I’ve never been a “food diary” type of gal, and that hasn’t changed despite my Crohn’s disease. But I have a good enough memory to realize that when I have a flare (or a “bad day”, as I describe it to my mother and aunties), it involves one or more of the following things: 1. bagels 2. cheese sandwiches on focaccia 3. heaps of pasta with veggies 4. pitchers (or rather, carafes) of beer.
When I was first diagnosed, a big fear was that I wouldn’t be able to achieve and maintain remission without a significant change to my diet. I’m sure this would be a fear to most people, but for me it was compounded by the fact that I already have a special diet, having been vegetarian for more than half of my life. (In fact, I was convinced that my diet of whole grains, veggies, and moderate dairy had set me up for a lifetime of digestive health. JOKE’S ON ME!!)
Renouncing my vegetarianism (which was embarked upon for a variety of totally unexciting reasons, so don’t bother asking) was not really on the table. So any major overhaul of my diet would be a hardship to say the least. In light of my recent observations, I’m not ready to say that I can’t have gluten, but it makes me realize that I have to be careful about what I eat and that too much wheat may be a problem.
Being sick has done to me what I thought little could do, which is suck the fun out of eating. I was knee-deep in gustatory Valhalla a few weeks ago and smack in the middle of washing down risotto with Whales Tale Pail Ale I thought to myself “crap. I have Crohn’s”. A few days later I was having near-hallucinatory nausea and vomiting for two nights in a row.
I’m not going to get all “don’t take good health for granted!”, because I never took it for granted during my hale and hearty twenties, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you don’t either. In fact, I remember marveling with my mother at the astonishing good health not just of myself but of my entire large extended family. I valued my health and I enjoyed it.
Today I heard an interview with Nora Ephron replayed on WBUR. In it she reads from one of her books, quipping “I regret not wearing a bikini the entire year I was 26”, going on to exhort “go put on a bikini and don’t take it off until you are 34”.
I’ll do you one better. NEVER take it off if you don’t feel like it. Life is too short and too difficult to avoid the things that make you feel good. So if a two-piece is more comfortable for you than another suit, like it is for me, then by all means wear it. If you like running in tight little pants (another of my slightly absurd favorites), then go for it and run your little heart out.
I cannot control what others delight in. I cannot even control what nature allows me to delight in. But when given the opportunity to throw caution to the wind, I choose delight.