My kids love to hear the story of when I had scurvy in college–perhaps because it’s a story that doesn’t seem to jive so well with the health-conscious mother than they know now (or maybe, because they see it as a story of my experimentation and learning)…(or maybe it’s just funny for them to think of their Mom suffering from a pirate-disease)…
When I was in college I was frugal. I had enough money from what my parents gave me for school and what I earned from working as a cashier in the university bookstore to meet all of my daily needs, but I also loved watching the money accrue in my bank account so I was always challenging myself to cut corners and save more money.
At the time, I was renting a room from a family that I ate dinner with nightly, so I provided my own breakfast and lunch. As such, I learned that I could spend only $10/week on groceries if I ate toast for breakfast and baked potatoes for lunch. So that’s what I did everyday. Toast-potatoes-dinner. This family loved to cook Italian, so dinner was often pasta with a cheese sauce or a seafood sauce.
And soon enough I started having nosebleeds. The nosebleeds eventually got so persistent that it was difficult for me to attend my college lectures, because my nose would start bleeding and I’d have to walk out of class to take care of it. And often the bleeding would take so long to cease that class would be over by the time I could return.
So I asked a friend that was doing a medical internship for some advice about the nosebleeds, and he consulted a doctor that he worked with and that doctor suggested that I was probably suffering from scurvy, or at least a vitamin deficiency of some sort due to my cheap diet.
And of course once I began eating some fruits and veggies again, the nosebleeds cleared up.
Since then I’ve tried some pretty strange dietary experiments. I’ve fasted for healing, I’ve gone vegan, and I’ve beefed up my protein intake for body-sculpting. I’ve also gone through periods with so little money that I’ve eaten mostly cheap starches for a few days until there was another paycheck in the bank. But even with all of that, I’ve managed to steer clear of another bout with scurvy. Once was enough for me.