Waiting at the Doctors’ Surgery for my appointment, I got into conversation with a brightly dressed woman of indeterminate years, who described herself as ‘a Wog’ and a retired Housing Department worker, used to dealing with people of all temperaments and tempers. She was in pain, a chronic pain sufferer and one of those people life tries and tests. Her bright pink walking stick attested to the fact that she is a survivor, someone who knows that the little things in life are sometimes the most cheering, encouraging and see us through to a brighter place. We discussed the importance of the tiny gesture, the minute effort, which on a bad day is hard to do, but in the end makes us feel so much better, partly because we have made the effort and have fought the good fight. Her compliment on how I was dressed certainly made my day and she described my style as “Bing, Bang, Bong’. I was wearing a red top under a black tunic and over a long black skirt and with a red scarf with an animal print border, big earrings and of course red lippy! I certainly felt pepped up by our discussion and it did me more good than the Vitamin B12 injection I had gone to have!
My recent interactions with a rather strange Neurologist and his Receptionist have revealed that I have a functioning, undamaged brain, an auto-immune disease, the appearance in my blood tests result of a malnutrition type condition although I have a good diet and am receiving supplements by the bucket-load and a condition which looks like Parkinsons Disease, acts like Parkinsons Disease, but is not Parkinsons Disease, because of my reaction to a dopamine challenge – my body just yawned in a bored way and asked what was next! I was able to enunciate the words ‘newly laid linoleum” perfectly and stamp my heels, apparently serious tests for PD! What an odd day it was and I’m relieved not to be visiting again. However, I am left without a prognosis and all the same symptoms to deal with that I had previously. Instinct tells me my next task is to get my low iron levels up, start practising T’ai Chi, more meditation, chanting, more use of Bach Flower remedies and less interactions with strange specialists who offer nothing much in the way of guidance, support or pain control. Nothing however is wasted, the newly laid plans for the future we thought we were going to have as a family are on hold, but we know exactly where we stand and how we feel. My adopted self nods sagely and is not surprised that no-one knows what is wrong with me or why. My body knows, my mind knows, my soul knows and my baby self knows.
Quite a few yeas ago now, David Suzuki came to open our local Farmers’ Market, the first in Australia and still flourishing. He informed us that our food is our medicine and that our support of the market would progress that ideal. Since then Farmers’ Markets have popped up all over the State and the country and continue to flourish. A couple of years ago when I was so seriously ill that my G.P thought I would die and I had lost 20kgs in a short space of time, she instructed me to eat anything I fancied, but just eat! My favourite lunch was a few vegetables and some cheese, with a small bowl of hand-made pasta from Angie our Pasta Lady. It truly was nourishment for the body and soul and as I ate it I imagined Angie lovingly making the pasta, giving it all her skilled attention and expertise. Once I was well enough to get back to the Market myself, I was delighted to tell her the story of how her pasta saved my life and we have had a special bond ever since. I still buy from her weekly, always the gluten-free pasta with parsley and garlic, spinach, chilli or sometimes the beautifully coloured beetroot ribbon pasta. I never tire of it, never get bored with the smell or the fresh taste and continually invent new ways to use it. It is a staple, a necessity in the pantry and a food I cannot live without.
Food is so very central to our existence it is surprising that it is not widely accepted that foods made in factories and processed to death offer no nourishment to real live growing people and cause illnesses and conditions previously unknown. It is no harder to cook and live on real foods than it is to live on a diet of rubbish foods that offer no nourishment, no lasting enjoyment and nothing for the body to work with. If I could change one thing in the world it would be to alter the relationship people have with food, to bring back the enjoyment to be gained from real food and to make a place for the purchasing, growing, preparation, presentation and consuming of food so that it becomes important again, vital to our healthy existence and a welcomed part of our day.
If you have read “Lost Daughters – Writing Adoption From a Place of Empowerment and Peace” you might have seen that my contribution was, of course, about food! And it’s relationship to adoption! Available from Amazon with proceeds to charity. http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Daughters-Writing-Adoption-Empowerment-ebook/dp/B00HXUDL7E