Two weeks ago, my closest friend in Austin, Phil, was in a horrible motorcycle accident. He lost control of his bike going around a raised u-turn and fell nearly 40 feet onto the highway below. He had virtually no internal injuries and no brain damage but, he broke both of his ankles, both kneecaps, a heel, tore his ACL and dislocated his left knee. He had a collapsed lung, a small bleed in his GI tract, and today he ate some hummus.

Throughout the first week of his hospital stay he was barely allowed to drink water due to all the surgeries and I feel like I put the same restrictions on myself. The first day he ate a popsicle was the day they discovered his GI bleed and it was back to the ice chips. I remember eating a Bearded Brothers energy bar, drinking lots of water, and falling asleep in a waiting room chair. I remember the sweetest southern woman I know giving me a salted caramel and peanut filled brownie and I devoured it simply because I knew I truly needed it. It was only after the fact that I realized it was delicious and it really did comfort me. People have been telling me left and right to make sure I’m taking care of myself, so I’m trying not to eat crap as tempting as it is. Right now the only meal I can remember eating is the fried chicken from Max’s Wine Dive. I mean, that is some seriously comforting food… perfect breading; the colonel can suck it!

Phil is let down by the hospital food daily. Can they really expect someone with so small an appetite to be interested in eating stir fry that is neither stirred nor fried? I understand diet restrictions, but come on… we all know those boxed mashed potatoes can’t be good for anyone. I think as soon as Jamie Oliver is through battling school food, he should tackle hospital food.

As for me, I’ve learned I really do take my pleasure seriously. I do put a lot of thought into what I choose to consume and when I can’t train my thoughts on anything but the welfare of my friend, it’s easier to not eat at all. Today, I managed to cook something for the first time since the accident: black beans and rice with brussel sprouts and tomatoes. Boring? Maybe, but I’d been craving black beans all day and they provided exactly what I needed. I love it when my body tells me exactly what thing in my cupboard will satisfy my nutritional need. Thanks, body!

The bottom line here is I appreciate my food. My heart really is connected to my stomach. I’ve been reminded that it actually affects my body and my wellness rather than just tasting good. Not eating does nothing for you. Not eating the things your body craves also does nothing for you. So, eat, dammit!

-Kait

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