This post sort of exploded out of my brain this week. It started as a little whisper in the back of my brain, and then it took root and sort of burst forth and took on a life of it’s own. I’m really glad it did. It came to a point that I had to stop what I was doing and start writing because I just needed to get the words out of my brain before they became jumbled and I lost them all.
My thoughts are interesting. They sort of plume up like smoke, then twist and turn and dance as they become solid. As I’ve been thinking about the content of this post I kept coming back to labels and boxes and that led me to something from 13 years ago.
In another life I was an 8th grade English teacher in a brick and mortar school. I used the book Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes that year; if you’ve never read it, do. It’s incredible.
Anyway, a poem from the novel has been dancing in my thought plumes all day.
Take a read here. It puts the rest of the post in context.
Don’t you dare scroll past. Read the gosh darn poem. It’s good. Promise.
My favorite lines from the poem are “I’m made of skeleton, / Muscle and skin. / My body is the only box / I belong in.”
You see, for my entire life, I have searched for those boxes. The boxes are safety. I am a girl. I am a scholar. I am a swimmer. I am a teacher. I am a mother. Boxes give me rules to live by. Expectations. Norms. I encountered the dieting world the same way. Atkins, Keto, Slim-fast, low-fat, low-carb, vegetarian, vegan… I searched for rules.
Being a post-op was no different. Once I was able to eat food I searched for the box that would give me the rules I needed to live by. I like rules. I thrive on rules. I thought I needed rules.
Well honeys, let me tell you… “I’m made of skeleton, muscle and skin. My body is the only box I belong in.” I very quickly found that none of those boxes are right for me. There is in fact, no set of rules that works for my body. Meat-heavy made me feel icky and sticky in my guts. Chicken makes me sick. Typical vegetarian has way too many carbs. I thought I might like the Mediterranean Diet, but it’s often higher in fat than I’m able to eat.
I’ve learned that I can’t look for the boxes anymore. I have to look to myself. Figure out what works for me. This is where having post-operative support is important. Don’t forget to meet with your nutritionist. Even if it’s just a quick check-in to make sure you’re on target. We’re still learning and that support is necessary.
When I first started eating, I was shooting for 80-100g of protein, 50g or fewer carbs, and I never paid attention to fat. I just stayed away from things that were overly fatty. Like, don’t go stand in the fridge gnawing on sticks of butter. Basically I was keto with a twist.
Now I’ve become more plant-based, but not really a vegetarian. I do still eat some meats, but I get a lot of my protein from legumes. I track my foods pretty meticulously. I get at least 68g of protein, 90g or less of carbs, and 30g or less of fat. Lord help me, the fat gives me a fit every single day. Today I’m doing really well. Yesterday I indulged in peanut butter (just 2 tbsp) and was over my fat for the day by noon. Thirty grams is tough, folks. But I’m figuring it out.
This is why I spend so much time researching foods and meal planning and recipe searching and tweaking. Because I’m my own box. I have my own needs and I can’t always just google some pre-boxed recipe and have something work for me. Now food takes a lot of thought and preparation, but I’m okay with that. I actually enjoy it… building my own box.
My goal for this blog was to give me an outlet. A place to work through what I experience. A place to laugh, cry, rage, share how I’m losing it. A part of all that is tied to food. I’d like to share that with you guys, too. I’d like you to see that part of my life, too. I’d like to share my recipes and rewrites.
I’m incredibly nervous to do that. I feel so vulnerable sharing my food with you. But it’s important to me.
So guess what? It’s happening.
Be well, friends!