Thursday, 17 November 2011

Kazuo Ishiguro's walk-on role in my big fat weight-loss

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.  

61 comments:

Frankie said...

I'm also a non-smug vegetarian.

I do think that Britain (at least England) is one of the most vegetarian friendly societies I've visited. Nobody even bats an eyelash if you ask, "Is the cheese vegetarian?" for instance. And it seems like most of the time, they even know off-hand without having to find someone to ask. The food labeling is also really good.

Sessha Batto said...

Vegetarian is healthy AND easy . . . and, of course, the easiest on your karma ;) I don't eat anything I could come back as. Of course, everyone needs to make their own choices, manage their own karma and, ultimately, pay the price for the choices we make (whether it be food, or action, or desire).

Jane in SF said...

Two summers ago I went to a nutritionist to deal with fatigue. I lost some weight and felt clearer-headed after giving up the minimal amount of alcohol I drank, going gluten free, cutting down on caffeine and sugar. I've slipped but your blog has made me consider revisiting my habits. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area where eating seasonally, locally, sustainably and without cruelty is an easy option if you choose to.

Preseli Mags said...

I agree with you about meat production - if I do eat meat I'm fussy about where it comes from.

I look forward to the next instalment. Aside from Kazuo Ishiguro have you read any Michael Pollan? I found his book In Defence of Food a real eye-opener.

Exmoorjane said...

Thanks, guys...
Yup, I don't drink alcohol or coffee either, Jane. SanFran? Ah *sigh* Love it out there and yeah,you'd be spoilt for choice. I think the UK is better than it was Frankie, but there still often isn't much choice when eating out and it's only in big cities that you get much choice in stores as well.
So far, so nice and fluffy eh? We need some bacon sarnie eaters... :)

Exmoorjane said...

Mags! Hi...you snuck in while I wasn't looking. :) No, haven't heard of him...shall look up.

Alison Cross said...

To be honest, I'll eat just about anything except soft-shelled crabs *shudders at memory of San Fransisco restaurant debacle*

I struggle with my weight too and eagery devour (ouch!) the various diet books when they come out.

I was intrigued by the Eat Right For You Blood Type because it chimed with how my body reacts to some foods. I actually salivate in a butchers shop *shrug* In my defence I have to say that it's not a conscious thing lol!

We eat as good quality meat as I can afford to buy and yes, we do sometimes eat pink veal because we know how the local bull calves are treated (none of the old living in a box stuff) and, it is, as you say, no worse than any other meat.

And what is worse - a bull calf immediately disposed of because it's useless, or giving it a bit of time to live? Moral and ethical minefield, is food lol!

The Dukan Diet interested me for the same reason - sounds extreme, but really, turns out to be quite sensible by the time you get to the end.

Unfortunately, eating meat in the attack phase of the diet has left me with a bum like a burst balloon....

I would SO buy a food book written by you. Get on with it, woman!!!

Ali

Midlife Singlemum said...

I don't really have anyting to say sonce i'm sat here reading this whilst eating crisps. I just want you to know that I'm reading you and learning. eagerly awaiting next installment.

Exmoorjane said...

Get outta here, Ali! Have pitched a few food books over the years but no go.
But yup...if you're gonna eat meat, it's much better to eat less of really good quality... old-fashioned peasant cooking had the right idea - a bit of meat for flavouring the veg/grains etc rather a big slab of meat garnished with a bit of salad!

Exmoorjane said...

MSM - soooo...no pressure then??! Seriously though, you have SUCH great food and those markets! I could bloody LIVE on falafel...

Bud Jazzman said...

I'm almost 58. I eat meat, veg, fruit, nuts, wholemeal and seeded breads, curry dishes etc. Mostly stir fry meals, but every now and again I have pie and chips. I also eat pastas and egg noodles. I don't eat cakes or biscuits or sweets except at Christmas or some other special time when it's been prepared for me. On most Saturdays I have a huge wholemeal bap with fried egg and bacon and when the match is on I have a few pints of Guinness. Don't drink alcohol at all during the week and sometimes not at the weekend depending on how I feel and what I'm doing. I train regularly. I'm not overweight and don't smoke or take drugs. I feel great. When it's time for me to die, I will.

I've never met a veggie that didn't look pasty and unwell and wasn't complaining about some malady or other, but as I haven't met them all, I can't comment on it.

My dad had a lung out in his forties because of tobacco. He carried on smoking like a trooper with the remaining lung until he was 75 years old. A perforated ulcer and internal bleed saw him off. The doc had put him on a daily dose of asprin and didn't monitor him so in my opinion, it was man slaughter.

Bud Jazzman said...

Here's my gremlins:

Citrus fruits bloat me to hell; you'd think I was the worlds first pregnant man. It ends with a series of loud noises and my arse shutting with a bang.

Bran blocks me up. If I eat bran, I can't dump.

That's it. No other allergies. When I was a kid I was fed meat that came from a butcher who used to hang it in the window so that the local flies, that had been feasting on a nearby dog turd, could sample it first.

We had no fridge, just a larder. no central heating. No bathroom. A bog down the yard. Broken bedroom windows. Overcoats on the bed. Mice in the house. Rats in the enogs.

I rarely get colds or snuffles and don't go in for all this killing of 99% of all household germs. My dad used to say, "It takes a ton of shit to kill you, son!"

Cait O'Connor said...

I hate the word/label vegetarian - Meat-eaters aren't called meatarians or anything similar. Why not just say 'I don't eat meat' (if offered it) like you might say 'I don't eat olives' or 'I don't drink milk' or whatever. Same with label- vegans. I am not criticising them - I am not a lover of meat myself.

Bud Jazzman said...

I'm not a great seafood lover, but do eat fish and I like the oily ones. However, can't stand mussels or octopus or any of that stuff. When I was a kid, my mum would buy kewins, don't know if that's the right spelling. Like tiny black sea snails. I would sit with a pin and pick them out of their shells. They resembled a length of snot and tasted the same; I haven't got a clue why I liked them because I bork at the thought now. I do like cockles though.

Bud Jazzman said...

Sessha:"I don't eat anything I could come back as."

So your next trip is going to be as sperm then? xxx

Bud Jazzman said...

On re-reading your post, Jane, I've a great idea for you to eat. What about a water butty?

Frankie said...

@Cait Well, if you ate meat exclusively, you'd be a carnivore. If you eat meat and other things, you're an omnivore, pescetarians eat a vegetarian diet and also fish. Herbivore might be acceptable for vegans. But there really isn't another distinct shorthand for people that eat plant products and and animal produced products, but not dead flesh, other than vegetarian. Trust me, trying to tell someone you're a vegetarian without using the word vegetarian makes the whole thing much more drawn out and awkward. Kind of like this explanation.

I actually don't have any issue with the word itself. It's simply a descriptor of my diet. What I have a problem with, and why I'm loathe to say it, is that it often triggers a defensive reaction in people that aren't vegetarian. Some of them think I'm going to be one of Jane's "smug vegetarians" and they immediately get awkward about it, some of them are just intolerant fucktards that are unable to respect a lifestyle choice that differs from theirs. The worst are the people that secretly do feel that it's a morally superior diet and that they're inadequate for not eating that way themselves. They're usually the worst, because nobody likes to compare themselves to someone else and feel inferior, and if you can't bring yourself up, the next best thing is to tear someone else down. The best response to them is usually, "Why does it matter to you so much what I eat or don't eat?"

(I am not a preachy vegetarian or a smug vegetarian and I don't judge anyone else's food choice, but I also expect that courtesy to be returned.)

And on weird food issues: apples give me dreadful stomach aches. But they are delicious. Also, I am lactose intolerant.

Ingrina said...

I wrote about being meat-free about a month ago! After becoming vegetarian and cutting out the sugar, losing weight got a lot easier (well, I had to do other things, too, and it was hard for me...). Now it's for ethical and environmental reasons that I don't eat meat.

Actually, I'm one of those unclear vegetarians that you rant about! I hate it, too, but I'm eating fish for the omega-3s (if you know how to replace those with plants, please do share. I've been searching for this solution). But I limit my fish intake to only a couple times a week and make sure that I get it from somewhere that implements sustainable practices. So I prefer to tell people that I'm vegetarian in case they ever provide food for me. I'd rather control my own intake of fish, to be honest, and saying I'm vegetarian just makes it easier. Also, people seem to be confused about the word "pescetarian", so for my own sanity, I try to avoid the confusion all together.

On another note: Love the blog in general!

Frankie said...

@Ingrina

Funny you should ask...

V-Pure: http://www.v-pure.com/omega3/
Opti3: http://www.opti3omega.com/
Ovega-3: http://www.amazon.com/Ovega-3-Omega-3-500mg-Vegetarian-Softgels/dp/B004LL7AXE

And some general information on omega 3 for vegetarians: http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/omega3

:)

Zoë said...

Not mad on meat, will eat it, prefer fish. I wont eat anything that has refined sugar in it unless I made it, and then seldom - high days and holidays.

Eggs and a lot of my fruit and veg come from my garden or allotment.

I have bee hives too - a source of honey and other supplements, and rumour has it local honey helps with hayfever.

I make my own sausages, bacon and hams tend to cook from scratch - so no industrial processed food here.

Also make own preserves, pickles, and chutneys and as Jane will attest a pretty mean line in flavoured spirits (pear brandy, sloe or damson gin, limoncello etc) none of which I can drink and I haven't drunk any alchohol in over 20 years.

I am overweight, more cuddly than rotund, and given that I have already suffered from the diseases they say being overweight can cause, I don't give a flying fig - not exactly like having cancer can scare me :-)

I follow a low GI diet (diabetic)and if I am going to be a pig it usually involves a nut of some kind, cashews and pistachios being high on my list of all time fave foods.

Ingrina said...

@Frankie

Thanks for the info! Though my hubby may not be happy about my giving up fish again, I will. =)

Midlife Singlemum said...

I totally agree with Ingrina about the reason for saying you are vegetarian when you eat fish. I do this too.
Just wanted to tellyou that another morning dawned and I'm still not quite inthe zone yet - need more reading material. One more should do it :)

Hair Loss Conceal said...

Hair Extra is exactly as the name says, it is an excellent solution for the hair problem as Hair thinning, fuller hair, Hair loss, Hair loss conceal, Thicker hair . adding more hair to your head naturally and effortlessly, it is a superlative hair loss products. perfect Solution For Balding.

Exmoorjane said...

Thanks for the sharing, all. Latest research, as I recall, suggests we all need all the Omegas - 3, 6, 9.

Hey, Frankie and Sessh, we're the pasty-faced brigade now! :D
And, funny thing, my husband and son (meat-eaters) are both sick as parrots and I'm tickety-boo. ;) But, as I said, everyone's different. Would be interested to know everyone here's blood group and also their build (ie very fine-boned, medium build or heavy-boned). Shit, should have asked that upfront. Ah well.

Ali - hell would freeze over! :)

Hairloss, lovey - if you're gonna spam my blog at least do it properly - do you really think we're going to Google your product, you plonker?! And, hate to say it, but hair loss products DON'T WORK! :D
Growing back hair will be addressed in a later post.

Bud Jazzman said...

Unusual you're tickety boo, Jane. You're normally complaining about feeling shite or having some other issues regarding your health.

Linda McCartney was big on veggy.

Bud Jazzman said...

You're tickety-boo, Jane?
That's unusual; you're normally complaining of feeling shite or some other health related issue. Nice to see the rabbit food is working.....

Linda McCartney was a veggy!

Bud Jazzman said...

Hair Loss Conceal:

I have an abundance of hair and a lot of it is now growing on my ears, which I have to shave. If I lose my hair then I will start growing the hair on one of my ears extra long so I can just throw it over the top. I could also then get work as a stand-in for Arthur Scargil....lol

Bud Jazzman said...

I am blood group O and my body type is a mixture of endo meso....xx

Bud Jazzman said...

I suppose next you'll be wanting our addresses, phone numbers and bank account details? lol xxx

word veri= immess lol

Exmoorjane said...

Thanks, Bud...figured so. :)
I've already got all the information I require but you're welcome to share it with everyone else. :)

I still have a few niggling health issues to sort out - but I'm getting there. ;)

Bud Jazzman said...

Which reminds me...do they still make those nutty Tracker bars?

Bud said...

PS: I'll leave you to do the sharing on the info side...I mean, why have a dog and bark yourself?xxx

Bud said...

That reminds me...do they still do those healthy nutty Tracker bars?

Budd Jazzman said...

Bud here. My Google account has just been disabled by the Google gods. Trying to get it back at the moment. xxx

Bud Jazzman said...

Could be a glitche or on the other hand maybe someone has put the boot in. If it is the latter and I have been burned at the stake then so be it. Best wishes to you guys. xxx
Bitter curses always come home to roost.

Frankie said...

@Bud

I hear they do that. And they'll disable everything for a complaint anywhere. Like when they launched G+ they were disabling entire accounts because people used pseudonyms on their G+. Shutting off their gmail and blogger and everything. This is part of why I moved my writing off blogger to tumblr. Don't want to lose it all if I ever piss off google somehow.

Exmoorjane said...

WTF???? That seriously sucks out loud. People are total planks sometimes.

Sessha Batto said...

and here I thought I was pasty faced because I'm Irish ;) Live and learn

Exmoorjane said...

Sessh... *grin* - Funny thing, I'm just back from the health shop, stocking up on ingredients for my uber-muesli and, have to say, everyone in there did look pretty pasty...thought back to this post and it cracked me up!

Bud Jazzman said...

I'm back. Had to contact them twice. I have all my blog stuff backed up as I write offline and cut and paste, but it's got me thinking about another email account that I use for legal matters etc. I've heard there's Gmail backup but some have had problems with it. I think I'll be looking drag my important stuff off gmail or maybe forward the folders if I can.

Anyway, all restored now, so, Sessha, who has been calling you and Jane pasty?

Bud Jazzman said...

I make my own muesli as well. You can't seem to get stuff without sugar or honey or fucking salt and other crap. I make mine without wheat, sugar, or salt. Plenty of dried fruits, large oats, and nuts, althought I don't use apricots because I end up in fart City....

Sessha Batto said...

Ummmm . . . that would be you, Bud ;) The hubs calls me pasty and pointy all the time, and Lurch describes me as bony and cold . . . like a lizard. But look at the Dalai Lama - he's a vegetarian and he's not pasty ;)

Frankie said...

Yes, that's a problem with a lot of American "muesli" too. Swedish muesli is just uncooked rolled grains, dried fruit, and nuts by default. (Though my current favorite has little crispy bran bits in it too.) "Crunchy" musli has the sugars and is crispy, like granola.

I do like granola, but I prefer to make it myself.

Bud Jazzman said...

I've never called you pasty, show me where, please.....(confused emoticon)

Bud Jazzman said...

The Dalai Lama is on Twitter and doesn't follow anyone, miserable bastard! He must think he's special or something! Bah! These world leaders are fucking noodles; why I ever created them I'll never know!

Updated post

Frankie said...

@Bud

I think they mean "I never met a veggie that didn't look pasty and unwell".

http://exmoorjane.blogspot.com/2011/11/kazuo-ishiguros-walk-on-role-in-my-big.html?showComment=1321557976893#c9218312210457269238

I always look ridiculously well. It's annoying because doctors have a tendency to dismiss legitimate complaints (like pneumonia) unless you look seriously unwell.

Bud Jazzman said...

Well, there ya go. I've never met them.

Got my gmail sorted out and backed up to my HDD. Funny the way Google has never been a problem for me until this and it made me think about losing important mails. I'm normally a stickler for backing up. Kick my arse!

Bud Jazzman said...

GPs are just pill dispensers....I have no time for them mostly.

Bud Jazzman said...

Just looking at the pictures here. If I was really hungry then I would have no problem eating that dog on a plate.

Exmoorjane said...

Jeez, Bud, how bored are you??!! :D
Gimme a few more mins and I'll post up something new for you to get your teeth into...
I've eaten some weird stuff in the past - snake, zebra, bear, Findus Crispy Pancakes, Pot Noodle, haslet etc but I wouldn't eat dog. Mebbe cos I know what dogs will eat. pol

Bud Jazzman said...

You'd eat dog, lady...and you'd lap it up if you were on your knees....with hunger. xxx

Exmoorjane said...

Of course I would. I do kinda wonder about spiders though. :)

Bud Jazzman said...

Yes, people do; you can learn a lot from spiders and you can take what you've learned and use it in many imaginative ways.

I like spiders, they keep the house clean by eating woodlice and other foreign creatures....xx

Exmoorjane said...

I studied spiders in some depth - they are fascinating creatures. Re eating them, I think it's the idea of the leg texture - maybe a fat tarantula, I dunno. Are they meaty?
I don't have spiders in my house - probably because there aren't any woodlice for them to eat. I haven't had any foreign creatures for a while. :)

Bud Jazzman said...

You must live in a sterile environment then. Let me guess....the stuff that kills 99% of anything that might stop you doing impersonations of Howard Hughes?

Exmoorjane said...

Nah...I'm with you on the bit about germs being good for you. It's my excuse for poor housekeeping. :) Dunno why no spiders here - the old place had ones that had clearly been working out or taking steroids. Maybe they don't like the spirits!

Bud Jazzman said...

Steroids....That reminds me....I must get on with my olden days gym post.

Bud Jazzman said...

Then I might put my leash on and take the man for a walk. It's important to keep up appearances and I do like to co-create.

Exmoorjane said...

Good lad. Don't forget the poop bags. :)

Ma.Ste. said...

Tanks for mansion... :o)

Ma.Ste. said...

Bad Jazzman... I'm mean, Jobo Pooks... Eat leash! :oD