Eat Choke Love

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

The summer of 2014 has been distinguished by two forces intersecting. First, we are doing a very significant Candida Dietary Cleanse to address our collective health woes. And secondly, but in no way less importantly, right smack dab in the middle of our huge health endeavor, our dear friend Kathy dies oh-so-unexpectedly from cancer. Those two points of convergence are keeping me awake nights lately as I try to make sense of it all. Yes, I am grieving – terribly. And yes, I am cleansing. And so I have staggered through the painful process without so much as a soothing glass of wine, a coma-inducing brownie, or a gluten-free pizza devoured somewhere in between. I have faced it all stone cold sober- no dairy, no booze, no sugar, no nothin. And it hasn’t been easy.

Through it all work has remained as consuming and demanding as ever. Finally late last week we put on the brakes and made a decision to take some quiet time for ourselves. We added a Friday to the weekend, and made a conscious decision to rest for 3 days. And for the sisters that always means one thing; first and foremost – get me to the chiropractor. Ours is a Master Adjuster who combines a degree in Naprapathic with gentle, precise and skillful Chiropractic adjustments, including cranial sacral, delivered as we lay atop a far infrared pad that is infused with healing amethyst crystals. That kind of doctor.

But he also happened to be the doctor of our dear departed friend. And so being in his office meant being with other grieving folks who had also lost Kathy. It also meant hearing even more bad news. Another friend was very sick, as well. Sick as in dying. Soon. And upon hearing that I  really couldn’t take it anymore. And I was not alone. Annie joined me in shared shock and sadness. She also joined me in convincing Clare that life was too damn short. And good and health-conscious friends all around us were dying despite cleansing and other best efforts. And we were in fact just days away from completing our 3-months-long commitment. And so we pleaded for a glass of wine with our small portion of grass-fed beef accompanying a plate 60% loaded with vegetables, okay? Clare was not actually convinced; but she relented in the face of our really sad faces. And so we went out for dinner. And wine.

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And of course, as is always the case when you have been carefully cleansing, the food proved to be pretty much awful. We waited patiently for an outdoor table to become available as the summer night was simply perfect. The terrace was gently buffered by raised beds of lush herbs. You could almost forget the city traffic just beyond the sidewalk. A canopy of outdoor lights filled the air above our heads and the tables were pleasantly full of young people getting a jumpstart on the weekend. Of course the waiter was less than stellar. No bottled water, or even filtered water, was available in some strange nod to sustainability that did not take health into consideration. But who cared, we were having wine. Which arrived after a really long wait – in glasses thickly rimmed with other womens’ lipstick stains. Okay, yuck, but easily remedied. We were not going to let anyone spoil our long-awaited night out and our need to toast dear friends and the fragility of life.

The food was pretty much awful. The albeit grass-fed beef was served with a relish of red peppers and capers that involved little more imagination than a spoon and the opening of two jars. Again, yuck. The potato gaufrette proved to be two waffle cut potato chips. You’re kidding me, right. But none of that was the real problem. Our choice of appetizer was. And here I have to take responsibility for not holding my own. I could care less about sweet potato fries. We’d eaten plenty of sweet potatoes on our cleanse because of their anti-inflammatory qualities so it was no treat. But I was alone here. The girls love sweet potato fries. And to be fair to the restaurant, we had been duly warned about them being a cross-contamination problem. Which we in our grief-induced-life-is-for-the-living state of joie d’vivre foolishly ignored. The girls devoured them. I ate just a few. A few. Too. Many.

I did not realize that I was having an allergic reaction to the gluten cross-contamination while I was eating the fries. Or the spinach salad that followed. But once the miserably prepared beef arrived I began to experience a very gentle tightening of my throat with each bite I took. Small bites, mind you. I am a stickler for really tiny bites and I chew everything the 4,000 requisite chews too. About four bites in my throat closed completely around the grass-fed beef. I mean completely. I was officially choking. When I pounded the table my sisters understood. When I made the international hand sign for holy crap I think I need the Heimlich Maneuver they really knew. They really knew because our mom had a serious choking disorder for years and we were all well-trained in the signs and the what to do next.

The not fun task fell to Clare who positioned herself quickly behind me and attempted the nearly impossible – trying to get her fist anywhere between my overly well-endowed bustline and my I need to stay on this cleanse enormous tummy. But she managed. Repeatedly. While I choked and thought she was going to break my ribs. Which I had just spent some big bucks having adjusted by the aforementioned Doctor of Chiropractic. Meanwhile Annie was directing the johnny-on-the-spot manager to get bread, which can be used effectively to dislodge trapped food. But gluten-free she screeched. She’s gluten-free. And despite my life flashing before my eyes I still managed to be like really Annie is asking for the bread to be gluten-free in the middle of a medical emergency. Could we be a little more high maintenance and dramatic here? And that’s when I became aware of all the young men at the surrounding tables who were popping up everywhere from their date night tables, at the ready, gallantly offering to help, saying is she going to be okay, and looking really worried for me until finally the grass-fed beef dislodged and I began to cry. Which is not something you choose to do following the Heimlich Maneuver. It’s just something that happens, along with the shaking which adds to your complete embarrassment and mortification that you are officially the old gal who choked her beef and made a scene right in the middle of everyone’s lovely Thursday date night. But at least it was over and everyone settled back into their chairs and resumed eating while I stared at my no way am I going to eat that grass-fed beef with pepper relish and potato gaufrette.

I should have just gone home and cleansed. I should have eaten yet another meal of broiled salmon with steamed asparagus spears. But at least the manager felt my pain and said “May I, in light of the fact that I don’t think you are going to want to jump onto that beef again, bring you a serving of our buttermilk panna cotta? It should slide down easily.” And so I turned to Clare for the yes, you can eat some dairy just this once approval – on this miserable grief-induced night. And I did eat that panna cotta. But again it was so mediocre I could have wept; but I didn’t. Here’s why.

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Something actually healed for me there in the summer night air, beneath the softly strung lights and surrounded by all the still beautiful young people drinking unfiltered water with abandon. I hadn’t died. From choking. And I was so touched by all the love I felt in the rapid-fire movements surrounding my near demise. The manager continued to hover around our table, telling stories of being a medic in Afghanistan. He was truly pleased that my sisters had been able to handle things so effectively. “I’m very strong,” he said. “I’m afraid I would have broken your ribs with that Heimlich. And I tend to be pretty impatient too. I mean I’m trained for surgery. I could have done a tracheotomy, he said.” As I discretely slid my now scary-looking steak knife beneath my napkin. And on and on the conversation flowed about the war and the carnage so intense that most of his soldier friends are no longer able to even look at meat when they come home – let alone eat it. “War made them all vegans” he tells me.

The conversation flows as it always does. Well, at least for us. To deodorant. And before I know it Annie has gone to the car and gotten an assortment of gift packs for all of our new friends and I am passing out thank yous and sample packs to all the beautiful young people. Apologizing for all the drama. And of course I am met with nothing but the most tender and loving of reassurances. And I get in the car. Heading home finally. Back to the cleanse and snacks of dill pickles and filtered water infused with lime instead of wine and I feel refreshed. It is good to be alive. On a beautiful summer night. Outside, just below the moon, inhaling the herb-infused air and toasting my dear friend. Knowing this is exactly what she would want us to be doing. To hell with the cleanse, she’d say. Go out and enjoy your beautiful life.

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About the author: Mary Duggan is Co-Founder and President of the Duggan Sisters

The Duggan Sisters cracked the code and created a natural deodorant that actually works: lifestinks. And that was just the beginning. We hope you will spend a few minutes exploring duggansisters.com to experience their spirited approach to wellness through their natural products and healing stories.

 

 

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