The conversation started with an update from my doctor about me over achieving my numbers on my cholesterol test and not in a good way. It seems no matter how little meat and dairy I eat, or how many beans and veg I eat, my numbers are bad. Bad in the way where meds are needed to head off outcomes nobody wants, most of all me.
My doctor had directed me to an online group of medical folks who support patients exploring and struggling to eat a plant-based diet. I am not a joiner, I aligned with Groucho Marx when he said that he didn’t want to be a member or any club that would have him. So, joining any enthusiastic movement where folks preach, shame or boast puts me right off. Plant-based and Vegan are different in lots of ways that I won’t bore you with here. I was looking at medical reasons, so the least amount of processed food was important which is why the doctor pointed me to plant based. Not that the sustainability, climate change and mistreatment of animals in not important but did I mention my undying love of cheese and that I am not a great person? I soldiered up and filled my script and attended an online weekly class to educate myself more about nutrient and plant-based diets. Yes, I am the woman who has said she didn’t want to live in a world without cheese but now I understand that the “live” part of that sentence is key.
The class was led by two medical professionals: a doctor and PA who were there to educate not preach which was helpful. They showed us data, where the data came from, and went over a string of questions folks had who were contemplating or struggling eating plant-based for medical reasons. I was dutifully taking my meds, which I loathe, and thought how much I love dairy; meat is fine I don’t eat a lot, but we are talking anything with a face so goodbye to seafood too if I took this turn. I had been toggling between milk and oat milk for coffee and tea already, but eating plant-based means no yogurt, no cheese, no Friday pizza, unless I can find a good substitute. I had a lot to think about as I am of the age where I would like to stay as healthy as I can as I rumble to the end of my days. Which I hope is decades away.
I decided to kick start plant-based eating in 2023 for six weeks without taking my meds to see if it netted me the same result. I am not a good forever person, as anyone can tell from my dating life. I am more of a catch and release type of girl. That being said I can commit for a solid six-weeks at a clip, and it turns out you can do most anything in life with just taking small, medium or in this case six-week bites. Those bites being leafy green and healthy.
I expressed this New Year experiment to my bestie Marsue, who I knew would mourn me, deeply in her forays into fine dining and Costco pizza. However, with a significant birthday coming her way, much to my surprise she voluntarily put herself in the line of fire to join me in this six-week experiment. Upon a good three minutes of uninterrupted thought, she scaled back her plan to a much better option that fit her needs but remains in solidarity. She’s a great friend not crazy. We would march into the long dark night of the soul, joined in withdrawal, discovery, perhaps even good health. Some might say what about those martini Fridays, or wine tastings? I would say, one thing at a time; I still want a good reason to get out of bed before I have to consider the mountain after this. Small steps my friends, small steps.
As our conversation progressed about her time in NY as a vegetarian in the 80’s she admitted to relying heavily on Thai tofu curry and blocks of cheese. We batted around recipe ideas. Ingredients were bandied about when baby corn surfaced. As it is apt to do in a pool of lovely red coconut curry sauce when done well. I paused, “hey, were does baby corn come from? It really is corn, with a little baby cob inside but how is it made, grown, whatever…” I trailed off thinking with my martini brain buzzing. Marsue, without missing a beat, said it was made by elves or fairies. Now I know this to be wrong as fairies and elves have other skill sets and are quite busy. Fairies take care of teeth retrieval and compensation for said teeth, work in entertainment for Disney, children’s book authors, casting spells, granting wishes and mischief. Elves also have their tiny plates full with Santa and toy making, forestry, shoe making and again Disney and mischief. But there are a collective of Keebler elves doing good work. Baking is huge in our country and based on the government and FDA making ketchup and pizza vegetables, white cane sugar a fruit and oxy and meth nonaddictive chewable gummies for all.
Needless to say, the next day I looked up where baby corn came from and was still disappointed to find its lack of magical origin. It is simply little cobs of corn, harvested by hand [and not the hands of elves and fairies] as the second cob on a corn plant, removing it helps the plant to focus on the one big ear of corn. Ah mother nature knows some good shit. So, with a new appreciation for baby corn and a healthy but sad heart I will muddle along in my six weeks experiment next year to see what a plant-based diet will yield for me. Perhaps, better statistics, perhaps even more energy, a smaller waistline, a trail of friends and family who will not know how to feed me. The line of restaurant’s I currently frequent will have to dial back their orders from suppliers of cheese, eggs, and ice cream for God sakes… the carnage will be there but maybe it might not be me if all goes well. So, here’s to baby corn, and a long dark night of the soul while I still have my martini’s.
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