Every once in a while if you are lucky something comes down the pike at you, slaps you up-side-the-head and sets you on a better path. For me it was this week’s doctor’s appointment. Apparently while I was busy doing all kinds of other things my cholesterol and blood pressure were busy heading through the roof. How could that have happened? And were was I when it did? Obviously I hadn’t been paying attention.

I left the clinic with a fist full of prescriptions and instructions – and with the growing realization that the times they are a-changin’ for me. My marching orders: ditch twenty-five pounds, walk at least half an hour a day, chuck out the salt shaker and animal fat etc., etc., etc. My head was spinning. None of this matched my image of myself. In my mind’s eye I was still the scrawny twenty-year-old who could eat anything she jolly well wanted. High blood pressure, high cholesterol were something big ol’ beer-bellied bubbas get, not me. Definitely not me!

As soon as I got home I commenced filling the garbage with all the “bad for you” stuff from refrigerator and cabinets. The memory surfaced of fifteen years ago when I learned I was gluten intolerant, when I filled big black garbage sacks with bags of flour, pasta, bread, frozen waffles, and a staggering number of products I never suspected contained gluten until with new eyes I read the labels. Cans of soup, bottles of soy sauce, boxes of potatoes au gratin went to the local food bank. I came to think of it as the Great Gluten Purge. Now here I was once again purging my kitchen, this time with anything that contained sodium, cheese, red meat, butter. Goodbye bacon, goodbye sausage! It took the better part of an hour.

While I worked I contemplated how apt the title of this blog has very suddenly become. I started it when I retired last year, intending to explore self-sufficiency, foraging, economizing, coupon clipping, recycling – all the nearly forgotten hippie values of my youth. But it has been a slow shift. I dawdled, stuck in my ways and a little afraid to take the necessary steps to change. With the news that my health has been compromised by our ever-lovin’ fat-lovin’ American lifestyle the choice has been taken out of my hands. (Well, of course I do have a choice: I can stroke out or have a heart attack! Naw, no choice.) So here I am folks, in my new incarnation: gluten-free, oatmeal-vegetable-fruit-tofu eatin’, Earth Shoe wearing, yoga chick! Tomorrow I’ll stock the cabinets with brown rice and cans of low sodium tomatoes. Yippie!

I’ll be keeping you informed on how I’m doing. Knowing you’re there cheering me on is sure to be the kind of encouragement I need. What I discover along the way I’ll pass on to you – you never know, you may at some time need it. Hope you don’t but I didn’t think I needed it either!

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