Lies My Sister Told Me That Maybe Weren't Lies
My sister and I are very different human beings.
I love attention–– duh, I have a blog. She despises it–– even having people sing to her on her birthday makes her twitchy and weird. She dresses hyper-professionally and should basically buy stock in Ann Taylor Loft, whereas just yesterday my style was referred to as "an adult Lizzie McGuire." I keep up with the Kardashians, but I’m not sure she even knows who Tyga is. We’re two sides of a really weird , genetically similar coin.
One of our biggest differences has always been food. Don’t get me wrong: we both freaking LOVE food. But we’ve always loved it in different ways. I love it in the way where you know where all the late night hot dog stands are. She loves it in the way where she owns a juicer and makes her own pesto.
In spite of our many differences, though, we’re insanely close. She’s the person I talk to most on a daily basis, so naturally when my Crohn’s threw my diet for a loop a couple of months ago, she was the person I turned to. She’s been trying to get me on healthy home cooking for years now, but like anything in my life, I don’t do it until I’m good and damn ready. Like any stubborn, self-respecting millennial should, I reject things I don’t understand. And I didn’t understand kale, or why I would want to eat quinoa when I could have literally any other food.
When I was finally ready to eat right so I could function through a work day without immense stomach pain, it was like my sister had been waiting in the wings to become my real-food fairy godmother. I just so happened to have a visit planned to see her, and since I wasn’t well enough to go adventuring around DC, we used the time to teach me to cook. In a couple of days, Heather took me from “how do you bake a piece of chicken?” to “I’m going to puree some basil to incorporate into my homemade mashed potatoes.”
I even learned to juice, which is something I previously made fun of mercilessly but was actually kind of fun and yielded some delicious carrot ginger situation that gave me a lot of energy I’d been missing on my bland diet.
After my trip ended, she sent over a parting gift of wisdom–– a cookbook of sustainable seafood recipes. My gut has decided I can’t eat any meat more dense than fish, so this is basically the most thoughtful gift a human could get me right now, short of some new intestines. I felt like a butterfly leaving my little cooking cocoon, and with only moderate help from Heather via text, I made a really impressive arctic char. She may have given me advice and cook times and recipes, but mainly she gave me the confidence that I can actually do this stuff and cook using something other than a microwave.
So should I have listened to my sister four years ago when she said pizza rolls aren’t dinner? Probably. But the point is that sometimes we know what’s good for us but it takes a kick in the ass (like an aggressive Crohn’s flare) to grow up and make us actually act on it. And now I have the satisfaction of knowing I did this for me and my colon, and not because some guy or celebrity or fad diet made me think I needed to change. I’m changing for my health, not to look like Beyonce, which makes it a lot more accessible. It's not how I look, but rather about feeling good enough to make it through the day.
My hope for you all is that something kicks you in the ass and makes you realize you can actually feel better based on your food intake. Or if it’s not food, whatever it is you’ve been putting off because it seems to hard or tedious. And more than that, my hope is that when you do finally make the decision to make a change, you have an older sister who wants to teach you how to make butternut squash soup. It’s no Big Mac, but it’s shockingly satisfying to eat something you cooked yourself. It’s too soon to tell, but it’s possible that I’m becoming a reformed drive-thru junkie.