Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Marisa's Menu: Post Gratitude Gripes

Birthday sorbet cocktail from Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen

Well, I had my birthday. And if I focus on the positive and continue my practice of gratitude, I can easily share with everyone that the days surrounding my birthday included many blessings. One was a much needed yoga practice at my favorite neighborhood yoga den. The instructor inquired if I had any special requests for class, and closed our practice with mention of my birthday. I was fortunate enough to share this class with a dear friend who has proven to be more understanding and supportive than most. And we even went for post yoga tea at the dedicated gluten free tea spot. (And I have to admit I had already been there earlier that day.) I managed to order two different flavors of protein balls, two sweet potato brownies, and a chocolate cookie. Oh, and my coconut almond iced tea latte. And all of this was during two visits that spanned eight hours...although miraculously I took part of it home for later. That's probably only because we were talking so much that I didn't have time to devour it all right then and there.

birthday gift from my thoughtful partner

My dear darling of a partner made breakfast for us with the eggs we acquired from the lovely Miss Marie. She's a neighborhood chicken who resides with our friends/neighbors who own the vegan tamale company. He made sure throughout the day that I was satisfied with whatever it is I might be doing at the time. My choice after yoga and tea was more solitude, rather than being social. And then in the late afternoon, he took me out for a nice dinner, where I had a delicious starter as a meal with trout and veggies, along with more adult beverages than I would normally partake in. We followed that with dessert at Cafe Gratitude. If I can't be out of town, in a city that I feel more comfortable in, then I am at least going to make sure I patronize the few places in town that WILL cater to my dietary restrictions. And Cafe Gratitude is one of those places. Their ingredient bible, titled "The Book of Knowledge," makes me so happy. It is like my dream menu scenario...a big green binder including each and every ingredient in every dish at the cafe. I am such a nerd that I get excited just reading it, even if I am not ordering.

We closed things out by stopping in to see the friend I had mentioned in my prior post who was celebrating her birthday on my actual birthday (originally at a speakeasy in the arts district). The plan evolved, and by the time we were done with dinner and dessert, the birthday girl and her group had landed at a locally owned establishment called Snow & Co. It is a frozen drink place, but it isn't generic or similar to any frozen drink place I have ever seen. Sadly, the majority of their drinks feature milk as an ingredient. But if I did still do dairy, I would be trying them all, as they feature milk from a local, family owned dairy farm, Shatto Milk Company.

Getting to see this friend and her husband was a great way to end the night for us. They are two of the few friends in town who (1) actually leave, travel, and explore enough outside of Kansas City to have perspective, and (2) understand and relate to our frustration for how far behind so many things and people are in their mindset here. They also completely understand and respect my dietary restrictions, and have been a valued support system since the day we first met them at a bookstore a few years ago.

So this glowing review of my birthday allows me to share the gratitude I am striving to practice. But what it doesn't reflect is the unfortunate presence of disappointment and frustration that dropped in a few times throughout the birthday weekend. Even though I tried to not have expectations, I clearly did. And even though I convinced myself it was fine that we were not leaving town for my birthday, it wasn't. AND even though I should have been able to roll with things, go with the flow, and accept whatever happened, I didn't.

I did get bummed out. And it was a direct result of a food related situation, which made me angry at my intestines. I was furious for at least 30 minutes at my gut for not being healed, my immune system for reacting to everything I eat as if it is dangerous, and at this town I live in for being so far behind and lackluster at times. Seriously, Kansas City, can you JUST be Chicago for a minute, or Portland, or Denver? It's my flipping birthday!

The trigger for my food disappointment came when I realized that I was not going to be able to eat at the one place I had planned on eating (The Farmhouse). I posted a photo of their brunch the other day online (a duck egg on a squash blossom with green curry). This place makes me very happy.

And that's the thing about having these restrictions, at least if you have them and don't live in a progressive enough location. When things don't go as planned, it really does feel like a huge ordeal. In the "olden days of yesteryear," before I cut so many things out of my diet, if a restaurant was overbooked or plans changed, it did not have to lead to a panic brainstorm session and disappointment. I simply found an alternate option. But it is not that simple anymore. Sometimes it just feels like it is more trouble than it is worth. Why bother? As much as I absolutely love eating, it sometimes seems like life would be easier if I could just hook myself up to an IV full of nutrients while I am sleeping, and be nourished that way.

I was already feeling like I had taken a consolation prize simply because we had not left town. So now realizing that we couldn't eat at the place I had in mind seriously almost brought me to tears. I realistically knew it was not that big of a deal. And I also don't put a ton of emphasis on my birthday. But because I so badly did not want to be here, I realize now that I had instead put emphasis on enjoying a certain type of dinner (and I clearly had an expectation, which led to disappointment). There was also a friend who I thought was going to be in town, and I used that to convince myself it would be worth not leaving town as well. Since he did not making it to Kansas City, this was also another disappointment.

But somehow even with those bumps in the road, I still managed to have a good birthday. And I woke up the following day with a fresh perspective as well. It was just another day, and I did experience some joy and nourishment. I did celebrate life and I even had delicious food without straying from my safe foods. But the nagging disappointment did make me reflect (and I discussed this with my health coach, Eryn), and the reflection gave me motivation to set some goals.

One goal that I am taking away from this is:
I want to get to a point where I don't obsess so much over where and what to eat in these types of situations. I can look at the situation now and clearly see that this was another case of me either having expectations or obsessing a bit too much over selecting the perfect option. I really do sometimes behave as if every meal is going to be my last. I act as if the selection of the restaurant or meal is my last meal on earth, and I had best choose carefully. I do think part of this comes from already being in careful mode to begin with, because as I have mentioned in past posts, I have to live on guard at all times (it feels like) in order to be certain I don't accidentally eat an offending food, or that I don't go over 4 hours without eating and have a major blood sugar drop and go into a panic.

I am sensing that other goals along this theme will develop gradually throughout this challenge, and I look forward to sharing them with everyone, getting feedback, and welcoming the support. I have never been in a situation like this where I can share all of this...with anyone, much less a whole community. Thank you all for giving me strength, perspective, and most importantly, the sense of community and support that I have apparently been lacking. It makes a huge difference, and I am already feeling the benefits from it.

Oh, and I have included the recipe available online from Cafe Gratitude for the Key Lime Pie (called, I Am Awakening) that I ordered to-go on my birthday after having a complimentary Orange Julius shake and a dark chocolate truffle cup of some sort that was out of this world awesomeness.



Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to you girl. Yes! We are all your community and friends. I've never been to Kansas City before, but I understand your thoughts and feelings. Well, it's a cooler city because YOU are in it. Seriously! I love the photos. The essential oils! The recipe. The mention of the restaurants. It's interesting, your relationship with your body is one of the most important things in your life. Maybe it's more accurate to say "our bodies.....and our lives." Because we are all learning through our bodies. I think you're a super cool chick Marisa so keep on being you. I'm so happy to know you.

Elizabeth A. said...

Happy belated!


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