Food, Sharing and Connection

Sharing meals is good for the body and soul

Shared Meal

Image Credit: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr

 

I’ve developed a relationship with raw beets.  I’m not in love, at least not yet, but who knows?  Almost anything is possible.  I never imagined myself regularly eating beets, but I am. 

The goal is to eat one beet a day, raw, which I wrote about in an earlier post.

It’s not as hard to eat beets, as it is to take the time to prepare food and eat it.  I forget, but I’m getting better at remembering.  Having an appetite helps.

I baked a chicken yesterday.  I used coconut oil, which is another new addition to my diet, added some onions and garlic, along with a bit of sage that a friend gave me just the other day.   The whole day smelled of good food.  It was calming and reassuring. 

Later in the evening, I realized how little I had actually eaten earlier. Hunger struck me.  I was tired.  My son however was up.  He quickly made me a sandwich.  I think he enjoys the act of handing me a plate of food.  It is rather like a sacred moment when the plate passes from his hands to mine.

There was more to that sandwich than the physical nutrition.  I could feel the energy when I took the first bite.  It made me feel alive.  The images of my having prepared it flooded my mind, along with the way I had felt in the process.   Knowing I had helped prepare the food that was waiting for my son to make me that sandwich was pretty cool too.  There was love in that chicken!

My relationship with food has been difficult for a long time.  Eating has been a challenge.  It hasn’t always been that way.  I used to love food and eating it too.

In my thirties, I experienced a personal interruption in this essential part of living.  At first, I found myself not eating at particular meal times, with a particular person.  Eventually, I realized after losing weight without trying, along with parting ways with the person who bothered me so much that I couldn’t eat around him, that the reasons behind my abstinence from food ran deeper than my feelings about that relationship.

Memories of my grandmother’s modest but lovely dinner table started to frequently occupy my thoughts.  I remembered the good feeling of coming together for meals.  No matter what was going on, we sat down to eat at the same time every day.   I deeply desired that sense of connection to family and I guess, in a more expansive way, to community and our planet. 

I’ve talked to psychologists from time to time about the problem of not always being able to eat.   They basically each said the same thing, which was that they had never known anyone with the same reasons as I had for not eating. 

The most interesting approach to solve the problem was to write the benefits of eating.  I was seeing a fourth year resident at the medical school.  He was very bright and open-minded.

The best benefit of eating that I could come up with was that food would give me energy to walk my dogs.  In a daily journal, I recorded meals and checked off subsequent dog walks.  This helped for a while, but my problem didn’t go away.

When you lose the desire to eat and don’t get it back, something is wrong.  I learned in therapy why I chose not to eat at particular times, but a later tick borne illness added a new dimension to my relationship with food.  Nausea and other symptoms of post-infectious disease syndrome causes a loss of appetite.

I eventually met a therapist who had also studied anthropology.  She helped me understand an important part of my dilemma, which seemed simply about being human.

With time, especially as my son grew older and later moved out, I learned that I really don’t like eating alone.  I need a connection at mealtime.  I need other people. 

Having my son around to share meals with is a blessing.  I think I’m getting stronger too.  I hope he is.  He’s learned a lot about cooking.  

We need a cow bell, but for now, the wonderful aromas coming from my kitchen will do.

Thank you for visiting Dogkisses’s blog.

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11 responses to this post.

  1. Michelle, what a wonderful post, coming to me at just the right moment. I, too, have been having a lot of difficulty eating – the nausea, and just no appetite. I am down to 112#, and lost a lot of muscle mass.
    Yesterday I installed an app on my smartphone that easily tracks what I eat, the calories, carbs, protein, etc, as well as my activity level & how many calories I’m burning just resting & sleeping.
    What an eye-opener! Yesterday I ate barely more than it calculates I expended, and 75% of what I need to have a slow weight gain. Not doing much better today…
    Perhaps your wonderful post sharing your similar difficulties and your loving son’s sharing the sandwich, combined with the nifty charts in my app, will be the kick in the pants I need to start nourishing my body as I should be.
    Thank you for the gift of inspiration! Much love & gentle hugs,
    Ash

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    • Hi Ash!

      Thanks for reading and commenting. My reply to you is worthy of a blog post, so I may keep it short, and write about it in the next couple of days. I just woke up at 4am, after a rather fitful attempt to sleep. Forgot my meds, and woke up sooo hungry, which is where the post comes in. My is under the weather and hasn’t been well enough to cook, and I swear I think I’ve lost my weight, which was worth a ton of gold to me! I’m likely ’bout two pounds less, and hope not even more loss. It is such a struggle for me.

      My son and I both are having the most difficult time sleeping. He is also tired. I often wonder if he has either fibro or CFS. He has insomnia and post-exertional fatigue. But, with his diagnosis, it is very hard to get a doctor to consider this possibility. Of course, I would like to think he does not have any of these types of illnesses.

      I hope so much to get to see you soon. I’ve got it on my mind lately, that is for sure. I wish I could come see you, and then too, would like to go see Leslie. She’s in Ohio, so quite a bit further. But, I think I could make the drive to your house. I will bring food and we will eat and share good non-nauseating food! Do you like greens; kale, chard, etc., and raw beets of course!

      Hopefully, I will blog about this soon. I am going to try to make a visit to my mom. Wish me luck, cuz I need it.

      Big hugs and love,
      Michelle.

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  2. It makes sense that eating alone would affect your appetite and pleasure in food. I hope you always have some one to share your meals with!

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    • Thanks Phylor, So nice of you to stop by and read. I’m very tired and always like responding to my comments, but that must wait as I’m pretty tired. I had to reply to you though, since I’ve been so out of touch. I haven’t forgotten you and hope you are doing well. Hugs and dog kisses, Michelle. PS Thanks for the sweet wish, and I hope the same 🙂

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  3. Michelle I am so pleased that you are at last gaining your appetitie back and that in preparing food you and your son are healing together.. I love Beetroot and only have had the odd grated up ones in salads… I remember my friend saying years ago as she fought Cancer she had read how good Beets were..
    I am so happy that you seem to be healing and my thoughts are forever sent out to you both..
    Love and Blessings to you my friend xx ~Sue

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    • Hi Dreamwalker,

      Thank you for taking the time to read what I wrote. I always love your visits to my blog.

      Yes, having an appetite is very good! And, my son is benefiting as well. He has lost weight, which is good for him, and I’ve gained. On the same diet. So, I guess we’re doing something right aye?

      Raw beets are packed full of nutrients. They are also recommended for healing from immune disorders. We are also eating more organic food. I’m surprised that certain veggies taste so much better if they are organic. They have more flavor.

      I can’t say I’m out of the woods, so to speak. I still have a long way to go in creating new habits and ways of living. One day at a time I guess, kind of like the beets.

      Hugs and Love,
      Michelle.

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      • Good to know.. One day at a time.. Step by Step.. One Beet at a time:-) much like the Drum :-).. Thinking of you my dear friend xx and so happy to know you have put some wieght on.. you can stand it 🙂 love and Blessings to you both xx

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  4. I KEEP FORGETTING TO BUY BEETS but now I shall put it on the list. What great love is coming from your son to YOU, preparing that sandwich. I would eat for that reason alone and be happy. You may have prepared the food but your son wants to nourish you and he is showing is love and his need. Feel blessed, I am thankful for both of you. Hugs, Laurie

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    • Thanks Laurie,

      It was surely a wonderful sandwich! I’m going to make soup from the rest of the chicken today. And, have raw beets on the side, of course 🙂

      hugs and dog kisses.

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  5. You and your son seem to have a nurturing relationship. This is wonderful to read about. I think I’m going to try out some of your beet recipes. My son likes to cook for me, too, so I’ll hand him the recipes. LOL

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