Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Step Away From That Pot Roast: Macrobiotic Theory

My last meal was a prosciutto and gouda grilled sandwich on artisan sourdough dipped into creamy tomato basil soup.

I threw it all up about six hours later, but I wasn't sorry. Yet. I threw up all night, and again the next morning, and sat on the couch holding my stomach and crying until my mom loaded me into the car and drove me out into the country to Ginny's house. To this day, I still get a little green when I smell fresh sprigs of thyme.

When I refuse food at dinner, many people tell me that they could "never give up meat or cheese." There seems to be this illusion that I, as one who eats neither meat, nor dairy, am some kind of "healthy person" who doesn't LIKE meat or cheese. This is incorrect. I love meat and cheese. Probably more than they do. Given my way, I'm a pot roast-slamming, fondue-dipping, powdered sugaring maniac who only eats a vegetable if it's been sauteed in day-old bacon fat.

The difference is that at dinner, I made a choice.

Here is a list of things I took for granted:

  • I am a person who gets horrible period cramps every month.
  • I am a person with volatile skin.
  • I get sick all the time, and have to take steroids for my sinuses.
  • I am tired and irritated all the time.
  • I am just not a thin person.

As it turned out, I was choosing these things. Imagine if you knew that if you ate cheese on the first day of your period, you would get horrible, agonizing cramps. You could eat cheese the day before or the day after and it would be no problem, but for that one day, eating cheese would mean cramps.

You'd be crazy to do it, right?

We make that choice every day. Every day that I eat (as I ate this morning) a honey-corn muffin, I am telling myself that in three weeks, life is going to be painful for a day. I earned that. I paid for it. So last month when, after a few days of loose, non-macro eating, I found myself with pretty uncomfortable cramps, I made the choice not to take pain killers.

For one thing, my body is much stronger than it used to be. Now, because I eat so clean, a few days of bad eating will only give me minor cramps for a few hours, as opposed to my pre-macro days of a whole week of agony punctuated by brief periods of advil-induced relief.

The most important reason I mention not taking pain killers is accountability. Not only are pain medications horrible for your liver and kidneys, but I needed to feel the consequences of my eating. This is my body communicating with me, saying "I don't need the food that did this to me."

When we take pain medicine to cover up what our body is telling us, we feel better. For now. But we're delaying a later, much stronger, much angrier response. It's like plugging our ears. You may not get the memo next week, next month, even next year. But eventually, all that symptom-covering will come back, and all the drugs we took to cover it will make this backlash even worse.

So that's the first part. Getting rid of stuff you don't want.

But the best part is when the good stuff gets even better. And that's for tomorrow's post!

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