Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Pick Two


I adore interpreting. I used to be a workshop junkie. Workshop? I'm there. First there and on the front row. Conventions? Oh. My. Workshop heaven. While I was an active interpreter, I never missed a convention. If I couldn't afford to go as an attendee, I worked the convention. I got to listen and get paid. What's not to love? And I've benefited from the knowledge of some of the best in the profession. One workshop that stands out in my mind where Anna Witter-Merithew talked about the price of quality. The price of excellence. She recounted her experience getting her car repaired. The mechanic had a memorable sign posted on his wall: "Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick Two." She applied this to the discipline of becoming a good interpreter. There's a price to pay and you have to pick your priorities.

This principle came back to me after a conversation I had with another mom this past week. She was asking my opinion about her teenager and some food issues. I shared my opinion of the cause of the issue and what my experience showed me would work. As I was speaking, she stood there shaking her head. "Isn't there an easier way?" she despaired. I suggested a particular supplement that people have reported as helping, but tagged on the caveat that it was $60-$100 a month. "Isn't there a cheaper way?" I responded that I do things the way that worked for us....I know no other way.

After spending the week thinking about this conversation, my workshop experience came back to me. The same principle applies to dealing with this food problem thing: "Good. Easy. Cheap. Pick two." There are supplements out there that are helpful. Probiotic packed pills. They cost. Gluten free convenience foods cost. The bottom line is that the most effective therapies take time and discipline. They can be cheap, if you're willing to do the hard work over a period of time. It comes down to the prosaic point that this "everything free" diet stuff is like all other diet stuff. It's work, it's discipline, it's more about lifestyle changes than "diet" and there aren't any silver bullets. Each person has to decide if the cost of discipline is worth the return.

The evidence is mounting, beyond just the dismissed and minimized experiences of such parents as I, that doing this kind of work pays off. A study, hot off the press, has some validating things to say about eating effecting our brain function, particularly in autistic children:

"The bacteria produce propionic acid, a short chain fatty acid, which in addition to existing in the gut, is commonly found in bread and dairy products, MacFabe said." Fascinatingly, the study scientists were able to use this bacteria to replicate autistic behaviors in rats, as well as effecting the same kinds of physical changes that are exposed in autopsies of autistic patients. "Now we're learning that the brain and body can influence each other," she said.

This sent me back to thinking about "easy, good, and cheap." And discipline. Some of the best foods that feed brain function are foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Like fish. Grandma wasn't being poetical when she said that fish is "brain food." It literally is. That covers "good." And the price of wild-caught sardines qualify as "cheap." But for someone who doesn't really care for fish so much, the "easy" option becomes dicey...gotta pick two. Fortunately, thanks to my Gardening Mentor, sardines can be easy to fix, if requiring some discipline to eat.

Quick Sardine Supper

1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium tomato, choppped or a handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half
olive oil
1 can of sardines
fresh basil (a few leaves) or a pinch of dried basil
salt and pepper, to taste
crushed red pepper, if desired

Heat oil in medium skillet. Add onions and saute until softened. Add garlic and cook lightly. Stir in tomatoes, then sardines. Remove from heat, season to taste. Serve over pasta, crackers, or rice.

The CBC report continues to say:

"'Treating a child's health should be the first step in addressing autism...Behaviour therapy is certainly important. But the child's health controls the bandwidth that the child has for being able to benefit from behavioural therapy. If a child is sick, they won't be able to focus."

Parents should watch their children closely to determine what foods trigger reactions and to consider removing those triggers, she said. Herbert strongly advocates a balanced diet, consisting of all food groups, not just 'bread and cheese.' 'If you have foods that (a) child is sensitive to in their immune system, that can set up processes that can impact brain function, and it can do so in a negative way. And if you remove those foods, that negative impact can stop.'"

Incredibly validating to hear The Powers That Be saying it, too.

Easy, cheap, good. Pick two.

1 comment:

MotherLode said...

Picture this...DWTS done on a humid grassy football fields in the south, all while keeping a 8 lb rifle in the air. One week, have the routine down cold. 14+ hours of marching per day.

I ate sardines to keep my brain in gear. It was camp, and I was teen. Right out the can, upwind from the room! LOL

Yes, it really worked. Kept me sharp and energized.

ML