Growing up in a “Southern” home with a mother that cooks all southern dishes generally begets another southern cook to pass on all the traditions and my mother Joan is no different. Growing up in north Florida in a household of four children, she was served southern dishes that were made from what you could get on a meek salary for a family of six. She was taught to make everything work for what you needed it to and never to waste food.
Fast forward 20 years and you will find her in her own kitchen creating her version of those southern dishes that she grew up on. From meats served with potatoes and gravy, vegetables cooked with bacon fat (yeah, that’s how we do it in the south!), homemade cathead biscuits holiday and BBQ spreads that still amaze me when I think back and her delectable desserts, she skimped on nothing! She also made sure that she made enough to feed an army if need be since there was not always enough for seconds when she was growing up. I was very active in sports and burned a lot of calories during our practice workouts so when I got home I welcomed all the homemade dinners that she had to offer.
Fast forward another . . . well, we won’t divulge numbers here, but . . . few years and now she’s still in her kitchen making flavorful meals, but with a different outlook on the menu. Let’s look at her new journey to getting healthy –
Not so long ago my mother had her first ever colonoscopy. The procedure was pretty nerve-racking since she lost her mother around the same age to colon cancer. Upon receiving the results from her colonoscopy she was told that she had a medical condition called Melanosis which is a darkening of the lining in the colon, generally a disorder present with the chronic use of laxatives, her disorder came from using a natural product that contained Senna which is used to treat constipation. Horrified that she had something wrong or abnormal, she decided to start looking to make some positive changes in her choices.
She has changed her focus on food to more fresh fruits and vegetables, she reduced the amount of fried food she consumes, she is trying new things like greek yogurt and stepping out of her comfort zone with other foods too. She starts her day with a meal replacement shake, a lunch that incorporates fruit and vegetables and a dinner mostly consisting of chicken and steamed veggies. Not only is she trying to reduce her weekly alcohol consumption to the weekends, BUT she has FINALLY given up DIET COKE! The highlight of my text messages lately have been pictures she sends from the grocery store asking, “is this a good choice?” She is putting forth the effort at 110%, so much so that the last time she weighed (which she doesn’t believe in the numbers like me and loathes the scale) she had already lost five pounds and some inches. She also began using probiotic product I introduced to her as an alternative to the natural fiber product she was previously using and she seems to be seeing a big difference already in just a few short weeks.
She is looking forward to the cooler months so that she can get out and start walking. A person that literally cannot get out in the heat, she feels anxious for cooler temperatures to get her so she can get started.
As long as I can remember she has told me that she wished she could make the changes to be healthier and try new things and now she is on her journey to do that. She refuses to let anything or anyone hold her back from her new focus and she is truly excited about life again. She knowingly admits the only thing holding her back before was her. Learning new coping skills for letting things go and focusing on the now, she is finding her stride in getting to the place she has always wanted to be. I have no doubt that she will continue to excel in her changes. You can teach an old dog new tricks, as they say and she is proving that anyone can make the choice to do so.
I have never been prouder than I am of all the efforts that she is making for herself. We will check back in with her progress in a few months and see how she is doing on her journey to getting healthy and making a happier life.