|I love this look on Tom’s face as he’s learning how to handle the python. Like an infant, the python’s head must be held up to avoid injuring it.|
Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2013 while living in Diani Beach, Kenya, during Tom’s first of two snake-handling experiences. See the link here.
The purpose of today’s post is not to complain (well, maybe a little) as much as it is intended to alert those who may have dietary restrictions of varying types and can never be too careful. We haven’t been able to get it right after 224 days.
|This African Chameleon, variety unknown, is winking their left eye for the photo! Check out the funny little mouth! Neither of us hesitated to handle this non-poisonous creature.|
During these 224 days and nights, we’ve been ordering breakfast and dinner for that many days. They still don’t have it right! I’d also like to preface this post with this: the staff at this hotel are very kind, with the best intentions. Regardless of how frustrated we may become and how graciously or less graciously we express ourselves to them, there is a language barrier that will supersede today’s frustrated comments.
Although, I have been evident and specific with the restaurant manager, chefs, and cook, as to what I can eat to maintain my health which is as follows:
- No sugar, starches, or grains
- No vegetable oils, no olive oil, only butter
- No fruit or fruit juices
- No rice, no beans, no lentils, no flour, no fillers, no potatoes, no bread
To further simplify this, I remind them of this:
“I can eat any animal products, fish or chicken, butter, cheese, eggs, salt, and mustard.”
Lately, I stopped eating vegetables when I was trying to figure out why my stomach hurt all the time, which continued after I left out the vegetables a few weeks ago. Also, at times, some restaurants, from what we’ve discovered in our travels, cook their vegetables in the same pot of boiling water as the pasta they cook throughout the day. I’m just not going to risk eating vegetables and avoid them for the remainder of our time here. I am extremely gluten intolerant.
My restrictions are posted in the kitchen for all cooks and staff to see. I’ve been eating this way for 11 years, and no doubt, I’ve struggled with this even on cruise ships where I felt ok eating vegetables when their cooks had a better understanding of gluten intolerance and didn’t cook vegetables in the pasta water.
|Chameleon on my leg. Its legs were sticky, grasping at the fabric of my pants.|
But, here in Mumbai, where 90% of what the Indian people consume contains starches, grains, and sugars (including fruit and juices). Delicious? Yes! Suitable for me? No!
Over the past week, when I quit the vegetables, I began eating a “plain” (as requested) ground chicken patty, topped with a butter-fried egg, Emmental cheese, and bacon. It was delicious. I was thrilled with my new option to have “mixed it up” a bit from my usual grilled boneless, skinless chicken parts (I don’t like chicken breasts since they are often too dry unless cooked on the bone with the skin I can’t get here).
|This is a grass snake, non-poisonous, slithering on Tom’s arm.|
In a post on October 27, 2020 (found here), I mentioned I’d experienced an 80% improvement in the pain in my legs while walking, which I’ve had since open-heart surgery in 2019 in South Africa. Somehow, I couldn’t get past that 80% improvement when I’d significantly reduced my carb load after I stopped eating those red sauces in Indian chicken curry and Makhani dishes in September.
Tomatoes and tomato sauces can have many carbs from the natural and added sugars in the sauce. I’d been a fool to eat those but did so in sheer desperation. I’d hoped that dropping these red sauces in early September would help reduce the inflammation in my legs after the two separate leg surgeries I had six weeks after cardiac bypass surgery when both of my legs became seriously infected. Good grief. What a mess I am!
|This semi-poisonous snake paralyzes its prey. If they bite a human, the area of the bite will feel numb for a few hours but poses no systemic risk. We were told to keep the head away from us while handling it. This is me holding it as Tom took the photo. In 2018, in South Africa, we both went to snake handling school, with Tom doing more handling than me.|
So, by eliminating the red sauces, I started experiencing improvement in the pain in my legs up to about 80% until I started eating the chicken burger (no bun) dinner. I knew I had no problem with any of the items on the plate. I’d spoken directly to the head chef, asking him the ingredients in the chicken patty. He said, “Chicken, onions, garlic, and salt.”
“Great,” I said, “I can eat those and continued to do so for the past week. Then, my legs were getting worse by the day. The past several mornings, I could only walk at a snail’s pace. What was wrong? Frustrated and, of course, worried, I decided to check my blood sugar using my glucometer, which I’d been told to use when I started this way of eating to determine if a particular food was causing inflammation. High blood sugar an hour or two after eating? This means that the specific food I’d eaten was too high in carbs for me.
|Tom wound it around his hands, keeping the mouth at a distance.|
Last night after dinner, my blood sugar was 40% higher than after eating a usually meager carb meal. I hadn’t checked it in several months, but this made me rethink what I’d consumed. It wasn’t the bacon, the cheese, or the egg. I’ve never had a problem with these. Also, I hadn’t had any “pasta water” vegetables.
Immediately, I called the head chef whom I’d spoken to previously, asking once again the ingredients in the burger. He explained it had bread crumbs to hold the chicken together. I knew I tasted something in those supposed plain chicken burgers, similar to the smell and taste of a loaf of store-bought whole wheat bread. I should have known better. Had I not told them over and over again, no bread, no flour, no starch, no grains?
|For a small snake, this snake has a large head.|
I do not have celiac disease, but I have a huge gluten response known as gluten intolerance. By the time I stopped eating gluten in 2011, the damage was done to my arteries combined with a strong genetic predisposition to heart disease, insulin resistance, and Type 2 diabetes. In essence, almost lifelong history of eating a very low-fat diet of products containing starch, flour, sugars, and grains contributed to my having cardiovascular disease.
The cardiologist in South Africa explained I’d had these bad arteries for 30 or 40 years. There was nothing I could do to reverse it. Still, perhaps the continuation of a low-inflammation, low carb/keto diet, and lots of exercises, along with a healthy lifestyle, could prevent it from getting much worse, giving me a few more years of life.
|At last! He’s got python handling figured out! He couldn’t have looked more pleased!|
No wonder I’ve been suffering while walking since I started eating those ground chicken patties a week ago. May I say I was enraged? I composed myself during the phone call. Today, I sent a message to management to ensure they post my restrictions, once again, in the kitchen for all to see. After all, we’ve been here for 224 days.
Now, with the likelihood of gluten remaining in the body for weeks, if not months, I have to start all over again, hoping to get my legs to work better while walking. I will still push myself to walk 10,000 steps (5 miles, 8 km) a day. I will no longer take the risk of eating that otherwise delicious chicken patty that most likely contained an entire slice of whole wheat bread.
|Close up of the python Tom handled.|
In closing this post, I’d like to stress that no matter how much we request special dietary considerations in dining establishments throughout the world, one can never be assured the food they are serving is safe for us. In any case, it’s best to order food prepared as plainly as possible in restaurants and save the exciting dishes for our safe home cooking.
Food for thought (no pun intended). Happy day!
Photo from one year ago today, November 2, 2019:
|This photo illustrates how the gangway was jammed into the ship. For details, please click here.|