Saturday, December 11, 2010

Questions, questions...

So I've been thinking a lot lately about food. 

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Yes, I know.  You've heard it all before.  But the fact is, it's a big, tough issue for me, and a constantly ongoing one, too.  Lately it seems like every new day shows a different facet of my complicated relationship with food.  Will today be straight-up Spartan Athlete Nelly, where food is fuel and all eating and exercise is simplified to "calories in, calories out"?  Or will it be Anti-Orthorexia Nelly, where the mindset is "obsessing over health and food too much is just unhealthy.  and everything in moderation!  so I'm just going to have this chocolate now, mmkay?"  Or even Just Plain Burnt Out Nelly, whose mantra is "f*ck it all, i'm going to have two pots of coffee and a half-cup of cookie dough for breakfast, french fries for lunch and top it off with deep-fried tofu soaked in mystery sauce for dinner!"

(this last one is especially not fun and invariably leads to bloating and general feelings of ickiness.  and I even know it while it's happening, which means I don't really enjoy it, so it can't even be classified as hedonism.)

I think a lot of the problem is that I haven't yet found a truly healthy eating plan that I can work with as well as I can with Crossfit, for exercise.  Crossfit has been an absolute miracle for me, mainly because I stuck with it long enough to grow to absolutely adore it.  It's been almost two years since I started and I haven't missed a single session (6-week for the bootcamp or by months for the regular class) in all that time.  It's just perfect - the activity, the camaraderie, the entire mindset is just so appealing to me.
Eating is an entirely different story.  A lot of the draw of Crossfit is that you do it together with a whole bunch of other similarly-minded people who, if they're not in there with you sweating away shoulder to shoulder, will cheer you on until you finish.  Eating, however, is (at least for me) almost always a solitary act.  No one to tempt me with the bad foods, but no one to help keep me from temptation, either.

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 And that's another thought - the bit about "bad foods," I mean.  After a terrifying (and still difficult) bout with anorexia (not myself but someone I love), I've always tried my hardest not to label foods as "good" or "bad;" not to see healthy, "clean" eating as a morally good but vaguely unpleasant act that had to be done to atone for my past sugary transgressions, and neither to reward myself for good behavior with edibles, especially if the  "good behavior" was partially avoiding those very same foods.  But now I'm coming to the conclusion that yes, there are good and bad foods.  There's still a lot of grey area, but there are absolutely some things that I should eat a whole lot of, and others that I should eat very, very infrequently, if ever at all, as they are basically poison to my body.  Period.

But...I love chocolate!  And I love milk and cheese and cream and butter!  And pie, and Wasa bread, and yoghurt, and pretty much any kind of cookie that doesn't contain peanut butter, and Nutella, and beer, and on and on, ad nauseum (really!).  And I really really really love coffee (with cream)!  So the question becomes, do I take enough pleasure from all these things to balance out the benefits to my health (which I think is already pretty damn decent, and certainly above average) that I would gain if I gave them all up?

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Big questions.

 I'm also pretty seriously considering ending my decade-plus stint of veg*nism (the star is there for everything from vegetarianism to straight veganism to my current pescetarianism).  At this point I think it's healthier for my body to start eating real meat again, and my ethics have evolved to the point where my mind agrees with that fact.  The only step left is the last one, to actually start consuming the stuff again.  I think I'm going to wait til Christmas dinner, when Maggie's promised to roast a nice happy farm-raised chicken for me.

Ok, I think this is a good place to leave all these ramblings.  What do you all think?  Let me know!



  1. I wish I had some answers for you girl but my relationship with food grows increasingly complicated on a daily basis. If you ever figure it out, let me know!

  2. Thanks, Joanne! It's...a work in progress. Extremely extended time-frame, but still progress :P

  3. Good post, Nelly! I can relate to a lot of what you wrote here. And for the record, I think you should start eating meat. :)

  4. Thanks, Al! I know, I know...I'm going to, I'm just being picky about it, as factory farms are still ew.