and cracker crumbs that were gifted to us. I’ve been using the crumbs in meatballs for months, and the bread for sandwiches for about two weeks. The bread was absolutely delicious but it led to intense carb cravings. I never noticed any problems from the cracker crumbs, but I’m not sure what subtle damage it may have been causing all this time.
Plus I haven’t been exercising regularly. I remember one summer a few years ago, when I got up very early and took a walk before it got hot out. I felt good that year, but I haven’t managed it since. This entire year has been hard for me to exercise. First we had that long, cold winter, with extra snow. Then we had a few brief weeks of beautiful spring weather, when the tree pollen made it nearly impossible for me to breathe outside. And then, quite suddenly, it was too hot. I could use the treadmill- but that would require removing all the stuff that’s hanging on it, and I’d have to be willing to use it when there are other people home. For a long time, I’d only use the treadmill when all the kids were in school- but that won’t be happening anymore.
I know what I need to do- I just need to do it! This isn't the first time I've slipped up, and it probably won't be the last- I just need to get back on track so I can start feeling good again.
Tonight starts the Jewish holiday of Shavous, which commemorates the time when G-d spoke to the Jewish People at Mount Sinai and gave us the Torah. This is when the Jewish people were first commanded to keep kosher, and dairy foods were quicker to prepare than meat in those days. So, it’s become a custom to eat dairy foods for this holiday.
Cheesecake is a common Shavous food, and in the past we’ve baked it in such huge quantities that one of my kids dubbed it “the cheesecake holiday.” In the past, I’ve experimented with making healthier cheesecakes for myself. I’d use goat cheese and agave instead of cream cheese and white sugar. The end result is usually that I end up over-eating “my special cheesecake” because nobody else really wants it when there’s “traditional cheesecake” available. And I don’t do all THAT well on goat cheese or too many sugars anyway- even sugar from compliant sources such as agave. Plus, these ingredients are much more expensive than the traditional ingredients, and normally I consume these special foods in much smaller quantities.
So, this year we’re trying something different. We baked two large cheesecakes; one plain and one chocolate. Both are made with real cream cheese, sour cream, and white sugar. The chocolate one also has a small amount of cow’s milk added. Both are also made with rice flour rather than spelt flour, so they’re basically safe for me. Not 100% compliant, but free from my worst avoids. I’m hoping that I’m better able to “have a taste of each one and then stop” since they’re not baked special for me. I suspect that I’ll react as well to a tiny amount of cow’s milk as I will to a larger amount of goat cheese.
We also got the first CSA box of the year today! I just ate a salad of locally grown, organic greens. I plan to have a lot more salads over the next few days.