Monday, October 8, 2012

Aging and Advil

Aging is hard.  I don't mean to state the obvious, but as we get past a certain magic number in years, it really does seem that, physically, the road is just more challenging.  While exercise and eating well can hopefully keep us relatively healthy for years, the body does not behave as it did when it was 20.  Or 25.  Or 30.

Complaining about this seems petty, what my daughter would call "first world problems." Obviously, if we are complaining about things like plantar fasciitis, bunions, lower back pain, herniated discs, rotator cuff injuries, tennis elbow, or even a stomach ulcer from too much Advil taken for a wrist injured while playing tennis, we are lucky enough to bear the marks of an active life, not a life threatening ailment.

Nonetheless, it does seem that as one approaches a certain age, the body must be coddled a little bit more.   We might need insoles in our shoes or maybe different types of shoes entirely, different tennis rackets or different stringing tension, a better mattress, better posture, better diet and lots of Advil.

There's the rub.  What to do when the Advil you've taken for years becomes the cause of an entirely new pain?  One that feels like someone's lit a match under your breastbone every 3 or 4 minutes.  Well, what you don't do is eat tomatoes, garlic and onions.  I speak not from personal experience here, but as official cook to the Advil wounded. 

Here's what you do eat: oatmeal, eggs, bread, potatoes, grilled chicken.  Notice a color pattern here?  A little splash of orange from carrots, sweet potato and salmon. 

This is what Maddy and I ate one night, while Paul was enjoying his skinless rotisserie chicken with a baked sweet potato:  Turkish style pasta with a sauce of Greek yogurt and ground pistachios and garlic.  This recipe could not be easier to make and was surprisingly delicious for such simple flavors.  I have now tried this with whole wheat spaghetti combined with regular Greek yogurt, and, despite the recipe writer's admonition,  2% Greek yogurt with traditional pasta.  It was delicious both ways.  In future I will probably go with whole wheat or farro pasta and 2% yogurt.  I might even try fat free yogurt just to see how it turns out.  The first time I made this recipe, my garlic cloves were particularly pungent and made the dish a little too garlic-y, so when I reheated the leftovers I added a little more yogurt and pasta.  I recommend you start with 2 small cloves of garlic and taste the sauce while it's still in the food processor.  You can always add another one or two, as the recipe says "to taste."

This is perfect with a simple salad (we used a dressing of hummus thinned with lemon juice and a touch of olive oil) or would also be terrific with some roasted chunks of eggplant and maybe some green beans for color.