Editor's note: Check back Monday on Patch to see where you can find places to nourish yourself, even on a special diet.
I know mothers get all the credit for being self-sacrificing, and we are.
But the same can be said for the college student who is taking classes all day and working at night, the recent graduate who is doing grunt work for grunt pay (if they can even find a job), or the many, many people who put themselves last so that others can benefit.
In fact, I think Americans are often characterized as self-absorbed, fast-food guzzlers who consume everything and give nothing of ourselves. When in actuality we are giving so much of ourselves that we have little to give others. So we eat badly, spend little time exercising and rarely take time to reflect.
As a mother, it's just a lot easier to do. And as a mother of a special dieter, that's doubly true.
Recently, I have begun changing that. I thought, it shouldn't be hard to simply treat myself the way I have been treating my special dieter. Right?
I started by eliminating most gluten from my diet, both to see how it made me feel and as a way to relate to my son, who has celiac disease, and other special dieters. I found that it's really hard (and expensive) to eat processed foods this way, which has made for a healthier lifestyle and forces me to plan my own meals instead of grabbing something on the go.
I also am taking time to plan family events that can be beneficial to all. A 2-mile walk with the family during the FAAN Walk for Food Allergies at the Oakland Community College – Orchard Ridge Campus on Saturday in Farmington Hills seems to fit the bill. The walk benefits the Fairfax, VA-based nonprofit Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, which is a great resource for those who eat or cook for special diets.
Another step I made was to start attending yoga classes. I can't believe how hard it is to take a few hours for myself every week. But when I do, I feel I can help others better. In fact, we are taught to build strength in ourselves to help others during yoga class. I am thankful for that lesson, and for the opportunity to slow down long enough to think about how I will approach the day.
And it has been reflected on the dinner table.
I spend more time planning meals. Homemade stews are slow cooked, fall vegetables are roasted and whole, fresh fare nourishes us all.
'Let thy food be thy medicine'
Johnson doesn't mince words when it comes to the importance of food. Quoting Hippocrates, he said a mantra of Om is: “Let thy food be the medicine and the medicine be thy food.”
It's important, he said, to pay attention to food that has been grown using genetically modified organisms.
“Everything that comes out of our kitchen is free of GMOs,” he said.
The restaurant also takes pride in choosing healthy alternative to sugar, starch and meat. It also offers a variety of dishes that are gluten-free, vegan and cater to those with special diets.
Ferndale resident Debra Jensen – who has many sensitivities and allergies, including to wheat and garlic – recently took the time to treat herself to a meal at Om Cafe. Jensen said she is thrilled that Johnson and Om owner Jason Thibodeau have created dishes that are safe for her to eat, including soup.
“Jason and Jeff have been amazing,” she said. “I missed soup so much.”