I thought I’d heard every personal label there was, but I was wrong. I’ve heard “I’m an alcoholic”; “I’m a drug addict;” “I’m a sex-addicted, drug-addicted alcoholic;” “I’m an overeater;” you name it.
When I was new to Suppers meetings, a young woman introduced herself with a label that was new to me: “I’m an O.” She meant blood type O, and she went on to explain the diet and lifestyle changes she decided to make, based on something we read at Suppers. If we’re going to label ourselves at all, this sounded to me like a much gentler way of going about it: identifying ourselves in terms of our individual biological needs. Another woman dealt with her personal biology by honoring her family history and allowing coconut fat back into her life. Polly’s skin cleared up and her mood swings leveled out when she discovered she “really is a coconut.” My story was different. I reported on a book about different metabolic types and realized I need lots and lots of vegetables and not as much protein as my friends. I just feel better this way.
In practical terms, the most important things for my “O” friend were eating breakfast and getting off all foods with gluten, like wheat and oats. Once she did that, she had a much easier time avoiding binges and panic attacks. It was key to controlling her weight without going crazy. The biggest improvement for me came when I started eating beans or an omelet for breakfast. Right away I lost interest in afternoon coffee to give me a lift, and my mood became more even. Although our conclusions are very different, sharing our stories has helped me see there is one common denominator: real food. No matter what other truths revealed themselves about our needs, real food topped the list. I believe that anybody who comes to Suppers to work on making sobriety more comfortable or their blood sugar easier to control will benefit just from heading in the direction of real whole food. But those of us who have made the biggest strides are the ones who took the time to understand our personal biology.
Ellen’s Black Bean Stew with Mango
1 lb black beans
5 TBS olive oil or coconut fat
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 sweet potato or garnet yam, peeled and diced
1 16-oz can tomatoes (or fresh, in season)
Juice of one lime
1 mango, diced (or 1 cup frozen mango)
Hot sauce to taste
Salt, if permitted
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Prepare the black beans according to the package directions, adding 2 of the 5 TBS of olive oil or coconut fat while simmering. Sauté the onion, pepper, and sweet potato in the remaining oil until onion is a little golden. Add the tomato, limejuice, and just enough water to simmer until the sweet potato is tender. Combine black beans with vegetables. Ten minutes before serving, add the mango, hot sauce, salt, and half of the cilantro and simmer. Serve the rest of the cilantro for garnish. Serves 8
Ellen’s Egg Frittata
the cream of 1 12-oz can of full fat coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil, or fat of choice, to coat pan
1 onion, chopped
2 bags spinach, cleaned, drained, chopped
1 tsp of favorite herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary
Optional additions: Low starch vegetables like a red pepper, a bunch of asparagus, chopped
Preheat oven to 400. Crack eggs in a large bowl and mix with the coconut cream and a bit of salt and pepper. Sauté onion in fat of choice until it is soft in a large frying pan that is also oven safe. Add additional low starch vegetables of choice. Stir in the spinach and cook until just wilted. Pour the eggs into the vegetables and add herbs. Cook on the stovetop over low heat for 5 minutes. Move pan into preheated oven; cook until the eggs are cooked through in the middle, about 25 minutes. Test with a clean knife. When it comes out dry, the eggs are done. Serves 6.