Sunday, February 08, 2009

Lying Low

We’ve pretty much been lying low since the holidays—partly because Tim is working 12-hour shifts, 6 days a week getting the new broadcast studios ready at L.A. Live, but also because I’ve been sick off-and-on with a recurring bout of Meniere's, an inner-ear disease that is completely incapacitating. The disease manifests itself as extreme vertigo, forcing me to stay in bed, at least once a week, until the “attack” passes. It’s incurable, but it can be managed through a low-salt diet.

When I was a kid, I merely tolerated food and ate only because it was necessary to survive. I couldn’t understand why my family was so obsessed with eating all the time.

As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve grown to appreciate food—its flavors, its cultural significance, and the joy of trying new restaurants. I don’t like everything—seafood and fish (ack!), for instance—but I do love to eat. Food looms large in Tim’s and my life.

But food is now the enemy. Turns out just about anything that’s packaged has sodium, causing my ear to fill with fluid, which leads to vertigo and other unpleasant side effects. Plus restaurants apparently put salt on everything! The only place that’s safe is Fatburger (YUM!), where you can request “no seasoning” and watch as they prepare your burger your way. They’re also one of the few places that doesn’t put salt on their french fries—heaven!

So I’ve been cooking at home a lot, adapting time-tested recipes by leaving out the salt. The best ones so far: chicken kiev, pasta primavera (without parmesan cheese—boo hoo!), baked potato and salad (with vinegar and oil, instead of sodium-infused bottled dressing), low-sodium ravioli with melted butter instead of spaghetti sauce, Chinese chicken salad, and chicken flautas, which I usually make only once a year (easy but very time-consuming) but have already made twice since January 1st. One good thing about this disease: it’s forcing me to eat healthier and also helping me lose weight. But, damn, I miss pork!

I’ve been told the attacks will probably abate in a couple of months. I can’t wait till April!

1 comment:

Ginny said...

This is serious. Should we skip Dinah's on February 27?