Back from Florida

Florida was fun. I hit the beaches, east and west, Atlantic and Gulf, collecting shells and photos of jellyfish, watching the ships and happy beachlovers, walking for miles in bare feet, shorts and a tank top. 83 degrees. I combined research for a Florida beach book with healing sun time, making lemonade from the disaster in my house.

Last night I finally got almost everything put away, vacuumed and dusted, and look forward to designing Lake Effects III poster this week, along with, perhaps, a poster depicting “Day at the Lake”, or perhaps a 4-season poster, all to be published by April, 2008.

About my diet: In December, I was convinced by The China Study to attempt a vegan diet, a step beyond my already mainly vegetarian lifestyle, eliminating dairy products, all of them, from my life. I found the vegetarian part possible on the road during my two-week trip to Florida (I drove from Michigan and back), but no-dairy was not an option. Road food was abominable. I packed a cooler for the trip south, but return sustenance depended on Qwik Marts.

But I tried. I found it easy to quit drinking the gallon a week of skim milk I’ve done all my life: After two no-milk months, I find I no longer have achy joints, no more pain in my hands (that I’ve endured for ten years), no more acid reflux. I would never have believed I could quit taking ibuprofen and tums, but it’s happened. It’s made a believer out of me. (I get my calcium and vitamin D from supplements, sun, and other foods.)

Doctors seem so bored by the simplicity of nutritional fixes. It’s just not fun science, I guess. But seems to me that during the last seven years my rheumatologist might have suggested going off dairy. Apparently, doctors don’t suggest diet fixes because they assume patients won’t do it. I’ve managed to do it mostly, allowing myself an egg or two a week, pizza on a weekend, and I eat anything anyone is gracious enough to prepare for me.

Besides the health benefits of my no-milk diet (I find soy milk just fine on cereal), I’ve found another surprise: Food tastes so good. I feel as if my taste buds woke up. Everything tastes better than I can ever remember. Is it the type of foods? Have my taste buds been dulled by milk casein? What’s happening here?

(The painting, called “Love Is Blind” measures 30×40 inches, acrylic on illustration board, depicts a couple on the Fort Lauderdale beach plus my imagination. $700, framed.) CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT.