One of my favorite things about the onset of Fall is availability of more obscure apple varieties. I’m not really a fruit lover, as a general rule, but I like most kinds of apples. Before starting adopting the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I was particularly fond of super-tart, green varieties. I have some pretty vivid memories of the terrible Schoolboy Red Delicious apples they used to give us in school. They were tiny, dry, and mealy, and the experience of eating them was somewhat akin to eating apple-flavored sand. As a result, I carried a strong prejudice against red apples far into my adulthood.
As luck would have it, one day I got sick and ended up on the SCD plan. No sweeteners of any kind except honey (which I don’t particularly care for), and quite a long period of very bland foods.
Eventually, I started easing some things with flavor back in. One of those things was apples. I couldn’t wait to get my first bite of a good granny smith! Yowza! The sourness of this thing was nearly overwhelming! My salivary glands are reacting as I type this. As it happened, my wife was eating a honeycrisp. I’d tried them before and found them pleasantly juicy with a nice texture, but bland and uneventfully flavored. But after the SCD intro diet? This thing was an explosion of appley sweetness! I was almost sure I could feel crystals of fructose melting in my mouth. Here was something that, 6 weeks previous, I would have experienced as ‘just an apple’, but now had been transformed into a dense ball of ambrosia.
Obviously, that’s not quite right. The apple hadn’t been transformed at all. It was me. I was the only factor in the equation that had changed. After weeks and weeks eating nothing sweet (and clearing my system of all the crap that was in it), my perception of sweetness has changed.
Is this really so surprising? No. It’s really not. But it *is* interesting. It is interesting because it serves, to my mind, as a powerful metaphor for the experiences I’m having with life in general, and living life in a post-Crohn’s-diagnosis, SCD-compliant way.
My palate is not the only thing undergoing recalibration right now. There are fundamental questions coming up for me that I had not considered before. What does it mean to be ‘healthy’? What is a ‘normal’ life? What are some reasonable expectations for what the rest of my life is going to look like?
I don’t know the answers to these questions yet. I don’t even know that I EVER will truly know the answers. What I do know is that I’m enjoying the exploration of them substantially more now than I would have been capable of before getting sick. Crohn’s and SCD are changing my life in profound ways. No, scratch that. In light of these new experiences and this new knowledge, I am choosing to change my life in profound ways. It is naive and unrealistic to think that I can just ignore their existence, but I will not allow them define who I am.