If you complain of--or really, even mention-- anything related to any body function to my mother, be prepared for one reply:
"What have you been eating lately?"
Whether it's a slight tickle in your throat, a left molar that's aching, a slower pace on your jog or even a bad hair cut, Mom knows what's wrong:
"Obviously you haven't been getting the right nutrients. Let me mix you a vitamin cocktail right this minute."
Your complaint IS certain to be related to malnutrition--even if you can trace the ailment back to an actual event. "But Mom!" you protest. "My leg is broken because I FELL BACKWARDS off the BACK FENCE while CHASING THE CAT with my ROLLER BLADES ON! This has NOTHING TO DO with food!!"
"Your bone would never have snapped if you'd been getting your vitamin D, and calcium," she'd reprimand us. "Here's a shake with everything you need."
Since an early age, I've been skeptical of food--probably because of an infamous experience (caught on video) in which my parents laugh until they cry as they feed baby-Dia mashed potatoes and ice cream alternately. I became increasingly frustrated at this confusing food which was AMAZING one minute and boring the next.
A few years later, I came home from a birthday party completely befuddled at the menu choices there. "MOM! There were muffins, but they were SWEET, and they had frosting, like CAKE, and sprinkles!!!..." The same week, my sugar rushing little brother tried to explain that he had eaten "mom, bagels, mom, but they were yummy, and had, um, they had FROSTING on top, and they had jam inside, and, MOM! Mom. What were those mom, huh? Huh Mom?"
I remember scouring the cereal aisle with my little brother for a new breakfast cereal that fit Mom's criteria. Sugar had to be the third ingredient or lower, and exist in lower quantities than 4 grams per serving. We were SO excited when we found we could have Kix--it was a great addition to our usual breakfasts of plain oatmeal ("sprinkle on ground flax, and pretend it's brown sugar!!"). We were in heaven when we got to visit cousins--their kitchens were motherloads of Lucky Charms, Capt'n Crunch and even--no!--Cookie Crunch (COOKIES for BREAKFAST?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!)! I'm sure my aunts wondered why "Ian and Dia just want cereal for dinner again," but it was just such a marvel to have that much sugar in one bowl!
Later in life, I remember dreading the fresh, foamy shot glass of lawn-green wheat grass waiting next to my whole grain, honey pancakes and icy orange juice (Don't let it's innocent orange color lull you. It is another flax-seed hideout). The tiny, emerald glass of frothy liquid was the most disgusting, gag-inducing torture I've ever experienced. Mom made the distressing drink by blending clippings from her wheat grass plant, straight up. The resulting refreshment often left a cud like flavor under your tongue and a few forgotten, un-blended blades of grass stuck to the roof of your mouth--a GREAT beginning to the day.
However, the nutritional benefits were "absolutely worth it!" exulted Mom every morning. "One tablespoon of this amazing stuff has the benefits of an entire POUND of vegetables, kids! Isn't that awesome?!"
In the interest of nutrition, Mom ground her own wheat, grew her own herbs and concocted her own mixes. She stored flax, sprouted beans, and later, when she discovered wheat hurt her babies, she learned how to bake with teff, quinoa, corn meal, amaranth, and a little kitchen miracle called xanthum gum.
You can get used to anything, I guess. I know, I did and in the process, I learned that food affects health--of course because of my disease, and the food induced diseases that accompany it, diabetes, lupus, IBS, acid reflux, and stomach and esophogeal cancer.
However, food affects health in all kind of other ways, too. I knew before doctors did that cough syrups are worthless and that colds are best fought with vitamins C and B, echinacea, and enough liquids to drown a horse instead. I'm a firm believer that acne is cured with an enzyme(Lysine), not Accutane, and that enough leafy greens chase away cancer cells. Carbonation will ruin your bone marrow, Omega 3 keeps the brain and heart healthy, and artificial sweeteners have direct ties with communism and devil-worship.
I've adopted Mom's philosophies, and if I have my way, my kids will never have a formal introduction to sugar until their freshman biology class reveals the unique qualities of sucrose.