ANTIGONOS' BRAIN

Your Brain is Green
Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance. You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver. You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns. You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Congested Oracle Speaks

Between sneezes and coughs, the following bits and bobs have occurred to me. If anything sounds bizarre, blame it on fever...

I never promised you a rose garden...
Reading a message posted on one of my Israel lists, it occurs to me that it is much tougher to make aliyah than back in the late 70s, when I did. The poster writes that she is unable to find many items she is used to, such as particular brands of toothpaste and decaffeinated tea, and the children's favorite all-natural, unsweetened, low cholesterol candies, and many other essential items of civilization like Ziploc bags. My heart bleeds.

Food nostalgia is indeed the last part of one's previous life to relinquish, and it can be painful and long. My poor Dad, z"l, used to shlep cheddar cheese, Hebrew National hot dogs, and maple syrup in his suitcases whenever he visited. Now we have both an indigenous cheese called "cheddar", and you can get the real imported item as well, there are beef frankfurters which are a fair replica (lower fat, though) to the American kind, and at least 4 different brands of maple syrup, (including the real thing), not counting the low-calorie variety.

When I arrived in Israel there were almost no imported food "luxury" items. You could drink Elite instant coffee (called by Israelis "Nes", which means "miracle" and is also a contraction of the word "Nescafe", a generic term for instant coffee), or Cafe Hag (instant decaffeinated coffee and about as tasty as its name suggests), or "botz"--which is Turkish ground coffee which settles to the bottom of the glass (not cup) in a thick mud (that's what "botz" means) after boiling water has been poured on it. "Nes" isn't really coffee, to my mind, rather a coffee-flavored beverage. In coffee houses one could get an "hafuch" or "upside down" coffee which was an espresso with hot, foaming milk poured on top. At home, or in the army (where I understand the custom originated) this could be simulated with "Nes" by putting a teaspoon of water into a cup with the coffee powder and sugar and whipping the mixture into a thick paste before adding the hot water, creating a foam on top. Many a newcomer didn't understand what the early morning sound of a teaspoon beating against the side of a cup was at first.

Now, while we haven't gone to Starbucks extremes (Starbucks did not succeed in Israel; its coffees were too American) we can buy both American and European instant coffees in our supermarkets, decaffeinated in a variety of forms, not to mention espresso and filter blends and all the paraphenalia that goes with it. So much choice!

Too much choice. When I came to Israel, you knew, as you did with so many other aspects of Israeli life, that you were making radical change. A "care package" from the folks back in the Old Country (often still referred to as "home") had coffee and tuna fish in it. As with tokens for public telephones, that is now completely obsolete.

But what I have noticed, over the past thirty years is that those who have the strongest yearnings for certain foods from the US, and who go to the greatest extremes to get them, either bringing giant quantities in their lifts or constantly begging travelers to bring them packages from America when they come, have the toughest time being "absorbed" into Israel. The writer of the post describing all the things she packed into her lift and is trying to work out how to get more when they run out is making a major mistake.

Fixing the Fat
Our local Discovery Channel has been running a series of programs by the BBC Horizon folks about obesity and what has been discovered about it. Lots of investigations into what triggers appetite and how to suppress it, as in leptin production, or non-production, in fat mice, or various kinds of gastric bypass operations, or the checkered history of drugs to suppress appetite.

But none seem to address my obesity problem: I eat when I'm not hungry. For three years I went to Overeaters Anonymous and listened to people relate their struggles with binge eating, but I don't binge. Frankly, I don't know what it means to be hungry, most of the time. I just like to eat. And a nurse--especially in a unit like a delivery room--learns very early to eat whenever it is possible because it may not be possible when you "ought" to eat. Food is definitely a great comfort to me, when I'm anxious or tired. But more than that, I like the taste and texture of what I eat. It is a joy to contemplate a plate of macaroni and cheese, or a full British afternoon tea, or a Chinese banquet. I eat slowly, masticating well, enjoying the sensations. I don't overeat--one serving of spaghetti Bolognese is enough, I don't need a whole potful of pasta--but I look forward to when the clock says it's time for the next meal.

And now that I've got diabetes, this is aggravated. I must eat at specific times because of the medications I take. And since my carbohydrate intake must be strictly limited, of course, I am obsessed with carbohydrates and don't want anything else. Just thinking of dieting makes me so nervous I have go eat something to calm down. Which is why I am leaving this for the moment and going to the refrigerator...

A New Treatment for Obsessive-Compulsives
I've been setting up my new computer, and in particular, reconstructing my iTunes music library. What a job! I currently have 78 GB of music, audiobooks, and radio drama and it suddenly dawned on me what a mechiah it would be for a sufferer from OCD. Endless reorganization of one's playlists. Changing "genre", "equalizer", moving names from "artist" to "composer", etc., etc. I think that, instead of psychotherapy or medication, just give an iPod to every obsessive-compulsive and let them spend the next 10 years or so sorting out their music libraries...

1 comment:

lost said...

its so true what you've said