As a vegan, I sometimes end up thinking more about nutrition than I used to. Back when I first became a vegetarian colleagues wondered how I got my iron. I’m one of those apparently rare individuals who really likes broccoli. I could eat it nearly every day of the week without tiring of it. In any case, iron is important for health. I’ve known people with iron deficiencies and it can be a real problem. Doctors recommend ferrous gluconate as a dietary supplement since the body absorbs iron better from it. (It’s best on an empty stomach, I’m told, followed by orange juice.) But I’m no physician. In fact, I’m quite squeamish, which may seem strange for someone who watches horror. Still, thinking about iron took me back to my childhood.
I was a sickly child. Couple this with a tendency to think too much and I must’ve been a handful for my mother. I remember trying to explain to her once that I didn’t believe reality was real. I was maybe twelve at the time. She prescribed ironized yeast. Now, Mom’s no doctor. She didn’t even finish high school. So thinking about broccoli made me wonder about ironized yeast. First a web search revealed it’s not sold any more. Further, it was a health food fad beginning in the 1930s. Although I remember the taste and scent distinctly, I couldn’t find a website saying what it was or how it was made. More to the point, why did my poor, frustrated mother think that it would help me couple reality with what was happening around me again? (And was that even such a good idea?)
Questioning perceptions seems to run in my family. I’ve long known that my thought process is very different from that of other people. My saintly wife still says the reason she was attracted to me is that she’d never met anyone who thinks the way I do. My thought process has had plenty of opportunities to drive her crazy since those early days, I suspect. My brother and I sometimes talk about what it’s like being, I suspect, were we diagnosed, neurodiverse. It’s easy to fall into the perception that others think like we do. I suspect all people do that. Few, at least among those I’ve met, question the reality that their senses tell them really exists. Physics tells us it’s mostly empty space. And yet although I still don’t know what it is, maybe I’d better find someone with an old stockpile of ironized yeast to get back to business. It is, after all, a work day.