Tag Archives: diet food

Buffalo Tantrum: The “H” Word

Ok, look.

We’ve talked before about how there are some words that will make me a very, very angry buffalo. And a quick Google search will bring you lots of links to discussions of other words–like “natural”–that are pretty much meaningless nowadays (thanks, advertisers!), so using them is less about understanding what they mean and more about getting people to buy into whatever you’re selling.

And today I have hit my breaking point, and need to add another word to the List of Words Which Have Become Meaningless Yet Simultaneously Infuriating: “healthy“. 

I have seen that word approximately eleventy-four billion times on Pinterest and Facebook today, and I. Am. Over. It. Not because I think it’s a wildly unacceptable word, like using “retarded” as slang (seriously, I will punch you in the neck for that), but because it’s become a fad word whose rampant overuse, misuse, and abuse has led to some truly bizarre–and in some cases deeply unsettling–things.

“Healthy”, as far as I can tell, used to mean “all my parts are functioning in a useful and mostly reliable way”. It meant that your body did what you needed it to do when you needed it to do it, and that you could generally assume that it would do so without catastrophic system failure at an inopportune time. If you needed to outrun the devil, you could probably do so without your heart exploding. You were pretty unlikely to be walking down the street and suddenly have your spleen rupture. Your temperature was neither too high nor too low, all your organs were where they were supposed to be and functioning like they were supposed to function, and you could climb to higher ground faster than the rising floodwaters or carry your groceries inside by yourself. You could walk to someplace reasonably close. You could sit comfortably.

But now it’s got this whole insane twisting thing going, where “healthy” apparently means “I want to talk about things that are actually pretty unhealthy, but I want to sound hip and with-it”. “Healthy” is the new “skinny”, and “healthy” is the new “natural”. And “healthy” has become utterly, utterly meaningless.

Let me give you some examples.

First, please consider the “Healthy” Peanut Butter Cookie craze, which has been making the rounds on Pinterest for a little while. Per the description–which tends to get passed along with the pin, so I see this with some regularity–these have “Only 36 calories per cookie! Ingredients: 1 Cup Peanut butter 1 Cup Sugar 1 TSP baking soda 1 egg Mix the peanut butter and sugar first then add in the egg and baking soda. Bake for 10 minutes on 350 degrees.”

/blink blink

Read that description aloud real quick and see if anything jumps out to you. I’ll wait.

…Did you spot it? The part where there are equal parts peanut butter and sugar in these things? And you know most people who are unfazed by that fact are probably not grinding their own sugar-free peanut butter, so there’s even more sugar coming from their store-bought stuff.

Now, look. I’m not a nutritionist, but I’m really gonna need someone to explain to me how a cookie that is roughly 48% sugar gets to call itself “healthy”. Basically what you’re doing here is taking a glob of sugary peanut butter, wrapping it in even more sugar, and calling it a day.

‘Cause, y’know, that makes sense.

And then at the other end of the spectrum, we have this little gem, which…well, take a gander:

No. This is *not* healthy, and if you're here because you searched for "healthy" and found this and thought it sounded great, please go talk to your doctor IMMEDIATELY.

No. This is *not* healthy, and if you’re here because you searched for “healthy” and found this and thought it sounded great, please go talk to your doctor IMMEDIATELY.

This is one that is not even pretending that by “healthy” it means anything other than “skinny”. It also got picked up by Pinterest, and is making the rounds as the “Healthy Skinny Girl Diet“, with comments like “this is a diet called the healthy skinny girl diet. it is 21 days and it takes 21 days to create a habit so good diet choice”.

But here’s the thing. I actually found this image first doing a Google search for “diet to be healthy” (sometimes research for these ‘Tracts makes me search for things I wouldn’t ordinarily), and the image was in my results.

Do you want to know where it came from?

Brace yourself.

It came from here: Skinny Girls: A Pro Ana Community. The article is titled “Learn to Hate Food”.

OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD

/runs around in little circles

/flails

You can’t see it from there, ’cause you’re reading this on a screen of some sort, but I am literally, physically shaking with rage here. There is nothing–nothing–you can say that will ever make me believe that anyone should ever, under any circumstances, ever ever ever in life take advice, especially diet advice, from a [zomg such a rude word] PRO-ANOREXIA WEBSITE.

Ok, that’s not entirely accurate–at the top of that site is a little disclaimer, and I can agree with the first half of it: “WARNING: Anorexia is a harmful disease that could lead to death. Please research the dangerous effects of anorexia and other diseases before reading this blog.”

So could we please, please please please, please as a personal favor to me, agree that perhaps this whole “healthy” thing has gotten a tiny bit out of hand? Can we agree that we need a definition reset? Can we agree that a word that represents an ideal that people are striving toward, once it has reached the point where it is simultaneously describing cookies that are 50% sugar and a seriously dangerous eating disorder (overeating and undereating? BOTH UNHEALTHY, GANG.), has perhaps become just the teensiest bit jumbled beyond all sanity or reason?

Maybe we go back to a different way of looking at things. Maybe we reconsider the “does my body perform the way I need/want it to?” measurement approach, and drop the compulsive calorie counting and BMI measuring and scales and charts and graphs and tables. Maybe we take a second to consider that opting out of the MUST BE HEALTHY madness is actually a pretty healthy step in and of itself, since a goal which represents such extremes and such all-consuming obsession is…y’know…maybe not so hot after all.

I for one am going to go take a walk, because I want my body to be able to get to places on foot in case my car breaks down in the middle of someplace where I have no cell phone reception.

And because I need to clear my head.

“Learn to hate food”, indeed.

/brainsplosion

Preach on, Sister Michelle.

Preach on, Sister Michelle.

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Filed under Don't Make Me Come Down There, General Musings and Meanderings

Better Than Ice Cream

Occasionally I indulge my penchant for hyperbole.

I know that may come as a shock to you, but trust me, it’s true. I might, every once in a while, stretch things just a touch; I might overstate things just a wee bit; I might, for the sake of humor or to drive a point home, get just the tiniest bit carried away with comparisons. Just a little bit. A tiny bit, really. A shred. A crumb. A molecule.

For instance, I might say things like “I would crawl a million miles over broken glass for a helping of Moddy’s cheesy potato casserole”. Clearly this is not true: I would not crawl a million miles for that, because if I asked Moddy very nicely to make a cheesy potato casserole, I could simply get in the car and drive 30 miles to her house and have one by dinnertime. She’s a good sport like that.

However, sometimes the things I say are actually totally true, and should be taken at face value. Case in point: a while back, I said that if I had to choose between chocolate and my nieces’n’nephews, I’d choose the kiddos without having to think about it. (I also said I’d punch an alligator in the face for them, which, while true, is not a point on which I’d particularly like to be tested.)

And I was thinking about that yesterday–the chocolate trade, not the alligator–while I was making our New Year’s Prosperity Feast. We had shrimp cocktail and hors d’oeuvres and fancy wine for breakfast (we’d had the champagne the night before), and stuffed mushrooms and black-eyed peas and steak for dinner and a nice circular cake for dessert, all because it’s supposed to be good luck to eat certain foods on New Year’s Day. Y’know, for prosperity and things. Someone had said that the peas, for instance, were supposed to bring coins into your life and collard greens were supposed to bring cash; it was a little late to go hunt down some collard greens, but I reckon the peas and the cake and the prosperous thoughts should suffice.

And that’s what made me think about the kiddos: if we eat certain foods on New Year’s Day for prosperity, maybe I can apply that approach throughout the year, and eat certain foods because they represent the life I want to live with the people I love the most.

I know I’m supposed to eat vegetables, and I do enjoy a good broccoli crown–mmm, broccoli–but I wonder if I might eat more of it if I declare that broccoli florets, which look like trees, should be eaten frequently so that I’ll be granted the gift of lots of woodsy adventures. And maybe I’ll eat broccoli crowns when I want to bring extra princess time into my life. Cauliflower looks kinda like brains, so I can eat cauliflower for extra smarts in my brain parts–the better to whup Moon Man at trivia games (that will never happen. He can’t remember a birthday to save his life, but he’s got ridiculous amounts of trivia rattling around in his head). I’ll eat red coronary-lookin’ beets when I want to expand the love in my world. I’ll eat more black-eyed peas for more money, and because they’re delicious with a little bacon. Mmm, bacon.

And it works in the opposite direction, too. I declared, in that blog post last year, that I would choose the kiddos over chocolate without even having to think about it, and that’s true–if a wizard came to me right now and ordered me to choose, I’d have my answer before he finished his sentence. I have the good fortune of not having to make that choice; but maybe I can live like I’ve been given a scale with all the chocolate on one side and all the time with loved ones on the other, and every time I eat some chocolate I have to move some time off the family side so the scale stays balanced. The chocolate isn’t off the table entirely; I just need to choose it consciously, knowing that every candy bar is a bit of time I’m taking away…but veggies, I dunno, add time or something. I haven’t thought this all the way out yet, and the metaphor is a little tortured anyway.

But you see what I’m getting at. Maybe this year can be the year when I make food decisions consciously, with an eye toward symbolism and meaning and intent, instead of just eating the things I’ve historically eaten, which, for the record, have not historically led to my being the healthiest human being alive. (What’s that they say about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Yeah….)

And if I get right to the punchline–and this is all Sarah McLachlan’s fault–the love of my family and friends really is better than ice cream. Plus it doesn’t melt.

So that’s the plan for this year: more little trees, fewer ice cream cones. Because I will take a romantic walk through the woods with my hubby over a drippy, melty cone any day.

Well, most days.

Isn't this just about the cutest cross-stitch piece you ever saw? I may have to order one.

Isn’t this just about the cutest cross-stitch piece you ever saw? I may have to order one.

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Filed under General Musings and Meanderings, Play Nicely

Well Played, Food Manufacturers. Well Played.

As you may recall, Moon Man has decided to unleash his inner Ogg-the-Caveman. He’s following a kinda-sorta Paleo-Primal-mostly-meat-and-plants-but-sometimes-you’ve-gotta-have-some-cheese diet, and allowing himself one Splurge Day and one Splurge Meal per week (O glorious doughnuts, I can’t quit you…). One of the tenets of this lifestyle, as we’ve discovered, is that legumes are a no-fly zone–your average caveman probably didn’t spend a whole lot of time cultivating beans for fun and profit, so they’re just not part of the diet plan. And as you may recall from your favorite trivia game, peanuts are a legume. Ergo, peanuts are generally a no-no (splurge days notwithstanding. On Splurge Days, all bets are off, and it is not unheard of for us to make an “emergency” run to the store to buy every single thing in their bakery and devour it in a single gluttonous sitting).

And since peanuts are Not Caveman Food, then by extension peanut butter, especially with all its sugar and such, is definitely Not Caveman Food. So we decided to try almond butter, because almonds are really truly nuts (not beans), and besides, almond butter sounded yummy.

So a coupla weeks ago, I picked up a jar of almond butter at the grocery store. There were two brands available; one of them, the one I bought, contained only almonds and salt, while the other one apparently felt the need to add honey and preservatives and kitchen sinks and things. I twitched a little bit at the price–it was about $6.50 for the 11-ounce jar–but chalked it up as being another example of how Being a Caveman Is Not for the Faint of Budget (though you save a surprising amount of grocery money as you start veering away from the “foods” that utterly fail to keep you full for more than an hour or so) and brought it home, whereupon Moon Man fell on it like a rabid weasel and devoured it like he was being paid to endorse the stuff. And I have to admit: it really was delicious. Like, seriously delicious. Like “why on earth did we ever eat peanut butter when this stuff was out there the whole time?!?” delicious. Spread some of it on a celery stick and boy howdy, you’ve got yourself a treat.

But the problem was the cost. Given that we could go through a jar every week or two if we exercised serious self-restraint (and could easily go through a jar in a single sitting if we felt particularly self-indulgent), $6.50 per jar was just a bit more than I could bear to spend.

So I looked into making our own at home. I’ll admit, I was a little intimidated by this idea; I mean, all the things I read on the internet made it sound terribly easy, but the internet is a strange place whose advice should be taken with a grain of salt. The internet also makes it sound like becoming a millionaire is easy (just follow these simple steps!), as is losing all your belly fat and raising chickens and learning to play the sousaphone. The internet exaggerates a little bit, is all I’m sayin’.

But I set out today with my trusty food processor and a jar of dry-roasted almonds with sea salt ($11 for 2.5 pounds at Costco), and figured that I should at least give it a try. Sometimes the internet is right, y’know, so it’s usually worth a shot.

And I learned something important today: the amount of money I saved in the last 20 minutes by making my own almond butter is enough to buy myself a new pair of pants, to replace the ones I ruined by wetting myself from laughing so hard at the ludicrousness of it all.

Here’s how you make almond butter. Step 1: Put almonds in food processor (I used a pound). Step 2: Push the “On” button. Step 3: Wait until it stops being almonds and starts being almond butter, about 5-7 minutes, pausing periodically to scrape down the sides because I can’t resist fidgeting with the food when I’m “cooking”. Step 4: Push the “Off” button.

It was seriously that easy. I added a couple of teaspoons of water at one point, because I was becoming neurotic about not having to do anything; but really, I could’ve just stood there, maybe filed my nails or sorted the recycling or something. The hardest part by far (aside from battling my own psyche) was the discovery that almonds are apparently an invasive species, in that the little particles will find nooks and crannies of your food processor that you never dreamed were there, and will hide in them so that washing the thing afterwards is something of a challenge.

At the end of it all, I put my fresh homemade almond butter in a little reusable storage container and stuck it in the fridge (they say you should refrigerate it), and did a bit of mental math. I reckon that at 2.5 pounds for $11, it would cost me about $3.00 to make the same 11 ounces I bought for $6.50 at the store. So, y’know, half price, plus a few minutes of my time and a bit of noise in the kitchen.

In other words: well played, food manufacturers, well played. You have successfully fooled the populace into believing that in order to have “premium” foods, i.e., ones that aren’t all full of chemicals and crap, they have to spend a boatload of money. You have taught us that making things at home is too hard, and that we are all far too busy to do wacky hippie things like making our own almond butter. You have made us believe that you are on our side, and that you want us to be healthy and happy and that for a teensy extra fee, you can make that happen. Excellent work, folks. I applaud you.

But I’m here to tell you, ‘Tracters, that while it’s certainly true that some things (neurosurgery, rocket science, massage) are best left to the pros, almond butter is totally within your grasp. It’s completely do-able, and in fact, it’s embarrassingly easy.

And cheap. And while honey badger might not give a damn about the budget, this particular Mrs Honey Badger does. And she is not about to fall for the Food Manufacturers’ shenanigans anymore.

This nice man made his own almond butter and posted pictures! He started from raw almonds, though, so had to toast them first (I'm too lazy for all that), and he added some spices to his finished product (which I find intriguing, and will probably try sometime).

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My Husband, the Caveman

So. Moon Man has decided to be a caveman.

There’s this diet making the rounds, which apparently became wildly popular when I wasn’t lookin’, generally referred to as the Paleo Diet, or Primal Eating, or similar; basically, it says that you should eat like a caveman. Anything you could reasonably hunt/gather for yourself is fair game (and assuming a basic level of nomadism is ok here, so you’re not stuck with nothing but squash during those long winter months); anything you’d have to settle down and farm is off-limits–so no grains, for instance, and whenever possible your meats/veggies should be organic/chemical-free/grass-fed/etc. If you like, you can think of it as Atkins with more grunting (I confess: that’s pretty much exactly how I think of it), and a lot of people we love and respect have been following it with great success.

So Moon Man decided to give it a try. And darned if he didn’t lose weight (five pounds!) in the first week, even with a coupla splurge days thrown into the mix (every diet has to have wiggle room. Tell me I can never have chocolate cake again, and watch me laugh at you until I wet myself. However, tell me that I just can’t have any until next Tuesday, and we’re pretty ok.).

First off, I have to brag on him a little bit. Moon Man just up and lost five pounds, gang. He just went and did that. He looked at the doughnuts at the store, said “ehh, no thanks”, and went and ate some leaves and grass and dinosaurs and things, and lost five pounds. In a week. Just, y’know, because. This is not shabby, and I for one am highly impressed.

But I also have to brag on myself here, because as it turns out, his new eating plan is also having some effects on me. I hadn’t originally intended to follow him down that rabbit hole; but y’know, really, it does feel kinda awkward to be the only one at the table chowing down on a pile of rolls while your hubby is virtuously munching on his asparagus. So I find myself, intentionally or otherwise, eating more-or-less the same way he does: lots of protein and veggies, and rather less carbs than I used to consume.

And lo and behold, I also lost a coupla pounds last week. Wouldja lookit that.

I think the most exciting change around here, though, is that all of this is making me flex my cooking muscles again. We’d gotten into a bit of a food rut: we’d found our favorites, and, as with most families, I just cooked those over and over. Beef and noodles. Tacos. Breaded chicken in various forms. Steak and asparagus, sure, but with a nice big baked potato on the side. We dabbled periodically in things like mashed cauliflower and spaghetti squash, but not in any really committed sort of way.

But now a lot of my old recipes aren’t really usable. “Beef and noodles”, minus the noodles, pretty much just becomes “pile of beef chunks on plate”…and since they came with a sort of gravy, which was, of course, flour-based, it actually becomes “pile of dry beef chunks on plate”. Mmm, yummy! “Breaded chicken” becomes “chicken slab”. “Tacos” become “seasoned ground meat heap”.

So while he’s learning how to distinguish hunger from boredom and doing free-time research on the science behind the Paleo diet (and very helpfully finding hilarious “Is Is Paleo?” flowcharts for me, to make grocery shopping less daunting), I’m hunting down new recipes and finding intriguing new proteins to test-drive. Last week, for instance, we had steelhead trout, which, as it turns out, is friggin’ delicious. We tried lamb arm chops, which we loved; and I made carnitas on Monday (pro tip: when halving the amount of meat the recipe calls for, the wise cook also halves the number of chipotles one tosses into the pot. The unwise cook forgets to do this, and ends up with profoundly clear sinuses. We’ll leave it to you to guess which camp I landed in.). Tonight, I think, will be salmon pinwheels, or maybe kebabs, one of the few tried-and-true recipes to survive the Paleorevolution.

And if I am learning nothing else from this, I am learning that cultural training really can, in fact, go jump directly into the nearest lake. It is completely and totally possible to take leaves and seeds and weeds and things and make a delicious meal out of ’em. There is no law that says that chicken must be breaded. Not even one of the Ten Commandments can be translated, even extremely loosely, as “thou shalt serve potatoes with thy beef”. Heck, there’s not even a rule that says that things like tacos must be served on tortillas (pro tip: lettuce leaves add a bit of crunch, and hold taco filling just as readily as a tortilla does).

So despite my original response to Moon Man’s announcement that he was going to be a caveman–which, I hate to admit, was something along the lines of “I support you in your desire to make healthier choices, but can you please take a moment to acknowledge that you are inconveniencing the bejeezus outta me right now? I mean, seriously, every single one of my recipes is going straight out the window here, and the only replacement you have suggested so far is ‘make things without flour’. I am going to need more guidance, and possibly a coupla shots of vodka”–I am pleased to announce that I’m warming up to the idea after all. It’s making me cook outside my comfort zone, making me learn some new recipes, making me try some new foods…and as it turns out, I’m enjoying the heck out of it.

And besides, it’s helping make Moon Man healthier. And I’ll take that result any day.

Not gonna lie–every time I hear “caveman”, this is the first one that comes to mind. Captain Caaaaaavemannnnnnn!!

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1 Corinthians 16:14

“Let all that you do be done in love.” — 1 Corinthians 16:14

First take a moment to sit with that, please. I don’t care what your religious/spiritual belief is or isn’t; it’s a good quote any way you look at it, and it forms a critical part of my approach to life, the universe, and everything.

It’s also my justification for being a big meaniehead sometimes.

Love, as it turns out, does not equal “I will let you do whatever you want, however you want, whenever you want, because your happiness is the only thing that matters to me”. It doesn’t mean being a doormat, and it doesn’t mean ignoring one’s own needs for the sake of someone else (there’s an argument to be made for the mother who skips dinner so the little ones can eat, but that’s “sacrifice”, and while the Venn diagrams for “sacrifice” and “love” overlap there, I think it’s awfully dangerous to decide that the two are synonymous). Love is not about unlimited permissiveness. Love is not about enabling.

Love is about support, though, and appropriate boundary-setting, and Being the Voice of Reason. It’s knowing how to distinguish what your loved one wants versus what your loved one needs, and acting accordingly. It’s knowing when to go with the flow, and knowing when to dig in your heels…and for the record, this is true both of love directed outward, toward others, and love directed inward, toward yourself.

And all of this is a very long-winded justification for why I’m not baking any bread today.

Moon Man loves fresh-baked bread. He loveloveloves it, with the passion of a thousand burning suns. (And to be honest, I’m about only about a half-step behind him, enthusiasm-wise.) There’s something profoundly intoxicating about the smell of bread in the oven, and something sensually thrilling about breaking open a fresh loaf and watching the steam swirl and eddy, and something frankly divine about buttering a slice and biting into it while it’s still warm. If I was on death row, I would ask that fresh-baked bread be included in my last meal, preferably baked right outside my cell door so I could smell it in the oven.

And since I love Moon Man, I want to provide the things that make him happy. The problem, though, is that neither of us can handle the responsibility of a fresh-baked loaf of bread: when I bake, the loaf tends to last about a day, and is often completely devoured within a couple of hours. We slice it, butter it thickly, and wolf it down like we’ve just been informed that bread-eating is about to become a capital offense.

Needless to say, this does not entirely support our goal to eat more sensibly, with an eye on portion control and nutrition.

So because I love Moon Man, and because I love myself, and because I love the both of us too much to continue enabling our insanity, I am not baking any bread today.

Frankly, it’s hard, and it makes me feel like a big doodyface. I am experiencing mad guilt about not doing that one little thing that would make him so very, very happy, even though I know full well that eating half a loaf of bread isn’t good for his nutrition, his weight-loss goals, his healthy eating goals, or his blood sugar. (Did I mention that Moon Man is diabetic? Yeah, giving him bread is just mean, from a blood-sugar standpoint. But he loves it so much!)

So today I’m just owning my inner doodyfaced meanieheadedness. (Yes, those are words.) I love our life together too much to be willing to sacrifice our long-term goals for our short-term happiness; it’s the same love, for example, that would keep me from even considering letting my oldest niece, Bean, borrow the car (she just turned six), or letting our youngest niece, Princess A, have a candy bar for breakfast (she’s almost one). Sometimes I love people “because”, and sometimes I love them “despite”; and sometimes I love people in a “go for it” kind of way, and sometimes I love them in a “not over my dead body” way.

And if my being a doodyfaced meaniehead is what it takes to keep them around for an extra 20 years so I can keep showing my love in healthier ways a bit longer, then so be it. I’ll be a doodyface, and I’ll be a meaniehead, and I’ll refuse to bake the bread or give Bean the car keys.

And I’ll do it all with love.

1 Corinthians 16:14

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WWH: Eat, Already!

So.

 

This weekend is the Super Bowl, aka That Day When Everybody Breaks Out Their Favorite Fatty Appetizer Recipes And Gorges Like They’re Being Executed on Monday, Then Washes It All Down With Beer or Soda. I don’t usually participate in Super Bowl Madness, because until very recently, I didn’t watch football (that all changed when I noticed that a couple of the Green Bay Packers lads were mighty easy on the eyes, making them frankly a joy to watch); but this year, now that I’ve sorta been paying attention to football, I feel kind of obligated to watch it. If nothing else, Moon Man and I enjoy the commercials–there’s supposed to be that one with the dogs barking the Imperial March from Star Wars, and that’s just hilarious–and the excuse to eat delicious dips.

 

And of course, where there’s a Good Excuse for a Party, there will be 10,000 recipes bandied about–the internet and women’s magazines are going nuts right now, luring people to their various sites and pages with the promise of the best-ever queso, brownies, things-wrapped-in-crescent-rolls, sandwiches, dips, spreads, and so forth. And that’s great; I love a good recipe as much as the next guy.

 

What I do not love is the equal-but-opposite reaction I’m simultaneously seeing, from folks freaking out about How to Navigate the Treacherous and Perilous World of Super Bowl Gatherings Without Destroying Your Diet, Your Waistline, and Your Worth as a Human Being. “These are the foods you may eat (insert picture of celery),” they proclaim, “and these foods (insert gigantic list) will break your diet, which will make your body shape change, which will demonstrate your fundamental worthlessness, which will make your partner stop loving you and your boss think you’re lazy and all your friends abandon you, so for advice on being Utterly Alone in 2012, please turn to page 43.”

 

To all of those advice columnists, article-writers, etc, I say: [Bleep] you and the horse you rode in on, you sanctimonious nitwits. My self-worth is unrelated to my pants size, and while it’s true that I might absolutely lose my mind and eat everything but the television on Sunday, I’m confident that I understand “Super Bowl Day” versus “Not Super Bowl Day” and can plan my menu on Monday accordingly.

 

Yes, I understand that self-control is important.

Yes, I understand that in the case of addiction, people may need to be more rigorous with themselves, and if that’s your situation, that’s ok–please take whatever steps are necessary for you to live your best life; but as a favor to me, please stop before you hit self-shaming, because that’s just differently unhealthy.

 

However, I also understand that for many of us, it’s not so much a “food addiction” as it is just a simple case of poor impulse control, unfavorable eating habits, not particularly rigid adherence to nutritional guidelines, etc. I’m not fat because I “just can’t stop eating”–if that’s the boat you’re in, then please, by all means, continue reading these ‘Tracts as a bit of diversion, but I implore you to seek actual assistance from someone who’s actually qualified to give advice, rather than someone who just has a blog and some thoughts about the world.

 

But for those of us who, like me, are just here because we really like pizza and because we couldn’t judge a portion size if our lives depended on it, then my official advice for Super Bowl Sunday is “Eat, already!”.

 

In the same way that I am capable of discerning which clothes are appropriate for yardwork versus which clothes are appropriate for a wedding, I am also able to discern which diets are appropriate for everyday (i.e., anything that emphasizes a healthy relationship to food, with attention to reasonable portion sizes and getting good nutrition) versus which diets are appropriate for Those Rare Occasions, like the Super Bowl (i.e., if it’s not moving and is on the snack table, it is going into my mouth). I know how to stop before I explode. I know how to share nicely with others (no fair taking the last pig-in-a-blanket, at least until enough time has passed for you to be reasonably sure everyone else has had a chance to have one). I know how stop sometimes to cheer, or chat, or walk around a little bit, or help tidy the kitchen. I am a grownup. I know how to tell the difference between a Party Day and Not a Party Day. I’ve got this, thankyouverymuch.

 

So for all of you out there who are currently knee-deep in articles about how you cannot possibly allow even one morsel of Super Bowl Food to pass your lips without losing everything you have ever held dear, please permit me to suggest an alternative: “Eat, already!” Enjoy the day, and just go back to paying attention to the magazines on Monday. You don’t have to eat everything on the table by yourself, but you also don’t have to sit outside and listen to the game through the window lest you face Vile Wretched Cheesy Temptation on Crackers. You’re allowed to splurge. You’re allowed to indulge.

 

You’re allowed to eat, fer cryin’ out loud.

 

Just maybe have some salad on hand for Monday.

 

 

 

(Reminder: This weekend is also Donate Food to Your Local Food Bank Weekend! Local folks are invited to bring donations to the Buffalo Moon Ranch–and remember, we’re matching all dropped-off donations one-for-one–and everyone else should check out Feeding America to find a food bank near you!)

 

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Filed under Play Nicely

Removing Temptation

In about 20 minutes, I am going to go to the store.

In an ideal world, I would sign up for a zillion CSAs and have fresh, healthful, delicious food delivered to a convenient pickup location directly from the farm, sidestepping all the middle men and supporting local agrifolks directly. This is not the reality of my world at this time.

So instead, I’m about to go to the grocery store. We have approximately 3 items of food in this house, and that is nowhere near enough to make a nutritious dinner. Besides, I shop for a week at a time, and it’s a lot like retail therapy for me, in a sad sort of way that would embarrass the 20-year-old version of myself.

Before I leave the house, however, I am taking a moment to gird my loins with the Anti-Temptation Armor of Righteous Shopping Vengeance. The store is a dangerous place for those of us with food addictions, and a doubly dangerous place for those of us who also harbor a minor addiction to Getting a Great Deal–it’s a mighty rare day that the buy-one-get-one-free deal, for instance, is on fresh vegetables; far more frequently those sorts of deals are reserved for the alarming packaged frankenfoods lurking in the gauntlet of the middle aisles.

So I believe I shall amend one of my previous mantras as follows:

The existence of food does not obligate me to its consumption, AND

The existence of Oreos do not obligate me to their purchase.

Oreos are delicious. I dunk them in milk and eat them slightly softened, and left to my own devices, I will eat every Oreo between here and the Canadian border in one sitting. I am given to understand that there are people (or possibly alien life forms on Earth) who can eat one or two Oreos and put the rest away for later. I am not one of those people, not even on a “strong willpower” day. On a “strong willpower” day I stop eating Oreos somewhere around the Dakotas, instead of making it all the way to Canada.

So I am not allowed to have Oreos in the house, because as I am learning, it is far easier to make the wise choice (where by “wise” I mean “the one which supports my health and nutrition goals”) one time at the store, rather than having to re-make that decision every single time I walk into the kitchen, which is surprisingly frequent now that I’ve started drinking more water and need refills throughout the day.

Therefore today at the store I shall make wise choices, to save myself from having to make wise choices later when I am not wearing the Anti-Temptation Armor. I shall allow myself to walk right past the good deals on things that say “froot” or “chocolate-flavored candy pieces” or “now with more antioxidants!!!!!!!” on the label. I shall arm myself with the knowledge that if a particular food item can be sold for less than half the original retail price, then the economics of its production are probably alarming–the more people are involved, the more an item will cost (people don’t work for free, y’know, and don’t get me started on labor rights for immigrants), so if a company can afford to sell its product for 25 cents per can, then there were probably very few people–and a whole lotta machines–involved in its production. Do I really want to eat food that got spit out of a machine? I mean, really?

So I shall pass up the great deals. I shall stride boldly past the Oreos and ignore their plaintive cries. I shall make good decisions this one time this week, which will enable my good decisions for the rest of the week (it’s hard to eat Oreos that you don’t have). I shall take up my sword and shield and go confidently unto the store of groceries, and I shall purchase according to my budget and my goals.

And I won’t even hit the candy rack by the checkstand on my way out.

…I make no guarantees about the Woman’s World stand, though. I love that magazine.

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Filed under General Musings and Meanderings