To Good Health: No. 33 of 40 Forts

To Good Health: No. 33 of 40 Forts

To Good Health: No. 33 of 40 Forts

Once again, this review of my fort from two months ago falls into perfect timing with our current life. I was inspired by Lucy’s developing interest in table foods. Today, we practiced her feeding herself with a spoon from her new plate. The inspiration for this fort was related to breastfeeding her until we were able to do allergy testing. And her one-year check-up is today, during which she will finally have the test. Please, please, please let her be allergy-free. Dairy is so delicious. And eggs are her dad’s favorite food.

As we began table foods, Lucy seems to favor the savory side of the food spectrum. I cannot get her to eat fruit, unless it is pureed or a big, fat chunk of apples. Breakfast is a challenge, because most savory breakfast items include eggs or dairy. We do eat a lot of smoked salmon for breakfast, but I don’t feel comfortable feeding that to her. The other meals of the day are much easier. She usually eats what I am eating, plus some baby food.

Prior to my pregnancy, I didn’t think much about what I would eat. I never looked at a label. I have not been much of a dieter. My most successful diet was part of the carb-free craze. Otherwise, stress has only been the other appetite suppressant that works for me. But once you are pregnant, there is a giant list of items you cannot eat for the health of the baby. After spending the summer watching Mad Men, where pregnant women drank cocktails and smoked and even ate hot dogs, it made you realize just how different the times are. I think that a whole list of foods were added to the DO NOT EAT list in the early 90s.

Like deli meat. No deli meat. Do you know how bad I wanted a Jimmy John’s Turkey Tom throughout my pregnancy? I finally got a turkey sandwich from Potbelly’s at 9:30 pm after over 15 hours of starving during delivery and I just couldn’t eat it. I was past the point of being hungry. And still no deli meat. There is dairy in deli meat.

I have been dairy-free since Lucy was about four weeks old. This is where the label inspections really began. Reading back through my blog, it was obvious just how much dairy I was consuming. I would guess that I was easily eating 10-12 servings a day. I was craving dairy so much. According to my research, anything you have abnormal craving around is likely to be your baby’s source of discomfort. After about a week of my dairy fast, my craving went away.

But it took me a while to fill in my diet with the dairy gap. For most of the summer, I ate Oreo’s. They are vegan. That shouldn’t be a surprise since they are just corn syrup and Crisco. But by late summer/early fall, I began to feel toxic. I can’t describe it any other way. We were walking up a slight incline towards Dupont Circle and I told Henry that I felt awful. I decided that I needed to take probiotics since I was not getting any of the natural benefits of yogurt in my diet. It made a world of difference.

Suddenly, I had a lot more energy. A constant pain in my shoulders subsided. And my hair started growing again. That may have been a coincidence, but my own baby bangs started filling in like crazy. But after this experience, I started to take my diet a little more seriously.

Plus the way I was feeling also made me realize that our health care should include mother/child visits. Even though she is outside of the womb, our health continued to be intertwined with one another. Once you have the baby, you return once to make sure your plumbing looks okay and that’s it. There isn’t anyone looking out for mama any more. And with as many things that I cut out of my diet, we really needed a nutritionist. And if her test results come back peppered with problems, I may pursue that route.

So why would I continue to breastfeed her when I had to give up all of these foods? Well, I was a really sick little girl. As an adult, I once thought back to why I wasn’t more athletic. Then I remembered that I couldn’t breathe. I can remember having tubes put in my ears when I was three. I am not sure when the allergies really set in, but from at least third grade to fifth grade, I was a mucus machine. I took every drug, yet I was still sick every season. It started in my sinuses and always moved down to my lungs. I can name all of the -itisis associated with each point on the ENT track.

At Halloween, I read a blog from a Facebook friend in Canada. She mentioned a sprite that comes to buy your Halloween candy, sparing the kids from additional sicknesses. The sugar from the candy hinders your immunity, leaving you more likely to be sick. Go Canada. Ummmm… that makes total sense, considering I ate candy EVERY DAY after school.

I would get off the bus at Memaw’s and go to the store to buy a snack. Some days I bought popcorn. But I always ate Now & Laters. Grape ones are my favorite. I am not trying to make the claim that candy was the cause of my reccurring illnesses, but they sure didn’t help it. But I do know that all of that corn syrup just makes you feel bad. You know that feeling you get about an hour after a 20 ounce Coke.

So with all of the health benefits associated with breastfeeding, I was willing to do whatever it takesĀ  to ensure that she Lucy good health later in life. And she has only had three colds this first year. This latest one is just a runny nose, so I am not sure if that even counts.

More than anything, she wanted to offer good health.

More than anything, she wanted to offer good health.

All of that being said, I was thinking about food and came up with:

More than anything, she wanted to offer good health.

As I folded and twisted the paper, it naturally turned into a cornucopia. It seemed fitting. This symbol reminds me of the Seventies and green refrigerators for some reason. Little did I know until reading the Wikipedia article, the cornucopia has origins relating to breastfeeding.

In Greek mythology, Amalthea was a goat who raised Zeus on her breast milk, in a cave, on Mount Ida of Crete. Her horn was accidentally broken off by Zeus while playing together.

A little farther down in the Wikipedia entry, there is a reference to how the cornucopia is also considered to be a sign of the anti-Christ by some Christian sects. This frustrated me to no end. Why? I was exhausted and had no intentions of creating a controversial piece. Anyway, this is not the time and place for this argument, but I suggest people focus on the modern day depiction of a bounty of food we are so generously blessed with. And then use any extra energy on feeding others who are in need.

top view of To Good Health

top view of To Good Health

Lucy’s first year has wrapped up. I have met my goal of breastfeeding her for the full year. I will begin the weaning process after discussing it with her doctor tomorrow. Regardless of how long it may take, my diet has changed forever. I am much more aware of the foods that I put in my mouth. I am sure that I will eat dairy once again, but never to the same extent as the Summer of 2009. Plus after watching King Corn, I am also trying to limit high fructose corn syrup. But I cannot go this far.

This paper sculpture, roughly the size of a coffee cup, is one of forty forts I created during Lent 2010 as a creative exercise and spiritual exploration.

Read about all of the Forty Forts.

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