February 23, 2014

Food. For thought.

Yeah.  Food.  You know that stuff....we need it to live...some of us are addicted to it....some of us are afraid of it....some of us only deal with it because we have to.  I'm that gal right there at the end.

It was impossible to get met to eat properly when I was a child.  I've always craved salty things so my mom would keep saltine crackers and whatnot in the house.  In an effort to keep me drinking water the way I should she'd let me have them fairly often.  Beyond that, I had the typical kid diet that most children today enjoy....lots of starch, lots of salt and sugar.  Most children in the woods in the late 70's, early 80's didn't get to be too picky, I was a rare kid.  I remember being punished repeatedly by my parents, friends parents, aunts, uncles, etc, for being such a picky eater.  My second grade teacher refused to let me get away with not eating what she believed I should.  There were several standoffs at lunch that year...some that I won, some that she did.  There were days I would barely eat at all unless someone noticed and made me.  Even today, I will forget to eat, or I will simply eat what is easy and most convenient.

Once I headed off to college I realized that it was sink or swim.  There was one day that I fainted from not having eaten properly in a couple of days.  I fell out cold on the library floor where I worked.  I remember waking up and panicking because I thought I'd fallen asleep on the job.  My immediate thought was, "oh shit, I fell asleep, Ms. Jenny is going to kill me!!"  She didn't, next thing I knew I was being propped up and people were guiding EMS personnel to me.  I spent the afternoon in the hospital on an IV, they released me and I walked the ~10 blocks back to my dorm and went to bed.  There was no one for me to call to pick me up.  After that I made it a point to keep noodles and things in my room and tried harder to remember the cafeteria hours so I wouldn't miss going.  I wish I could say there was something in the cafeteria that called me...but often there wasn't.  It was just.....food.  Nothing special.  I've often made mention that I wish I could love and truly enjoy eating the way the Cajun people around me enjoy it.  Here, food is an event - it's pleasure, it's togetherness, it's comfort on a whole different level.  In the one mile radius of my house, there are at least 20 eateries, not counting the food court in the mall.  At least half of them are local family owned establishments.

Crawfish Etouffee'. Heaven on a dish.

I learned how to eat here.  I learned how to try things that I would have turned my nose up to as a young person.  Yes, I do like certain meals and have cravings for things just as other people do but it's not quite the same.  I like good meat like turkey, various hams, bread...love bread, cheese...some beans and several fruits.  I have a very lazy palette however.  Even though I will have a particular something that I know is the better choice in front of me, often times I will pick up the junk food because it's quicker or because it seems more appealing.  I know in the back of my mind that it's not any better...but for whatever reason I want that thing more.  Is it a self worth thing?  Perhaps.  Maybe it's just laziness.  Maybe it's an addiction.  Maybe it's an emotional thing.  I really don't know.  That's one of those things that I have to figure out and work on.

I've had the lectures, the, "you have to take of yourself and set an example for your daughter!"  "you have to stay healthy so you can live a long time for your daughter"  "you don't have to like the food, you have to eat it because it's good for you!".  Yeah, I've heard it all.  A lot of people think throwing the phrase "for your daughter" behind something immediately changes the way I'm going to approach anything to do with myself.  If I were her only example or her only family, I might be able to stomach that remark.  The fact is, neither of those points are true.  She comes from a large family, has a father who is more than capable of taking care of her, and has always had a better diet than I could ever hope to have.  She is well aware that her mother eats like crap.  She encourages me, fusses at me, listens to me, pushes me, she is a my biggest supporter when it comes to self care.

smoothie in a martini glass, because presentation is everything!

Baby steps.  Baby steps come in various forms:  broccoli cheese soup, protein bars, smoothies, & an active effort to make different choices.  For me there's nothing remotely easy about it.  The fitness end of it I can handle, the food end....that takes a lot more effort.

It's going to take some time, some getting straight of the head, and some aggravating days, but things will change.

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