Monday, July 11, 2011

Please don’t eat the flowers



I’m on a “low-residue diet.” What that means, basically, is do the opposite of everything else you’ve been trained to do. No fresh fruits or vegetables. No raw vegetables, only frozen, canned, or “well cooked” peeled vegetables like the pieces of carrot that show up in cans of chicken soup. No skins, seeds, or nuts. No dried fruit. Ripe banana only. Pasta made from refined flour… What kind of bread do you want? Whole wheat, of course. No, excuse me – how silly of me – make that white.
Well-cooked meat is okay. Actually I don’t eat that much meat, but when I do one thing I don’t want is “well-cooked.” How about hotdogs? Absolutely no hotdogs.
No whole grain cereals, such as real oatmeal.
But cake, pastry, ice cream? That’s fine. Chocolate, no. But ice cream, yes. How do you draw that line?
All that stuff that’s growing out back in the vegetable garden? Forget it. Just as things are getting good.
So now I tend the garden and pick greens and berries for Anne and Saul. (Full disclosure requires me to point out that Anne spends much of Saturday cooking blender soups such as carrot dill for me to eat all week.)
It’s raspberry time. We have lots of red and black raspberries this month. The bushes keep pushing out anything that’s growing near them and have probably smothered some of the strawberries underfoot, just as I warned, but in their season they are abundant and brightly colored and cheerful. Anne bakes a pie of at least four different kinds of berries, the black and red raspberries, mulberries from a tree in our yard, and some store-bought blueberries. It looks good enough to eat –
Sorry! And I quote, “No berries of any kind.”
It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world (that’s a quote too), when I have to eat only processed foods, and abjure the company of all things fresh and natural, in order to cure myself of a disease. Well, more exactly, to lower the unpleasant side effects from the radiation treatments to cure a disease.
These treatments are curiously timed to last through the fresh produce season. Corn on the cob? Don’t even think of it. Chunky tomato sauce? Salsa? It is to cry.
The tomatoes are getting big, though still green. Some sweet peppers are full size; some chilis need a few more sunny days to turn red. Zucchinis and cucumbers are on their way. Green beans to follow. We’ve picking leaf lettuce for months. Peas for a week. Somebody needs to do something with the cilantro.
It’s hard enough to give up recreational eating. When you can’t eat the healthy things growing in the backyard, you know that somewhere the universe is laughing at you.