Category Archives: Food Restrictions

Back to Real Life

Colonoscopy, a Peak Experience

As you have read, I went through a real downer after falling down the stairs.  I’m mostly over the episode, the body is mostly healed, and my psyche is on the mend.  Along with the trip down the stairs I got my three year endoscopy/colonoscopy and had a trip to the cardiologist.  I have an appointment with the gastroenterologist coming up for another butt chewing.  Who better than a butt doctor?

The cardiologist wants me to have an echocardiogram to see the extent of scarring on the wall of my heart.  I apparently had a heart attack sometime, and there is some damage.  I don’t remember anything, and my heart function is fine, but they want to check if there could be a problem in the future.

I go to many of Carol’s doctor appointments as well as mine.  I am tired of all the medical offices.  The people there are almost always great, but, the waiting sitting around reading six month old People Magazines.  I guess this gives old retired people something to do rather than sitting in the recliner watching old Law and Order reruns.

All this medical stuff is scary.  A good friend recently had a mild heart attack, but after 40 years of cigarettes, it is seriously scary.  He keeps telling me I need more exercise, but it is mostly projection.  At some level, however, he is right.  He is so scared he devotes much of his time to exercise, mostly pickleball and swimming.  When we have coffee he is usually limping from overdoing it at pickleball.  One of these days his leg is going to fold over backwards at the knee.  Well, maybe not, both of his knees are titanium and don’t fold backwards as readily.

I’m working on diet changes, getting Physical Therapy, and doing more Mindfulness Meditation.  Maybe someday I will start being more mindful when not actually meditating.  That should reduce the falling and tripping.

Other benefits of the meditation are the three refuges:  the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.  The Buddha is not some kind of God.  He was a man, albeit a fully realized man who devoted his life to helping others become realized.  The dharma is the body of his teachings along with the wisdom of his followers over the last 2500 years.  The sanghas are the groups of followers meeting to meditate, learn the dharma, and pay homage to the Buddha.

Sangas aren’t unique to Buddhism.  Christians call it fellowship, the body of Christ.  Human bonding is important for living a spiritual life.  Sunday evenings, the Insight Meditation Community of Denver meets in an Episcopal church near downtown Denver.  As always, it took some time for connections to form, but I now feel close to everyone there, even if they may be from California.  In addition, meditating in a group is always special.

Someday science will figure out what the spiritual energy is that forms within and between people following a spiritual path.  The energy is common to every spiritual path.  Sometimes it is called mystical, but there are many who would say they aren’t mystics.  The only thing blocking the bond is hate.  People can feel a bond of hatred, but it is in no way spiritual.

My hate example is the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka.  One of their tenets is that God hates.  Do you believe it?  A friend is the Unitarian Universalist minister in Topeka.  Their tenets are love and helping others.  The Westboro congregation is actually at cross purposes with their beliefs.  Their protests have brought people together all over the country to stand in opposition to hate.  Love grows.  Hate destroys.

Food, Mostly Hot Pot

Ramen Bowls

Ramen Bowls

Carol is allergic to any food containing cow dairy products.  It is like she has been poisoned.  With my ADD, foods containing gluten tend to make me irritable, as gluten is a precursor for glutamine, a neurotransmitter ADD’s have too much of.  It is always a bit of an adventure when we go to a restaurant.

The upshot is we are fairly aware of the dietary requirements many people have these days.  Entertaining is a challenge, preparing vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, organic, free range, sugar free, low salt, on and on.  Maybe hosts should just serve organic oatmeal with rice milk and be done with it.

Carol belongs to a cookbook book club at the library.  That means interesting and sometimes weird food and cooking techniques.  Currently we are engaged in a ramen quest.  Previously we had never been to a ramen restaurant.   So far every one has been an adventure, with different ingredients and sauces.  Denver is such a great town for exploring cuisines.  By the way, the ramen is only distantly related to those ramen packets you ate in your impoverished youth.

Japanese Hot Pot

Japanese Hot Pot

I like ramen so much we acquired a Japanese Hot Pot to do ramen and other hot pot dishes at home.  Years ago I liked to cook Mongolian Hot Pot meals for friends.  The Mongolian hot pot for heating the broth was a charcoal burner, and I always worried about carbon monoxide.  Our new hot pot is electric, not exactly traditional, but safe and controllable.  I am just learning what to do.  The pot has a divider in it, so it an heat two kinds of broth.

When we think of Japanese food it is usually sushi or teriyaki.  Typical Japanese at home food is usually from the hot pot.  Broth, vegetables, noodles or rice, maybe some meat, and family.  The broth is either a simple meat broth or dried seaweed with some dashi for umami.



Two Dishes, One Pot

Two Dishes, One Pot

I have cooked two meals so far with the hot pot.  Both went pretty well.  We have two cookbooks, but they aren’t really necessary.  You heat some broth, throw your veggies, meat, tofu, mushrooms, dumplings, and anything else in the pot, let it cook, and fish it out with the little baskets on a handle that come with the pot.

You have two choices for the noodles.  Cook them separately and put the stuff  from the pot on then and eat, or cook them in the broth after you are finished with the meat and veggies and have noodle soup for the last course.  The kind of noodle is up to you. Ramen, or any other variety is fine.  Wheat, rice, buckwheat, or corn noodles are fine. You can also put your stuff on cooked rice, preferably short grain sticky rice so you can use chopsticks.

Have condiments on the side.  Condiments can be soy sauce, hot mustard, wasabi, srirachi sauce, or anything else.  I get the sense that every Japanese household has its own way of doing hot pot.  It is a fun way to eat, and keeps you at the table instead of in front of the TV.