Saturday, March 12, 2011

Back to basics

At the beginning of the year I promised myself I would try new things in 2011. New things, new places, new people. I started well: singing in a gospel workshop... singing! About God (I'm not a believer)! In front of an audience! And loving every minute of it, I might add. So that's several firsts right there in one endorphin-filled afternoon.

The last few weeks I've been laid up with sinusitis. Not quite what I had in mind, but a new one on me in any case. It led to another bout of labyrinthitis, sadly an all too familiar ailment. Top that off with probable anaemia, and that's ten days of sick-bed fatigue right there. And that's where my most surprising 'new thing' kicked in. I was lacking in energy and seriously craving protein, by which I mean meat - specifically chicken broth. Restorative chicken soup - good for the soul, right?

In 23 years of vegetarianism I've never craved meat. I started eating fish maybe 10 years ago because I needed protein, but eating it never sat comfortably with me. I wasn't the best pescetarian and could go days, weeks even, without protein. But here was my body craving meat. I felt rough, really poorly, and my body was screaming at me to listen to what it needed. Four days of rather reluctant bed rest later, I was still unwell and more fatigued than ever. I dragged myself to the local shop for supplies and found myself staring at a fridge full of ham.

So... I made chicken broth. I admit I squirmed a little while cutting it up, but I figured I had to handle the raw meat if I was going to eat it. And eat it I did.

A week into my new-found omnivore diet and I've only got as far as chicken and bacon. I don't know what else I will eat, or how long I will eat it for, but right now it feels right. I'm still not feeling 100% better or energised, but I'm getting there, and eating the food my body is craving may or may not be aiding my recovery. Who knows?

What I do know is that as a teenager I chose to stop eating meat. Now, aged 37, I am choosing to eat meat again (ethically farmed of course). I can honestly say I didn't see that coming.

So in this instance my new thing is actually a return to basics. A simplifying of my life, if you like. And in that respect, given the changes I've experienced these last few years, I guess it's not such a surprise after all.