On food, life, and such things

As I'm now re-booting my food blogs again, I thought I'd start off with a little musing about the future direction of this site as well as JustBento.

Since the start of my medical woes last year, I've been thinking a lot about food and health. Although we want our food to just be fun and delicious, it's also what fuels and supports our bodies. Most of this site has been about the fun and delicious part of food, although I have tried to pay some attention to the health aspects.

One unfortunate effect of my cancer surgery was that it seems to have pushed what was my pre-diabetic condition into full blown diabetes. This happened not because my eating habits got worse, or that I gained weight - on the contrary, I lost weight last year despite not getting a lot of exercise simply because I lost my appetite for long stretches of time - but probably due to the stress of the surgeries and so on. I also don't really think that anything I ate caused my cancer - cancer of the uterus and cervix is not necessarily connected with ones dietary habits, unlike other types of cancer. But in any case, I realized that this was the dawn of a new era in my life. I can no longer just eat whatever strikes my fancy.

Bummer? Well, yes. But it's not so bad. I've always loved fresh, homemade food, and that already gives me a leg up on someone who might have been used to eating out all the time. When you cook for yourself, you know what you are putting in your mouth - or you should (ingredient knowledge is key). And I am lucky in that I find cooking to be a relaxing, enjoyable thing, not something to dread or stress over.

What can I say - I love food; the way it looks, the way it tastes, the way it smells. The way it can make people happy and content. The most depressing thing that happened during the lowest points of the past year or so were when I totally lost my appetite, and food in general was not appealing anymore. It made me so sad to think that one of the biggest joys in my life could be lost. When I started to find that a whiff of sautéing onions made my mouth water again, and that gazing into the window of a patisserie was fun and exciting once more, I knew that I was on my way back to health, and life. (And when my doctors stopped talking about my condition and started poking me about losing weight I knew they were less worried too. ^_^;)

Speaking of stress: More than ever, I am convinced that stress has a far greater impact on ones health than we can ever fathom. Every time I've had a major setback healthwise, it's been caused by stress - physical stress, such as the six (!) surgeries I've had in 2 years, or emotional and psychological stress, such as the death of my father, or getting burglarized, or just the stresses of daily life.

You always hear about people who are changed after a major illness. The stories you hear the most are the ones who become much better people - the businessman who turns to philanthopy and such. I haven't changed that drastically myself, but one thing that has changed is that I think I've stopped worrying so much. I used to worry about big and little things all the time, and you know what - it's not really worth it. (Another interesting aftereffect of my illness is, I'm no longer afraid of dying, after having come rather close to it. Perhaps I'll talk about at another time.)

So what does all of that have to do with my food blogging? Well, you may not notice a big change actually. But you may see me talking a bit more about the health aspects of certain foods. My emphasis on Japanese food will not change, since happily a lot of Japanese dishes are quite healthy. You'll see a lot more food from southern France, since I'm discovering more and more delicious things to incorporate into our daily routine. And there will still be a few treats, even stuff with (gasp) sugar, since sweet things are just fun to make! Stress reduction for the win.

Life has to be fun in order to keep living, and so does blogging, right?

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