Sunday, February 22, 2015

Diet And Medicine (And Alien Romance)

When I started writing "Forced Mate" in 1993, I consciously made my half-human heroine a mostly plant-based nutritionist, and an amateur herbalist. She did eat fish; there is a breakfast scene where she consumes kedgeree.

If I were starting the series today, she would be totally vegan, and her diet would follow recommendations of scientists such as Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. My reasoning was, my heroine had non-human internal organs which would almost certainly be misunderstood by human doctors, therefore, though her lifestyle and diet, she self-medicated and prevented most maladies.

In "Insufficient Mating Material", I had an entirely alien Djinn heroine who suffered mildly from a suspected food allergy when she was exiled to another planet.

I have a coven of three more half-alien-Djinn heroines on a back-burner, and I think that I will make them strict vegans. It's not an easy diet, especially at first, particularly if one must eschew all oils, even for frying onions or anything else that cooks in a frying pan. (One uses hummus --provided one is not allergic to seeds-- or wine, or honey-mustard, or water, or applesauce.)

In writing this, it occurs to me that on the Ronald Tobias checklist, three misfit heroines probably should be eased into a Quest type novel.... I have to stop and think about that. Generally, I prefer to combine at least two "types" into one novel.

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

1 comment:

  1. Diet and food customs are an interesting area that doesn't get enough attention in some SF. Years ago I read a lovely story that nowadays would be called SF romance (it's in an anthology I still possess, but I can't remember the story's title and author or which book it's in). The heroine, an alien sent to Earth to observe, orders her first meal -- a bowl of soup -- and is nauseated at the discovery that it has bits of dead animal flesh floating in it. Good example of "making the familiar strange."

    Why would a vegan diet prevent the use of oil for cooking? It's vegetable oil, after all?