My Logical Miracle happened before I learned about Suppers. But I sought out Suppers to volunteer as a summer intern because I know most people could not do in isolation what I was able to do mostly on my own: turn around my diagnosis of Lupus on nothing but food. Suppers gave me a chance to be a resource for people who have Lupus. We are led to believe by the medical system that the only way to manage it is with a long list of medications.
I named my Suppers story “Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice” instead of “On Feces,” which is what it’s really about. But if I called it that, I think most people wouldn’t read it. There are not many things more important than good digestion, and I stand up at meetings for normalizing conversations about bowel function. Due perhaps to shyness, it is possible that some people don’t even know what it would mean to have really good bowel movements. How often, how it would feel, look, and smell.
My closet should have a “beware” sign on the door. On any day, opening it is a painful process. On the day I relapsed, it made me greedy. I had lost 40 pounds, but I wanted something that would make it look like I’d lost even more – and there was an outfit from an earlier weight, a size too small for comfort but possible to get into.
In my too-tight clothes I became more and more uncomfortable as the day wore on. Work was awful. I came home stressed out and eager to self-medicate with my drug of choice: food.
After years of attending one of the 12-step programs, I have come to think of control as the C Word. To compensate for having no control in one area of my life, I tried to control just about everything else. I was frazzled, pushy, cranky, and difficult to please. I was also a big manipulator, and the things I manipulated most were my own moods and energy level. My tools were coffee, cocoa, candy, bread, cookies, and wine. The automatic choices I made were all about seeking comfort for an outrageously uncomfortable body.
Circling round and round, our Suppers group was examining the question: What role does planning play in moving me into action on a change I know I need to make but resist? We wondered how we can get more motivated.
Fostering children who haven't gotten a fair start in life is a heartfelt and gratifying experience. But it's fraught with challenges. Navigating an under-funded system is frustrating to say the least. Precious time is spent getting them services and providing opportunities to help them thrive.
My current charge has neurological differences, some of which can be explained by his neglectful and abusive early childhood events and a lot of which responded to good nutrition and reliable love.
I was attending a Suppers meeting where the theme was nutritional harm reduction. At this particular meeting, the menu is typically “paleo”, meaning all whole food and no gluten grains or dairy. We were asked to reimagine our relationship with food and consider small changes we could implement to eat in a healthier way.
I got a type 2 diabetes diagnosis in December of 2016. I started on Metformin and was told to increase my dose until I got to 2000 mg, two pills in the morning and two at dinner. There had been some warnings, but as the mother of kids with special needs, my needs were not a priority. I was erratic and subject to emotional outbursts. Sometimes I got so tired in the afternoon, I’d fall asleep if I let myself sit down. I would lose 10 pounds and gain back 20.
Through the miracle of Suppers the Reuben sandwich I ate in a moment of weakness was transformed into a bonified act of Nutritional Harm Reduction, a cause for celebration, not for feeling ashamed. The discussion at the table started with “Your brain is smarter than you are,” a document that makes a case for self-forgiveness and self-acceptance by describing how our urgent impulses to eat are greater than our willpower and for very good reasons.
I used to be one of those crunchy granola dads, always trying to get my kids to eat healthy, sneaking in plates of fruits and veggies at their pizza parties and serving oats for breakfast. No more. For me, kraut is the new granola.