Detatchment and Reattachment to Food

I’ve conducted a small mini-experiment for the last week or so, while working on my resolution for 2009 to slowly migrate to a macrobiotic diet. It wasn’t really a planned experiment, but once I took notice I decided to try it out.

When I got my juicer, I really went full-force into trying different combinations of fruits and vegetables (ESPECIALLY vegetables since I have a hard time eating them), and to really find ways to put more vegetables into my diet. I hate those V8 Fusion drinks because they carry so much sugar and other crap, I decided I could do better on my own.

So I started making mixes of cucumbers and celery and apples and ginger, another mix with carrots and apples and ginger, even some of just fruit like apples and blueberries and ginger (soooo good). I started to notice that one of these big juices was actually enough to make me not hungry. I didn’t feel full, which was a bit of a struggle because usually people eat to feel full, and it takes a lot of work to re-program your brain to understand that you should eat to not feel stuffed. I am still working on that.

Anyway, so I started getting all of these vegetables and fruits into my system, and I was really feeling great. My body was reacting very positively, and I was energized and inspired to keep going. I still ate something bad now and then, but nowhere near the capacity before.

Then when I had my parties with the taco dips and cheeses and sodas. I noticed after allowing my body to detox so much with the veggie and fruit juices, that when I started eating these other things, I could actually feel my body getting weaker, more tired, and actually feeling pain in the stomach area. Sometimes it was very noticeable, distracting pain. My body was reacting in bad ways. Not surprising, I expected it.

So I alternated my food intake for a few days, just to really understand the transitions my body was going through when eating good food versus bad food, and it started to become really clear.

What I find the most confusing, however, is even knowing that my body reacts in such bad and painful ways while eating this bad stuff, I found it difficult to mentally detach myself from those foods. I was still craving them, sometimes absently, to the point that I wouldn’t notice until after I had already eaten them.

It’s not that I wasn’t enjoying the fruit and veggies, in fact I was enjoying them very much. But for some reason my mind was telling me that I wanted these other things instead.

So how do you mentally detach from these food cravings that hurt you, and then reattach yourself mentally to these new foods that help you? I have already been doing a fairly decent job at this for the last several years. I stopped drinking sodas for the most part (maybe 1 a month), I don’t go out for fast food at all anymore, my craving for red meat dwindled to almost nothing, etc.

I think part of the process will be educating myself more on what some of these good foods are, and experimenting with various recipes. A lot of them are so new to me, that I’ve never heard of them. Others seem like they would be difficult to find because they are not considered an everyday staple.

Another process is cost. It takes a lot of money to restock your kitchen with new, healthy ingredients as opposed to the old staples we’re used to. Because this is a cost issue, it has to be done gradually….a few new items each grocery trip. And I don’t like wasting stuff we already have, so I have to gradually phase them out as well.

The biggest hurdle for me personally though, is trying to get my father on board with new eating habits. No matter how many times I tell him not to buy me chips or icecream, occasionally he does anyway thinking it’s a good “treat” for me. It’s really not. He knows I get mad at him everytime he does this, but I think it’s finally starting to sink in. However he’ll still buy things for himself, so that will affect our cost expenditure as well.

I guess this will just be a slow, but very well worth it effort. It will also be a mental struggle, but I think the rewards for this change will cleanse all of the old cravings in the end.

Drought Parches most of the U.S.

CNN posted an article today about how droughts are going to be more prevalent in the coming years. And not necessarily because of Global Warming.

“At least 36 states expect to face water shortages within the next five years, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, several regions in particular have been hit hard: the Southeast, Southwest and the West. Texas, Georgia and South Carolina have suffered the worst droughts this year, the agency said….”

“…The droughts are caused by rapid population growth and unwise agricultural choices.”

I hate how these articles make this seem like some big new development. This has been an ongoing issue for years. Heck I posted about the documentary “A Diet for a new America by John Robbins back in January of ’07. He touched on a lot of scientific points that made a lot of sense to me, especially about the amount of water we use irrigating crops to feed cattle. One of the men in his video did a comparison to elementary school children about how much use they could get out of a gallon of water. Which equals 12lbs of grain, or 1lb of meat.

Watch, it’s pretty interesting. I love it, even if it is dated. The fact that he supposedly refused his fathers Baskin Robbin’s fortune because he wanted to support a more ethical foundation and healthier means of living.

To be honest, my desire for red meat has dwindled so much this year. I’m a happy carnivore, and I do love a good steak. But I really can’t stand eating a lot of red meat anymore. I like white meats, and even with white meats I want to try and learn to eat more beans instead and try to focus on eating white meat that I raise myself. And I do really think that eating less meat, or at least attempting to lessen the demand for commercialized meat that it would help the water supply as well.

Not only that, but my sweetheart knows someone who works in a steel building that makes steel or does something with steel, I don’t know what exactly. But they use water to filter through their walls to keep the building from literally melting. I think their water bill is like a million dollars a month or some other absurdly high number. I’ve no doubt that there are many businesses that use insufficient methods for using their water like this.

It’s really a big mixing bowl of problems, and it’s going to take a lot of work to fix it. We just need the support to do it.

Dinner with Out of Town Guests

Last night after work I met with my friend Art and his wife from ADF for dinner at Brick Ridge Restaurant in Mt. Airy. Talk about more upscale than I am used to.

The restaurant was built from an old brick schoolhouse, but was beautifully done. Very capecod or “shores of Maine” decor with white walls trimmed with the old brick walls from the school house and wooden beams in the ceilings. It was extremely cozy and the lightning was very warm and ambient. It was definitely more fancy than I was expecting, but not so much that I felt too out of place. It felt more like a treat.

The food was more expensive than your usual restaurant, but not so much that you’d feel too intimidated to eat there. I had the cream of crab soup which was amazing. Very thick with a really intense flavor that, as Steph put it, just keeps going. I also had their homemade lemonade which was really sweet and a flavor comparable to what you’d find in an italian ice. Then I had their Chicken Delmarva which was a roasted chicken breast stuffed with blue crab, ham and cheese served with a very intense basil cream sauce.

We all tasted each others dishes which was a huge pallet of flavors I don’t even know what half of them were I just know they were all good. I think Steph had Venison and Art has steak with horseradish and both were very tender. They even had pomegranate soda.

The restaurant had little signs on the tables that talked about how their dining experience usually lasts 1.5 hours so you can enjoy the meal, but that if you needed things to be quicker that all you had to do was ask. Well, there was a couple there that arrived shortly after us that must not have read it because they started complaining to the waitress about the wait. They eventually said that they just wanted their food to go, which they got, but I really dislike it when people raise their voices when I’m trying to enjoy dinner.

Another older couple arrived later that I could tell were well off just by the way they dressed. The husband actually looked like he was dressed for some fancy affair with a cigar jacket (I don’t really know what it was called). They had ordered a bottle of wine (I don’t remember which) that the waitress said has to be ordered by the bottle instead of the glass. He said that was no issue. They also go their meal a -lot- faster than anyone else, which doesn’t bother me any, I’d probably do the same thing if I was serving rich people.

The woman was smiling at me a lot and they seemed really friendly and like they were just enjoying themselves.

When we got up to leave they commented on Art’s utilikilt, and it turns out they were from Scotland (they had cute little accents). The woman was also admiring my necklace and they were tickled pink to find someone wearing a kilt and curious about the style of it. When we left I saw an older modeled Rolls Royce parked right out front and knew it had to be theirs. While we were out chatting in the parking lot and Art was presenting me with a bottle of blueberry wine to celebrate my new house, I saw the couple leave in it.

All in all, it was a very special treat with very special people. Not something I could afford to do everyday, but I don’t think I’ve ever eaten somewhere that fancy so I’m glad I did.

Changing my Way of Life

When we move into the new house and get settled, I am switching to a macrobiotic diet. I am still going to eat chicken (in moderation) and fish as allowed. I will probably sneak a piece of chocolate and maybe even cheese now and then (lets be realistic). But on the whole, I want to try my hand at eating whole unprocessed foods. Brown rice, fruits and veggies, nuts and grains, tuna, etc. Nothing from a can or in a pre-packaged box.

It’s more or less an experiment, but it’s something I want to try. I don’t plan to be 100% macrobiotic because I do think some other foods are essential as well for certain vitamins I’ll need, like calcium.

I’m actually happy with how much I’ve changed my diet over the last 7 years already. When I moved back in with my father in 2001 I stopped drinking soda almost completely (I’ve snuck MAYBE a dozen in the last 7 years), I stopped eating white bread entirely, stopped adding any salt to anything. Stopped eating processed sugar (for a long time I used Splenda and now am using Stevia or Honey, though Honey is frowned on in a macrobiotic diet because it’s overstimulating), and almost completely stopped eating sugar entirely except for what I’d eat on my own. We stopped carrying sugar in the house when dad was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

But I’ve been paying attention lately to how my body reacts to certain foods. It may be beneficial for me to even start keeping a food journal just to see how things change over time.

I think a lot of it comes from the fact that I watch the type of food that my Aunt keeps in the house here, and am left wanting the food that I used to eat before we were evicted. I mean I’m not complaining about being fed, and we do donate $200/month to the grocery bill, but there’s just so much bad food here.

They eat a lot of weight watchers food, and they keep a snack drawer filled with sickly sweet “100 calorie snacks”. When my Aunt cooks dinner, she cooks a main dish and at least 3 side dishes. So much food is left to rot in the fridge, and when it’s not it’s just being thrown away. They seem to sacrifice “flavor” for “fat free but still bad for you” chips and butter and sour cream. Instead I’d rather eat full fat sour cream, and just not eat it as often or as much. Or I’d make my own chips out of sweet potatoes and oil and herbs if you want a semi-healthy alternative.

I can feel the affects it’s having on me and I’m very anxious to get back into my regular routine, and slowly adjust to a more healthy diet.

At home I’d make a lot of dishes with brown rice, we’d eat a lot of fruit, I’d cook ONE dish and we were used to eating smaller portions. I’d make green and nettle tea (not all this diet aspartame infused poison that’s here), and our fridge was often-times empty because we’d always eat everything in it and never overload it with food. We wouldn’t eat completely healthy, dad would still eat his cheez-its and goldfish, he’d still buy sugar-free icecream and fix sausage and eggs for breakfast. But we ate a lot healthier than we do here.

Maybe that’s why I am so tired lately.