Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Food Makes Fools Of Us All

This weekend we were at a birthday party. There was a lot of laughter and good company and of course food.

I’m not a fan of the judgement that comes from public eating but I applaud the social aspects and on occasion it is this social aspect that has helped me regain control over food. On this occasion, I have to admit that I actually stood up against social convention and to an extent the essence of my culture and ate what was appropriate for me. Which I’m actually rather proud of… However, one of the guests at the party did quite the opposite or actually the same… it’s a bit confusing.

She suffers from diabetes. Social convention says to limit your sugar intake. She did not. Not only did she ignore the general consensus and advice of several medical professionals around the table, she also fought back with ignorant comments like “It’s ok; I will just increase my insulin tomorrow”. By anyone’s standards, she over indulged in all things sugar related. How can we be intelligent beings in all other aspect of our lives and yet be so illogical when it comes to food?

My biggest problem is that she seemed really happy. She seemed to be enjoying herself. And what did we do? Nothing. We commented from our own perspective and pointed out the dangers but ultimately we respected her choice to risk her life for another bite. Do I believe that feeding sugar to someone with diabetes is reckless? Most definitely. Do I believe that over indulging is bad for you, no matter what the circumstance? Yes, I do. Do I believe that all of us have to take responsibility for our actions and that we are entitled to make these choices? Absolutely. Does this make me feel any less guilty for ‘letting it happen’? Not even close…

So, what is the point of this post? Well, I just wanted to point out (and remind myself) that food can make us act like fools. It is so easy to judge from a distance and know what is right and logical but when it comes down to taking that bite: logic leaves us. So we really need to stop judging each other based on these logic-resistant choices.

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One bite away

I have a medical excuse not to exercise and I have a medical excuse not eat. It would be easy for me to go back to not eating: no pain, no nausea, no internal fight with me… But I can’t do it. I know it is bad for me not to eat and I know I can’t put those who care about me through it.

Besides I know if I stop eating for 3days, it will take me 3months to get back to eating 3 meals a day and 6 more to get back to the much healthier option of 6 meals a day. It’s not worth it. Why would not eating cause that much chaos? Well, that’s simple: I have Gilbert Syndrome and basically it comes down to my liver not being able to do all it is suppose to, resulting in a constant state of nausea and generally a lot of pain too. There are pills I could take but I’d have to take them forever and that is not an option I’m willing to consider. The bodies of 92% of the world’s population sees food as a nutrient but my body sees food as toxins it needs to get rid of. So for me the rest of the 8%of the population, eating is not exactly a fun past time.

When your body knows that everything that goes into it will make it feel ill, your body starts saying “don’t do it! Don’t bring that stuff near me! Stop poisoning me, just stop eating” and over time it gets harder for your mind to fight this logic. When you feel like crap all the time, it is hard for your mind to argue with the logic of your body. It takes a lot for me to eat even just one bite. And I think one of the most painful things about that fact is that most of the people around me will never be able to tell… I have a very strong hold over my gag reflex. I can control it and prevent it from throwing out the food I try to eat but all it takes is one moment where the pain and discomfort over rules the logic and my body overpowers my mind and I… well, you know. It’s sort of scary knowing that you are only one gag reflex away from involuntary Bulimia. And when you have to fight this hard just to get through a plate of food and you’d rather just stop it all together, that’s when you realize just how close you are to Anorexia. And these 2 diagnoses are both daunting. They are scary and overwhelming and when you don’t really suffer from either and the fear of almost suffering from either is not enough to get you treatment, it makes it harder to stay strong.

So here I am, stuck with a non specific eating disorder… every bite a victory lap and simultaneously a painful reminder that my body and mind have to keep fighting a daily battle just to keep up the pretence that I am normal and that everything is ok. So when some random walks up to me and says “Oh, yeah you are getting fat” it takes all of my strength and patience not to blow up at their ignorance.

As much as I hate GS and the whole over-thinking-everything-I-eat-thing, it also affords me an understanding that most people will never have. A sort of compassion and empathy because I know there must be others like me out there… And in some way that makes up for some of the discomfort and confusion. I wouldn’t want to be anyone other than me.

Just sharing my view…

Get me through today

Spent yesterday sitting around a table drinking and eating and chatting with friends…

This might not really sound interesting to any of you but for me it’s a big deal! I use to like going out and hanging out and just being out. But slowly it’s become harder for me to do these normal things. It’s effort for me to sit there and just relax; it’s like I’m always on edge; expecting something bad to happen or like whatever I’m doing is not enough and if I take my eye off the ball for a second my whole world will fall apart…

But yesterday was different. I actually had fun. I laughed out loud in public! And I wasn’t surrounded by the usual 4people who have become my social safety net. I was sitting there alone with people I haven’t seen in months and people who knew all about me even though I barely knew a thing about them; people who were judging me and expecting things from me and I didn’t mind it. In fact, I enjoyed the attention. It was really amazing!

It started with a very normal coffee and shopping for lunch for 30people followed by a slow drive out to the dam. Headed to the kitchen to cut some onions and wash some potatoes. Standing by the fire with a beer in one hand and sunglasses in the other. Just chatting and hanging out… Something I have not had the guts to do in a really long time. We talked all day, ate some food, had a few more drinks and talked some more. Here’s the thing though: even though I drank way past my capacity, I wasn’t drunk. I didn’t want to be… I could actually handle the social anxiety without a vice.

And you know what the best part was: waking up this morning. Waking up and not regretting it! Waking up and smiling because I remember the fun we had yesterday. Waking up and feeling revitalized because I made the most out of yesterday. Waking up and having hope that today could be filled with the same kind of… fun. Waking up and knowing that I can be happy.

Yesterday allowed me to get through today… I need to have more days like yesterday.

I’m Fat!

I’m thinking of writing a cook book! Ok… not really. As much as I love cooking, I still have no idea what I’m doing; I’m just winging it.

If any of you are wondering how I managed to get an A in home-economics without picking up the culinary art, well it’s quite simple: my best friend was the top teen chef in the country! We’d do projects together and I’d just do the salads along with the washing up and measuring… I left all the real cooking to her. I use to see food as just an irritating waste of time and occasionally I still do but that’s only because I’m forced to over think it. I have this annoying little liver condition called Gilbert Syndrome. It’s not a big deal, in fact if you look it up in a medical journal it’ll only tell you two things: one being its name and the other to not misdiagnose it as Jaundice. Basically my liver can’t produce the chemical that removes all the bad stuff that get trapped by biliruben in your bloodstream. So when my biliruben levels get too high, my skin becomes yellow and I pretty much feel nauseous all the time.

When I first discovered it, I didn’t find it difficult to change my entire lifestyle because I knew if I didn’t I’d be in bed all day feeling like death warmed up simply for the sake of eating a few French fries. So I cut out all things fatty and everything remotely sweet, except cheese and Smarties and replaced it with loads of fruit! I also drank insane amounts of water. Even though all these things made me feel better during normal daily activity, it still didn’t prevent me from fainting once a week and since I refused to be on pills for the rest of my life, I had to find other ways of dealing with nausea.

The point I’m getting at is that we all have different bodies and they react differently to all sorts of food. For instance, if I eat a teaspoon of sugar I need to drink 5 glasses of water just to balance it out. It’s really annoying when someone asks you if you would like a cookie and you have to spend a minute analyzing whether this moment of pleasure is really worth it! Thankfully not everyone is forced to think about their food as much as I am but subconsciously, it’s what we’re all doing. Society has taught us that we should feel guilty for eating anything that’s not green or has been cooked with something other than water; that added spices like salt should make you feel bad and even eating meat is practically a crime. Well that’s pathetic! No one can tell you what you like or what to eat!

No one has the right to make you question your food choices or doubting your beauty! Yes, of course eating only greasy food is bad for you, which is why your body will give you a clear indication when it has had enough. And yes, if you have trouble walking up the stairs to your room, then maybe you should practice that a few more times during the day but this is all very subjective. You cannot judge yourself by anyone else’s standards nor should you ever allow anyone else to make you feel like you’re not measuring up to their standards…

I like the food I eat and as long as I do it in balance, it’s all good. I’m not thin and I really don’t think I’ll ever be thin but I’m happy. Yes I could do with a few more sit ups but that’s just because I’m comparing myself to the way I looked when I was 16. We don’t stay 16 forever ~ which I’m really glad about! Our bodies change throughout our lives and we need to realize that. Your body isn’t the only thing to you; it isn’t even the main thing. If you lose a finger nail, will that make you any less you? No! Of course not, because there is so much more to us than our finger nails and our hair and our dress size.

 We have the ability to think and feel and care and make choices! These are the things that matter not the shell it is all kept in. My grandmother use to say: “What other people think of you is none of your business.” At first I thought she was just clueless but then I thought about it and it made sense. We live in a world where we are so afraid that people won’t like us or that we don’t dress as well as that person or make as much money as our neighbour. None of these things really matter! There are people dying in our backyards and wondering where their next meal will come from and instead of trying to figure out how we’ll ever manage world peace, we spend hours in front of the mirror criticizing ourselves and breaking down our self confidence simply because we have forgotten how to see the people inside the Levi Jeans. We see all these superficial things and think that that is what makes a man. Guess what? It doesn’t!

Looking perfect and feeling perfect are two very different things! I’m amazed I’ve written this much without quoting a P!nk song. Obviously we all have days of feeling like we just don’t measure up and it’s exactly for those moments P!nk has written the song F***ing Perfect! “You’re so mean, when you talk about yourself, you are wrong! Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead.”

 Listen to the lyrics and believe every word! We’re all f***ing perfect and unique. If the people in your life can’t see it, then they don’t deserve to be in your life!

Sharing my view,

AM

PS: This post came as a result of my disrupted Twitter feed. Some guy who thinks he has the right to judge everyone else and tell them they are not worth as much as the person who wears a size zero, upset a lot of my friends and I just hope one day he’ll be able to look himself in the mirror and realize he has to change the voices in his head. Yes, I’m talking to you Mr Kenneth Tong. FYI: It really annoys me that I have to refer to such an ignoramus as ‘Mr’ but hopefully we’ll get @MrKennethTong silenced on Twitter!

PPS: Check out this amazing blog by my friend Chrisselle (aka @iwrestledahammy)

Size zero must go! http://j.mp/hpEe2o

Something Salty

We just had a lovely dinner and thought I’d rub my happiness in your face. I don’t mean it in a bad way, I’m just really happy!

We made Spaghetti Bolognese together for the first time. You need to realize that we’re both fiercely independent and when it comes to cooking we’re very meticulous. We prefer doing the divide and concur-thing to the point where if his side of the kitchen was on fire, I wouldn’t help him because that’s the way he’d prefer it. The same goes for me, unless of course the other person is holding the fire extinguisher in their hand… it’s not like we’d let each other crash and burn.

I think I’m making this more complicated than it needs to be. Let me try that again: he was doing the meat and sauce side of it and all I had to do was the spaghetti and set the table. When it came to cutting onions he was struggling a bit, which he didn’t expect because he thought that wearing glasses [he’s only had them a week because of the intense amount of hours he has to spend in front of a computer each day] would help. Obviously it doesn’t, unless the glasses are not fitted properly and basically cuts of the air supply through your nose… Most people assume the crying that accompanies cutting onions is caused by your eyes but it’s actually due to the smell. This is also why people advise you to put a spoon in your mouth while cutting unions thereby forcing you to breathe through your mouth instead of your nose.

Usually he’d get upset if I mentioned something like that, simply because he is too hard on himself and hates not being brilliantly perfect every second of every day. We’ve had a few of those moments today and it does go both ways. I like being right but even more than that, I like learning something new. I think it’s a pretty good combination and if our cooking tonight is anything to go by, this might just be a winning recipe.

There were a few more of those silly little things in the 15min it took us to cook dinner including the mixing of an Oxo cube but these are a bit harder to explain so I’ll just skip the logistics and get to the point. It’s like for the first time we weren’t cooking as a team [where everyone has their defined roles and better stick to them] instead it was more like we were cooking together for the first time…

I have to admit that it tasted pretty freaking awesome! I think we managed to surprise not only each other but also ourselves. Spaghetti might just become my new favourite dish! The coolest thing is that we made it together and enjoyed it together. We’re very different people but every day we find something seemingly small that we have in common and somehow that’s a lot more important than all the things we vary in.

By the way, if you ever come over for dinner be prepared for something salty because we can’t seem to get enough of the ingenious white stuff.

Till next time,

AM