I recently renewed my membership to the city library. I am stoked about this because now I can read all those books I've been wanting to read without the investment of actually purchasing them. Because right now I have more important things to spend money on. How is that possible you ask? Let's just say I'm choosing between underwear and books. You can only choose books so many times before things get desperate. With this next paycheck I should be okay to buy things I am actually needing: supportive shoes for work, underwear, and shirts to replace the ones I just bought that now have holes in them. Thanks, cats.
Holy tangent, batman.
Anyway, one of the first books I took out was Grain Brain. I have my own personal opinions about the gluten-free movement, but I also have many friends who are diagnosed with either Celiac disease or gluten intolerance and this book came recommended. As I like knowing what the fuss is about, I decided to read it. I'm about a third of the way through it and I've already wanted to throw it across the room a half dozen times. I hate leaving a book unfinished, but I think this is one I may have to walk away from.
The ironic thing is, I don't necessarily disagree with what he is saying. We absolutely have an over-reliance on highly processed, barely "food" breads, crackers, and grain-based products in our society. We strip away everything healthy and then chemically put it back together, along with a ton of preservatives and stabilizers and call it edible. I also believe that this can negatively affect people both physically, mentally, and emotionally.
The thing is, we don't just do this with grains. We do it with everything. We live in a highly packaged, highly processed society. Where everything we consume (not just food) has to come in pretty, eye catching packages that tantalize and scintillate.
Which brings me to the movie I watched yesterday after I got sick of the book. Forks Over Knives is based on the book by the same name (which I'm pretty sure I read years ago, although I don't have it in my personal library). The movie is a big proponent of plant-based eating in order to reverse any number of heart, cholesterol and obesity-based issues.
At the base of the recommendations are whole foods, minimally processed, and little to no animal products. Which makes complete sense (unless you are the author of the aforementioned book, where he agrees with the first two and goes to the other extreme with the last). Whichever side of the animal line you come down on, virtually everyone agrees on "the closer to the original the better".
Which is where I start to have problems.
The thing is, both of these dietary recommendations require that you have a certain amount of obsession over them. Eating this way is not easy in our society. It takes planning, dedication, a large time commitment, and let's face it, financial means. For someone like me, who takes planning, dedication, and adds "perfectionist" onto it, it becomes something else. I won't say I had Orthorexia, but I could tick off a lot of those "signs you may have" boxes. Which is scary in and of itself.
So I struggle. I struggle with my morals, my opinions, with the gross amount of over-information and half truths as to what constitutes healthy, and moreover I struggle with what is realistic and how that does not reflect what most "experts" consider best practices.
Do what is best for me. Don't be so hard on yourself. Good advice and I am getting better at taking it. But I have days when it is very hard. Where I feel judged for my choices, even though that judgy voice is in my head. Did I really need that pepperoni on my pizza? You know, you could have gotten the hummus sandwich, not the turkey.
Want versus Need versus Should. I think all of us have some version of this conversation running through our psyche. Mine just happens to be about food.
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