Posted by: cg00n | January 3, 2010

Shaky New Year

I thought I was over the last bout of melancholy shortly before Christmas but it has returned to haunt me like the spectre of Christmas Yet to Come.  I’m not in particularly bad shape but there is noticeable  agitation, particularly in the morning, an increase in negative thoughts (this could be my last decade …) and my appetite has not been doing well.  Most people gain weight over Christmas:  I’ve lost 5 pounds.

P‘s brother & family came to stay for a few days starting Christmas Eve.  They are a lovely family and A had a couple of people her own age (more or less) to hang out with.  There was a lot more Christmas spirit in the air than usual and everyone seemed to have a good time, including me.  They left on the 30th.

The next evening we went to a wonderful New Year party thrown by a couple of close friends and fellow meditators.  There were only about a dozen people in total all of whom were interesting and friendly people.  Around midnight some of them paraded into the living room equipped with a concertina and a couple of guitars and, after the obligatory Auld Lang Syne, they regaled us with a variety of folky, bluegrassy songs.  We bailed out about 1am feeling very good about life.

Notwithstanding all this good stuff I started to feel agitated on about the 29th.  It is quite a mild case, really, but unpleasant to deal with as always.  Today P helped me devise a coping strategy.   I need to eat more.  The problem of finding something I want to eat is complicated by the various food allergies and intolerances I have acquired over the years:

  • lactose intolerance (milk, cheese etc.)
  • garlic (present in a huge variety of prepared foods)
  • mustard (probably)
  • corn products (also present in many prepared foods)
  • chitinase (found in avacado, mango, banana, kiwi fruit, some nuts etc.)
  • various nuts
  • various legumes in any sizable quantity

Fortunately none of these is life-threatening but it has taken literally years (like about 20) to figure this out.  I’ve always had a rather delicate stomach and back in the ’90s I had all kinds of alarming sounding tests and examinations which revealed nothing unexpected.  This little list also caused huge problems when I was in hospital last summer.  They really had no idea what to feed me.  Ironically, of course, ginger ale (often suggested for an upset stomach) and protein drinks (like Boost) contain corn syrup and thus make matters worse. Anything containing “spices” has to be approached with great caution.  So many of the things I would snack on in my younger days are now more or less off-limits.  Eating out is complicated; fast food is pretty much a guarantee of later gastric distress.

Add to all of that the desire to eat healthy (avoiding red meat, hormone and antibiotic-fed chickens, high cholesterol foods such as eggs, pesticide-treated plants etc.) and you can see that maintaining adequate nutrition can get interesting, especially when I don’t feel like eating in the first place.

The short list of high-protein foods that we figure I can eat is:

  • Salmon (18g protein / can)
  • Sardines (20g protein / can)
  • Chicken or turkey breast
  • Pork
  • Cheese (ideally goat or lactose-reduced)
  • Solomon Gundy (a local specialty:  pickled herring, more or less)
  • Vega protein drink (no milk, no corn, 26g protein in a full serving)

My new dietary plan now looks something like this:

  • Breakfast: half Vega serving; cereal with fruit; bread & jam
  • Lunch: half Vega serving; fish, cheese or meat as available; bread or crackers
  • Dinner: Chicken, turkey, salmon or other fish; veggies; potatoes or rice

If it is time to eat and I don’t feel up to it due to agitation I will take enough Clonazepam to convince my gut to co-operate.  At any other time of day, if I feel like dealing with my mental state by other means I can do so but meals are hereby declared to be important.

I invite your comments and suggestions as to what else I might try.  P has been a very imaginative cook given all the restrictions but we would both welcome new ideas.

Speaking of someone other than myself (although I realise that I am endlessly fascinating) a large number of cards, letters and emails have flowed in from friends and relatives across the country and around the world.  It is great to hear from all of you!  If any of you would like to talk to me e.g. via telephone or some kind of Skype-like thing I would be only too delighted.  Drop me a line and let’s try to get some connectivity happening.  I’m not always morose so you never know:  talking to me might cheer you up as well.

Right now it’s ‘way past my drinking time so here’s wishing you all a very happy 2010:  may you live in truly boring times.



  1. I’ve settled on oatmeal + rice dream for breakfast, usually adulterated with raisins. Seems to work for me.

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