It’s become a mantra between us and when my oldest came home from working out at the crack of dawn I knew before I said it what his response would be.  Still, I went ahead and gave him his props.

“Good for you for working-out before class bud.”

“Well you know, you got to do what you got to do,” he said.                                                                    

I laughed, like I always do, at his now standard response to a motherly dose of affirmation.

I was standing in the kitchen staring at the shot of sauerkraut juice I knew I had to drink before my coffee.  A shot of tequila is about the only thing that sounds worse first thing in the morning—but at least that would loosen up the spirits!

It’s a jolt to be sure, and for as many times as I’ve done it now I still have to shake it off.  Knowing that I get to have my latte afterwards helps keep me in the groove with it.  It’s the bargain I’ve made with myself.  Drink that—then you get this.

Fermented foods have never been a part of my life until last summer when all ideas about healing up my gut had been exhausted.  None of the doctor’s, on what I call my “Wellness Team” knew what to do and I was getting more malnourished by the day. 

It was equal parts scary and miserable.  Then through an unusual series of events I was introduced to a dietician who had a whole protocol she wanted me to try.  I asked my GI guy what he thought and he said, “I don’t think it will hurt you but be careful not to get so strict with it that you can’t lead a normal life.”

“My life is hardly normal now,” I said.

“You know what I mean,” he said laughing.

I really didn’t, but I made so much progress in such a short amount of time following the diet that I had a new normal and it was a good groove.  The daily sacrifice of saying no to foods that I love—that are widely considered to be good for you—didn’t feel like a hardship.  It was actually kind of fun to have butternut squash with my eggs.  It was like Thanksgiving brunch daily.

Then I got food poisoning in December and every bit of progress I made was wiped out.  Hard as I tried to get back to my new norm I couldn’t.  That’s when the diet expert said I was going to have to be even more aggressive and revamp my diet again to incorporate what I call more nastiness.

It didn’t help that every time I went to the store to get supplies I found a penny.  In fact, one penny I just walked by.  I found two right after that as if God was saying, “Don’t ignore me!” 

Luke came back upstairs and when he saw I was still staring at the sauerkraut jar said,

“Are you okay Mom?”

“Yeah, I’m just having a hard time this morning doing what I got to do. You know what I mean?”

“Oh yeah, but you got to ask yourself do you want to be well.”

My eyes welled.  “I do,” I said and threw back the shot grimacing.

He came around to my side of the counter put his arm around me and said, “Way to be a warrior!”

For all the times I’ve said this to him, he knew exactly when to say it to me.

Later in my quiet time with God I couldn’t help but think of Jesus’ question to the man at the pool at Bethesda.  “Do you want to be well?” (John 5)

You could read that as rhetorical and say yes of course! However, I think there’s another question behind the question, and that is—are you willing to say no to whatever doesn’t serve you well?  Because that’s usually what wellness requires—letting go of something in whatever area of your life that needs healing.

It takes a warrior spirit as my wise son reminded me.  But fighting for your well-being is always worth it.  You can’t serve anyone else if there’s nothing of you to give.  My life is proof that you can feast on lots of good things and still not be well fed by them.




1 Comment
  1. Dearest Karen,
    This is a juicy story. So well written and meaningful. Sauerkraut juice. I guess I can buy the store. I think I’ll try it.

    Tell me again what it does for you besides giving you a breath that attracts Germans.

    With love,

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