Food in My World, Part I

1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?” This is the philosophy by which I try to live, and something of which I remind myself when I am overindulging a little bit. Whether you try to live by Scripture or not, it is difficult to argue with the idea of the body being a “temple.” Take care of it, and you will be rewarded with health and longevity. Abuse it, and you will reap sickness and shortened life. Now, I have heard a million stories about people’s uncles who drank a bottle of Jack Daniels and ate a pound of bacon and smoked three packs a day and still managed to live to be a hundred and six years old. There are exceptions to every rule, no doubt. Still, I try to have some virtue to my diet…and I’ve been thinking a lot about the way I eat and why.  I could never fit it all into a post of a reasonable length that anyone would actually read, so it’s going to take a few….so here’s number one.  It’s just a general outline of my “journey,” how I got here.

Over the past six years, I have really tried to hone my philosophy regarding food and eating. It’s changed me a lot in more ways than I ever could have imagined the first time I watched Supersize Me in 2005.  That’s where it all began.  Now, I try to watch documentaries with both sides of the coin in mind, and I completely disagree with “cheeseburger suits” where people sue fast-food companies, blaming them for their own weight and health problems.  We are responsible for ourselves, or if we are parents, we are responsible for our children, at least to the degree that we can exert our will upon them (certainly most teenagers are not under their parents’ dietary control).  But I’m not here to talk about cheeseburger suits; I’m here to talk about me, and how my approach to food has changed over the years.

With Supersize Me, Philip and I really started thinking about how much fast-food we were eating.  At the time, it was a lot, at least compared to how much we eat now…although when compared to the “average American,” it was probably not that much, mostly because even in 2005 I loved to cook and did so most nights of the week.  We could count on two hands the number of times the two of us combined have eaten at McDonald’s in the last six years.  We have other establishments we visit slightly more regularly (Chick-fil-A gets the bulk of our fast-food business, and we still L-O-V-E Krystal) but it’s still a rarity.  Sometimes I feel guilty for heaping the blame on McDonald’s, but it’s kind of hard not to, right?  Anyway, they are all in pursuit of the almighty dollar.  One on hand, who can blame them?  If we want healthy food, local food, good food, we gotta ask for it.  It’s become a lot easier for me to turn down fast-food lately.  All that salt gives me an earache, probably because I’m not used to it anymore.

In 2006, Philip had surgery.  If you’ve ever been put under general anesthesia, you know that they encourage you to drink a ton of water beforehand.  As a little experiment, I decided to match him glass for glass that weekend, and probably drank two hundred ounces of water in a two-day period.  Funny thing was, I could immediately tell a huge difference in the way that I felt, and realized that I had been walking around dehydrated for pretty much my entire life.  Philip had a similar revelation.  Now, we’re both obsessed, and if you come to our house, you should not expect to get offered anything other than water to drink.  Well, we usually have milk or orange juice too…but that’s about it.  It’s all water, all the time.

In 2008, I really got on the workout bandwagon (after buying a treadmill in 2007) and also started really keeping up with everything I ate.  I dropped ten pounds without even really planning to, just by being conscious of what I was putting into my body and how I was burning it off.  I am not workout obsessed, and I don’t count every calorie (I don’t even really keep up with it any more).  My weight fluctuates, but the minute my clothes feel tight, I remember that I need to watch my portions a little more closely and that I can’t eat as much as my husband, who is eight inches taller than I am…and a man.

In 2009…oh, 2009.  First, I got on the coupon craze.  I had been couponing casually for a while, and occasionally would have a super-successful trip to CVS or Bi-lo, but it wasn’t that big of a deal.  Then, I got caught up in it all and created an email address just for coupons and went to three different workshops and pretty much lost my head over it all.  Then, Food, Inc. landed in my mailbox from Netflix and brought my entire food world to a screeching halt.  Now, I’ll say it again: I realize that when you watch a documentary, you have to look at both sides of the coin.  Still, to me, the ideas from Food, Inc. make so much sense.  Our great-grandparents didn’t have all this processed food or fast-food.  Their food wasn’t riddled with chemicals.  Read the side of a cereal box lately?  If you aren’t a scientist you may not recognize half the words.  There’s just something inherently wrong about that, and about the fact that you can buy a 2-liter soda for around $1.00 but you can’t buy broccoli for that price.  That’s called subsidy, my friends.  You’re paying for that soda twice.  But anyway….

I dove into the world of tree-hugging headfirst…and then in 2010 Philip quit his corporate job to pursue his career in music.  I had to really think about my food budget and my purchases, and about leading a balanced life.  He has a non-music job, and I have a good job, and financially we’re fine-in fact, we’re just as fine as we were on April 30, 2010, his last day at Unum…probably because we’ve learned the art of belt-tightening and delayed gratification.  I don’t want to dry up my savings, but I don’t want to eat food that messes with my health (or my conscience!)….and I don’t want to be unbalanced or obsessive.  It’s a delicate process, definitely a learning process, and trust me, I’m still learning….still changing.

Like my food journey, laying it all out here is going to be a process.  Consider this the “abstract” to the article.  I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts….but it may take me a while!

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