“Are there any candies that you just can’t stomach?”
Pretty much all of them, actually. Nobody realizes this when they’re young, but when older people talk about not being able to eat certain foods, there’s a reason for that: Those foods cause, shall we say, “digestive unpleasantness.” There are so many varieties of Digestive Unpleasantness that it doesn’t pay to go into details, and in any case, who on earth wants to hear about that?! I don’t, and I live with it.
I have to be careful with candy. One ounce of dark chocolate a day – the current recommendation of the
chocolate lobby health community – is playing with fire for me. I can have things with chocolate chips in them, as long as it isn’t an Eastern Orthodox fasting period like the seven weeks before Pascha/Easter, or the six weeks before Nativity/Christmas, since most chocolate chips are made from milk chocolate. White chocolate, about which I rhapsodized a couple of posts ago, is a thing of the past. 😦
Hence the title of today’s post. Friends who read my blog will remember the medical horrors I went through about six years ago. It has since been brought to my attention that I had what is known as a “close call” – I guess I really did come that close to dying – and since that unforgettable time, the expression “Eat dessert first” has come to my attention.
It’s meant to be a witty way of getting people to realize that there’s more to life than obsessing over one’s Perfectly Fit Condition, and any Orthodox priest worth his salt will tell you that it doesn’t matter how careful you are with your health – eventually you die, so you should devote considerably more attention to your spiritual health than to your physical health. Whatever form that takes for you is a matter of personal circumstance, but to obsess over health is pointless; I was in pretty good shape when I went for a routine hysterectomy that turned out to be anything but routine.
And, as happens with most people who have had a close call, I changed some of my priorities. I spend more time keeping in touch with family and friends, especially family. (As I once told an investigator when I was applying for a job in federal law enforcement, “Polaks don’t have friends. We have Relatives.” He was Polish himself, so he burst out laughing.) I spend much more time on my hobbies (reading and cross-stitching), and if my housework isn’t done by 10:00 a.m. – oh well. It’ll still be there tomorrow. I have a structure for spending an hour or so a day with God, and I make that a priority – it doesn’t always work out, but having that structure nags me to remember what’s really important here.
And while I don’t actually eat dessert first, I do eat dessert (carefully), something that, like too many American women, I used to avoid assiduously: Gotta keep my Girlish Figure, y’know. Let me tell you something: Girlish Figures are vastly overrated. Once you have children, you deserve a womanly figure. You don’t have to get fat, but if your shape takes on a few more curves, you should wear them proudly; you came by them honestly.
And while you shouldn’t go overboard with sweets, I am deadly serious about this: Do not avoid the sweet things in life. If you’re invited to coffee, or afternoon tea, have the sweet things that go along with it. Have Strawberries and Peaches and Cream for breakfast (if you combine it with rice and cottage cheese, you actually have a well-balanced meal. If you use nonfat cottage cheese, you’ve mitigated the effects of the heavy cream. It’s a great breakfast). Eat dessert.
Because the day is coming when you wake up one day in your sixties and realize: You can’t eat dessert anymore. Sweet things don’t agree with you anymore. But if you enjoyed them regularly in the past, you won’t feel regret; you’ll be grateful that you realized in time the importance of Eating Dessert First.