It ain't easy...

May 19, 2010

The bad news: my first blog entry in a long time will be about my eating habits and some of you may find it tedious. The good news: you're welcome to respond with tedious food consumption rant and I'll listen with real interest. I could talk about diet and exercise ceaselessly.

So for the past several years I've been what you might call a "More Careful Eater". I use this in place of the phrase "Healthy Eater" because, as we will see, the term Healthy means different things to different people and is certainly a matter of degree.

Gone are the days of biscuits every morning and mashed potatoes every night. The casseroles and pot roasts that used to greet us every evening, courtesy of my live-in mother-in-law, have been replaced by grilled chicken breasts and lots of vegetables, much to her chagrin.

When I say "lots of vegetables", I mean LOTS. I eat a lot, in general. My portions tend to be large, and I tend to eat frequently, so it helps if I'm able to eat vegetables instead of other, more detrimental things. I think I eat so much because my eating is motivated by several things:

* I eat to support my workouts and other physical activities and my diet, in general, is higher in protein and lower in carbs than most.

* I eat as part of my social life, including my relationship. Typically, this involves restaurants, and includes alcohol, deserts, and the bane of my existence, the Corn Tortilla Chip.

* I eat from frustration, stress, and boredom. I eat when I drive. I eat when I'm watching TV. I eat when my piece of crap computer is taking way to long to perform a simple fucking task (but I'm not bitter). When I was going to school in Berkeley, I gained 10-15 pounds because of the drive and the stress.

So I've noticed these patterns, and I've just recently finished up a very busy and stressful--though thankfully short--period of time. During that time, I was unable to keep myself from eating more and eating worse. The readily available foods were unhealthy, and I didn't have (or take) the time to make healthy foods more readily available.

But now that said time is over, I'm trying something. For the past two days, I've eaten nothing but:

- Green or orange vegetables.
- Fruits or fruit juice.
- Water.
- Green Tea.
- 1 protein supplement bar.

I wanted to go on a total fast, but I also wanted to continue my workouts. This was a compromise that allowed me to re-assert conscious control over what I'm eating without caffeine withdrawals, protein deficits, or blood sugar levels too low to support a workout.

Okay, I just looked back over what I read and I'm not really happy with it. I feel like what I'm telling you is the same old story you've heard everywhere: "I binged during a stressful time and now I'm on some kind of crash diet because I feel guilty."

But that's absolutely not the story I'm trying to tell. The story I'm trying to tell is this: "After a stressful few weeks, I'm now able to reward my body by giving it time off from the crap I was eating." And that's really how it feels. And this is evidenced by:

- An increase in energy and less need for rest/sleep.
- No allergies (I forgot my daily dose of Claritin both days and only noticed today that I've had no trouble with allergies)
- A feeling of general well-being bordering on euphoria.

Okay, maybe it's all psychosomatic. Maybe I feel good because the stressful time is over for now. Maybe there are no allergies because allergy season is over. But maybe not. Maybe my system has a hard time with one or more of these things:

- Artificial sweetener (as in Diet Coke)
- Eggs
- Dairy
- Meat
- Gluten and/or Grains

I'm pretty sure the Diet Coke as such isn't the problem. i've given it up before and noticed no change in mood or energy level. But I've never given up artificial sweeteners until this time. I suppose it would be a good idea to slowly introduce these things, one at time, back into my life and see what works. But it's all so subjective and subtle. It's hard to imagine having any success with this.

Plus, I keep thinking one thought over and over, in my euphoria: VEGANS MUST FEEL THIS WAY ALL. THE. TIME.

I feel so good, I don't want to eat whatever will fuck it up.

Becoming a vegan is not in my future. The way I wish to live with my family and friends simply will not support it. I'm not willing to be "that guy". The guy who brings his own food to your house or won't eat your specialty because it was made with beef stock. Don't misunderstand: if you're "that guy" or "that girl," I love and respect you for it and will do everything I can to support you and accommodate what I think are tremendously admirable choices. But it's not for me. Not presently.

Cody's mom already thinks we're off the deep end with our "healthy eating." She mostly eats individually wrapped snack cakes and canned meats. Bomb shelter food. Our shopping cart looks ridiculous. Cody's gluten free rice crackers, my organic, locally grown broccoli, and Ms. Carolyn's Vienna sausages.

But what I'm looking for at this point is not to be vegan or vegetarian, or even to be a "healthy eater"; I want to be a conscious eater. I want to know what I'm eating, when I'm eating, and why I'm eating, and I want to be able to make an informed decision of the consequences, good and bad, short and long term, of eating what I'm eating. And by "consequences," I don't necessarily mean weight loss or weight gain. I mean allergic reaction, blood sugar level, energy level, nutrients, toxins, and consequences for the environment and the economy.

That's a lot to know. I think I'll go puke.

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