|No I don't...don't even eat it. Just like the slogan.|
Right. Where were we? Ah yes, how could I forget? How I stopped killing myself slowly with food. How I lost weight after battling with food most of my life. J Once again, remember I’m just saying it like it is for me. I recognise that this whole weight issue is striking very deep chords for a helluva lot of people and I really welcome your comments. Sharing insights and links is great – and who knows if the missing piece of the jigsaw for you might just be lurking in the comments. So do drop back and see how the debate shapes up.
See, the weight loss thing happened pretty much by the by for me, when I was looking elsewhere. I think that is possibly a key to it – and I’ll go into that a bit more later on. When I look back, it was only when I was able to put food in a – for me – healthier place (as in something that simply sustained me, rather than something that controlled and obsessed me) that I was free to focus on other stuff.
|Are you blinkered by food?|
Anyway. Back on the forum, back on the Labyrinth thread (which, frustratingly, was deleted so I was never able to go back and pinpoint exactly what kicked it all off) this question of what one eats or doesn’t eat came up. Marek mentioned, in passing really, possibly chatting to Tee (but maybe not) about how he became vegetarian and it just chimed. It's in his books too. It wasn’t actually anything new for me. I’ve been vegetarian on and off throughout my life and have always felt better when I don’t eat animal protein. When I think back, I only ever started eating meat and fish to fit in with other people. I’m not going to preach about it because, like all of this, what you do is entirely your choice. And one thing I really really hate is when people get preachy. In fact I kinda wince at saying ‘I’m a vegetarian’. I really loathe the phrase ‘veggie’. Why? Because it just seems that often it’s synonymous with smug and judgmental.
Why don’t I eat meat? Well, I guess the reasons go like this.
I am not happy about what gets pumped into a lot (not all) of livestock by way of antibiotics, hormones etc.
I’m not comfortable with the environmental impact of large-scale lifestock farming/fishing.
Animal welfare issues bother me and, if you’re gonna eat meat, I’d say do your homework and check that the animals involved have been raised and slaughtered humanely. I know a whole bunch of farmers personally and they do a damn good job of looking after livestock – but not all do. Also check your facts are current - for example, people shun veal but 'pink' veal is no more barbaric than any other meat.
But I gotta come clean cos I’ve promised myself I will be honest here, as far as possible (and without letting the total truth get in the way of a good story of course!).
I’m queasy about eating dead flesh.
Live flesh on the other hand… ;)
|Never personalise your supper.|
But seriously, it just doesn’t feel good in my mouth or in my stomach. As I get older I also become more squeamish about living creatures being farmed for meat. Did you ever read the book Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (there’s a film too but I haven’t seen that; the book was enough)? It’s about children who are clones, kept for organ harvesting by their ‘originals’ when they become old or sick. It stayed with me that book, haunted me. I couldn’t get it out of my head. And the uneasy thought stayed with me that, effectively, we do the same with animals. Sentimental claptrap? Maybe. But it’s just how I feel. It’s why, when I did eat meat, I felt a darn sight more comfortable with a haunch of wild venison or a brace of pheasants than with a plastic tray of anonymous flesh from the supermarket. Yes, there are a whole bunch of other issues there and I’m not going into the whole hunting/shooting/fishing thing right now – I just find it funny that people who gripe about the cruelty of game will happily eat a factory farmed chicken burger.
|SP for supper?Let's get really emotive!|
Yes, I know, we evolved as omnivores. A highly effective evolutionary knack – to be able to eat most things. In the past we had no choice – we ate what we could to survive. And that still goes in some parts of the world. Yet now, it seems to me, we have the luxury (in the West at any rate) of choosing what we eat – and we should make our choices with care and consideration. Let’s not get into this issue of ‘I can’t afford to eat expensive vegetarian food’ here. I am cheap to feed. I don’t eat processed vegetarian meals. I eat vegetables, fruit (not all kinds), nuts, seeds, pulses, grains. I have a slight tofu addiction. Yes I have a weird *thing* about muesli. I do eat some cheese and eggs – but I wonder about dumping those too. About the only thing that stops me is that if there is one thing that can be more smug than a ‘veggie’, it’s a ‘vegan’. Apart from the Naked Vegans who make me laugh a lot. Please, nobody mention Morrissey. Come to think of it, I think Morrissey was what stopped me going back to being vegetarian for years on end. And Linda McCartney. And...okay, you get the point. Smug.
There are all kinds of theories about who should eat what – looking at everything from your blood type (Blood Type Diet) to the ayurvedic tradition which holds that each bodymind type (there are three) should follow a different diet (it's interesting – I wrote a whole book on ayurveda back in the day and wanted to do one on its weight loss attributes called The 5,000 Year Old Diet but nobody was interested).
I don’t think you really need that kind of analysis though. All you really need is to start listening to your body, learning how it reacts to different foods. Ashen said yesterday that she shed two stone when she discovered she was intolerant of wheat. Cait mentioned the high protein diet that she went on for a medical condition – she also dropped weight. What fuel does your body want? What does it need? And that’s gonna be different for everyone, according to their body type, the demands they put on their body, how their body reacts to different kinds of food. Meat and I, we just don’t really get on. It makes me feel sluggish. It raises my heart-rate and drops my bowels into crawl mode. I packed up fish as well because I really can’t stand it when people say ‘I’m a vegetarian’ and, in the next breath, go ‘I’ll have the scampi.’ Vegetarian? There’s a clue in the name, right? If you eat fish, then you’re not a vegetarian. Again, no problem – just let’s keep it clear eh?
What else? Well, wheat ain’t good for me either – it bloats me and, not to put too fine a point on it, gives me atrocious wind. Fructose isn’t brilliant either – it’s not common knowledge but not all fruit is created equal and some people just don’t handle some kinds of fruit well.
Okay, so now I’m sounding like this paragon of pure eating. Feck no! I’ll eat rubbish every so often. I’ll overdose on coffee cheesecake or have a bit of a sour pastilles binge. But I don’t beat myself up about it. I just shrug, feel a bit nauseous and go back to balance.
And so, that was one major change I made. Can you be a fat vegetarian? Of course you can. You have to make sure you balance your blood sugar so you’re not reaching for the sugary snacks all the time. One of the largest temptations when you can't eat half the stuff on offer is to load up on pudding afterwards out of sheer relief that you're not looking like the awkward squad. Conversely, can you lose weight on a diet that includes meat and fish? Of course you can.
But, remember, I wasn’t going on a diet. I hadn’t really even intended to lose weight. It just happened. What made it easy? I’ll tell ya… I will. I promise. but I think that’s enough for one day.