I’ve been more or less absent from this blog for the last 3 months. I’d apologize, but we all know how it is: Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. I’ve been busy – I’m sure you can all relate. Besides, being busy is good, and there’s no reason I won’t continue to post at least a few times a month – I still have things to talk about and recipes to share, even if they’re a little different from those I’ve posted over the last 4 years or so.
At any rate, today is a special day. First, my brother turns 44 (Happy Birthday, Only Brother!). Second, I’ve reached an important milestone in my life.
My mother died of heart disease 70 days after her 51st birthday. A heavy smoker, Mom was also a yo-yo dieter, suffered from PCOS, a rabid sugar addict, extremely sedentary and constantly stressed about something. She loved butter, but cooked almost exclusively with industrial seed oils, and was a huge fan of prepackaged convenience foods – I don’t think either I or my siblings ate any rice or potatoes that weren’t “instant” until we moved away from home and began cooking for ourselves. Tater tots and canned cream of mushroom soup were staples in Mom’s kitchen, and fresh fruits and vegetables almost unheard of – everything was either canned or frozen. She didn’t like seafood, so the only fish we ever saw was canned tuna and she never served us shellfish. The only time we saw sweet potatoes was at Thanksgiving, and then they came from a can and were covered in marshmallows. We ate a lot of Cap’n Crunch, white bread, boxed mac ‘n’ cheese, potato chips and those cheap, iced oatmeal cookies.
As I approached the age my mother developed an aortal aneurysm that burst and necessitated emergency surgery (46), I began to become increasingly worried I was heading down the same path and that I could go the same way she did, and at the same age, if not sooner. My diet was marginally better, but there was a lot of room for improvement. I still smoked, and drank too much and exercised far too little. I pretty much felt like shit all the time – and I was very, very scared.
I smoked my last cigarette on my 45th birthday, six years ago. If you’re a long-time reader here, you know that we drastically changed our diet in 2010 – switching to grass-fed beef, pastured pork, chicken and eggs, wild game, sustainably caught wild seafood, locally grown seasonal produce and purging industrial seed oils, prepackaged convenience foods, and refined sugars and flours from our kitchen. For the last couple of years I’ve been distancing myself from stressful, negative people and relationships, and have finally left a job I hated and have begun one that I like much, much better. Over the last year, I’ve cut out alcohol almost completely, and we’ve made another shift in our diet that has me feeling better and finally losing weight again. (I suspect the exercise will be one of those lifelong battles, but that, too, has improved somewhat and hopefully will continue to do so.)
Today is 71 days after my 51st birthday, and I have officially lived longer than my mother did. Hopefully, I’ll be able to blog about it being 71 days after my 61st birthday and you’ll all be here to celebrate with me.
It’s always good to have a goal.