“Have some, it’s good for you!”
These famous words are spoken on a daily basis by most mothers, wives, grandmothers or anyone who is in charge of the dietary needs of others. I am no different. I cook for myself, my husband of thirty-seven years and was chief cook/bottle washer as we raised our four children. I made sure they had their milk, vegetables, fruits and protein. Homemade chocolate chip cookies were always on hand for treats, along with ice cream, and popcorn. Rick is a rather finicky eater, so I did not force vegetables he didn’t like on him or the children. Instead I served what all would eat – green beans. We ate lots and lots of green beans. And we were a happy family of six. Well, mostly.
Eight years ago I was diagnosed with macular degeneration. One year later a doctor added high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol to my chart. In an effort to avoid a pill I began a quest on the best options in my diet to help control my new maladies. I should add I also have sensitivity to sugar so I watch my sweets and carb intake. Throw in my body’s inability to handle chocolate, eggs, chicken, turkey and alcohol and you have my diet in a nutshell. (I can eat nuts!)
I love research so I checked internet sources to find foods that can aid in halting macular degeneration. I discovered a few foods were things I enjoyed. Blueberries, high in the antioxidant I need, became a daily breakfast item. I mixed in non-fat plain yogurt (calcium); rolled oats (cholesterol buster); chopped walnuts (for my heart and brain); ground cinnamon (blood pressure) and ground flax seed (heart and brain health). I also discovered dark leafy greens were great for the eyes, so my daily regimen of eating spinach, romaine lettuce, swish chard or kale was added. I have always loved eating those foods, so it was no big deal to me. I try to eat small meals as opposed to three large ones. Did I forget to mention I watch my weight? Yup, middle age spread hit. Almonds high in nutrition became my go to snack.
Like all good dieticians, I was eager to share my new found knowledge with my husband. He likes to snack so I put out the almonds, baked with no salt, of course. Salad, one meal each day for me, had spinach added to the romaine lettuce. I started gradually with the spinach to get him used to it, and as he tolerated it, I added more until it was half and half. To make it more filling, I sprinkled chopped almonds on the top. The added crunch was a nice touch. I felt like such a good wife when I noticed him add spinach to his sandwiches or to his salad when we were at a salad bar. He has his ‘honeymoon style’, you know, ‘lettuce alone’, while I enjoy mine with dressing.
I tried to share my hummus, blueberries, kale chips, etc., but Rick was adamant, he didn’t like those things and was happy with the way he ate. I found out this week, that all the things I was trying to feed him, some successfully, were the absolute worse things for him. After three days of testing at the Mayo Clinic, we met with a dietician. Rick’s plague of growing kidney stones was being fed generously by the diet I was putting before him. No more spinach, almonds… We learned the reason he could grow a 7mm stone in a few short months.
No longer will he believe me when I say, ‘have some, it’s good for you.’ Yup, Dr. Mom was fired this week, at least as a dietician. In spite of my misguided attempt to help him, Rick still loves me. Now, we just need to get the rest of the answers.