Sunday, August 21, 2011

Parties and paleo

Traveling while on the paleo diet has been pretty well thrashed out in blog-ville. You prep plenty of TSA-acceptable stuff for the airplane, pack your walnuts and seeds and tins of kippers, and just hope that when your stash runs out you're somewhere you can get some nice eggs or a steak (or in the case of my recent visit to Chez Panisse, which proved to be very paleo-friendly, amazing sea bass and arugula salad, with the delicious berries you see to the right for dessert).

And if not, you do what I do, which hasn't proved too onerous so far, you skip a meal.

Give me a choice between a bit of a fast and a bag of those awful little "snacks" consisting of oddly shaped chunks of pretzel-type objects interspersed with round unidentifiable floury-type objects that Alaska Airlines persists in handing out, I'll go hungry, thanks.

But how about dinner parties? Particularly those hosted by lovely friends you'd just as soon not offend by sitting there with an olive on your plate while everyone else is scarfing up the homemade white bean soup and rosemary bread?

Happened to me yesterday, and honestly, it wasn't that bad. Bear in mind, however, white bean soup used to be to me as candy is to your average baby. I raised my kids on vats of thick hearty homemade navy bean soup, cooked for hours with bacon or ham and plenty of onions and garlic until it was practically a solid, content in my knowledge that it was, of course, one of the healthiest meals I could possibly feed them. Oh yeah, with plenty of my homemade, hand-ground whole wheat bread. Sigh.

Anyway, I'd warned my friend in advance about my new-ish eating habits, and so she warned me that she was planning on serving the aforementioned bean soup. But, she added, she'd also have plenty of salad, plucked from the incredibly verdant garden just outside her front door, not to mention veggies as appetizers, olives and berries, etc. And I contributed a lovely gourmet Italian hard sausage just in case any of us got hungry for some meat. It was delish.

Interestingly, not only did I have plenty to eat, but two people - including the hostess - pulled me aside at various points in the afternoon to ask for more details about this new way I was eating to battle rheumatoid arthritis. At our age, most everyone's heard about inflammation and given the brilliance of my friends, pretty much all of them would prefer to deal with any problems via diet rather than medication, if at all possible. We had great conversations and absolutely no one looked the slightest bit sideways at what I was - or wasn't - eating.

Long story short, don't see parties - or traveling or stress or a tough day at work (looking at you, Monday morning) - as reason to "fall off" paleo. I'm in this thing for the long haul and the results I've seen so far, in my c-reactive protein and SED numbers, my weight, and the way my various joints feel, is more than enough reason to pass on that lovely bean soup, thank you.

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