Disordered

First, before I do anything else, I’m going to show how this month’s socks are going, since I couldn’t get it together for my weekly Wednesday update. I totally blame work for this, as the rotations screw with my brain. Robin had to remind me on Thursday night that he wasn’t going to need a drive to work on Friday because that’s the first of his regular days off.  Yes, I forgot what day it was. My life has been reduced to “Am I working, yes/no, and for how many days in a row?”

Sad. But I have knitting, and that helps me stay (somewhat) balanced.

That’s a sock and almost a half. Yes, I switched back to my circulars…I found that with this particular yarn, working with my DPNs  threw off my gauge, and that’s not something I want to have happen with socks meant for someone else.  I have to take into account not only foot length, but also width, and some of the people on my knitting list have thin feet with high arches (yeah, Dad, I’m looking RIGHT at you).

Next up! This was our supper last night:

Meats, cheese, fruit, nuts and a very little bit of decadence

I suspect that the “appropriate” followup sentence after that picture *should* be “and across the country, arteries clanged shut with the thought of that meal”, but I’m one of those blatant rebels who believes the exact opposite, and have for quite a long time.

Yep, I’m finally going to talk about The Fooding.

I have been overweight to obese since I was around six years old. I identify as an “amateur nutritionist” due to the sheer amount of books I’ve read over the years, sometimes from well-meaning relatives and then later due to my own (self) interest. I’ve tried restricting calories, restricting fat, “eating less and moving more”, and weight lifting. One of the first books my grandmother gave me was a diet book by a paediatrician. When I went to college, the cook books that my relatives gave me weren’t “cooking for one” or Joy of Cooking.  They sent me away with Weight Watchers cookbooks (without, of course, the subscription to the program that would explain just why I needed to cook this way, and how much to eat). I read Covert Bailey’s “Fit or Fat” series, and attempted to “Stop the Insanity” with Susan Powter. My weight barely budged.

About six or seven years ago, a friend convinced me to try the Atkins diet.  The Family Doctor she was seeing was in favour of her giving it a try, and she seemed to be having good results. The Husbeast and I decided to give it a shot. I noticed a few things right away…my knees stopped hurting. I stopped having headaches and joint pain, and the weight started to drop. After a brief adjustment period, I found that my skin became smoother and softer, and my face lost some of the blotchy redness that, as a person of Scots-Irish descent, I had become accustomed to. I also found that I could think with more clarity, and wouldn’t “zone out” quite so much.

Now, if all these changes had stuck around, I probably wouldn’t be writing this bit of background. Unfortunately, we moved to a house that was right behind a 7-11. Back to the high-sugar diet!  I also found that other people became very critical of the way I ate, so I felt I had to keep making compromises and adjustments so that they wouldn’t feel uncomfortable. I wound up gaining back everything I lost, and added a bit more. It wasn’t all for naught, though…I learned a lot from the experience.

I find bread addictive. I can’t stop at just one sandwich or just two slices of toast. If there is bread in the house, I will find excuses to eat it. I had to laugh when Maxis built “Grilled Cheese Sims” into Sims 2, because that is an accurate description of me if the ingredients are available. Breads, cereals and other grains also seem to cause me some serious digestive gymnastics that are probably left unmentioned. No, I’ve not been diagnosed Celiac or Gluten sensitive. I don’t need to be diagnosed in order to know that if bread, rice, or pasta makes you hurt, don’t do it! There aren’t any essential vitamins or nutrients in bread and other grainy products that I can’t get elsewhere.  Nowadays, I don’t care what well-meaning agricultural advocates say, Whole Grains are NOT my friend.

I also find sugar addictive, some forms of it more than others. I will binge on chocolate, ice-cream, candies, baked goods, and pop if they are available. I’ve had to start classifying “healthy” processed products such as crisps & crackers, granola bars, yogurt, and juice as “problem” foods. I find it’s a very small step from granola bars to pizza and french fries.

I’ve gone through emotional highs and lows because of this disordered type of eating. I’ve wailed to myself about my “lack of willpower” and inability to say no to a DQ Blizzard. I’ve tried to eat “normal” and wind up feeling sick afterwards. I’ve tried to control my portions, and felt ravenously hungry an hour or two later. I wound up thinking that maybe there was something wrong with me for not being “normal”.

More reading and listening and talking has allowed me to come to the realization that I’m not necessarily abnormal. I’ve come to feel that much of the advice that we are given, plus marketing, has disordered our eating, and if your eating is already disordered, then you slide further down the spiral. I think about my grandparents and what they ate, and because they are no longer with us, what they died of. I think about my parents and the health problems that they are having. One of the benefits of having an interest in family genealogy is that I get to see who dies young and who lives to a ripe old age, and what finally caused someone to kick the bucket.  My grandparents sure didn’t die young, but two had dementia, one died of cancer, and one had a stroke. Up until that generation, the dominant cause of death was natural. There was the odd heart attack, but that was pretty much localized to 2 of my great-grandparents, and at an age that even today most would consider advanced.  I’m sorry, but if I’m having a heart attack in my mid-to-late nineties, it’s probably a quick, easy, and dignified way to go, comparatively speaking. At that point, you can chalk it up to “natural causes”.

The people I’m descended from, who really had a lot going for them, physically (I’ve seen the pictures) consumed butter, eggs, cheese and seasonal fruits and veggies. They ate beef and fish and poultry, and didn’t feel like they were sinning if they looked sideways at a steak. Calcium wasn’t an issue because of fresh leafy greens and a milkman who brought bottles of fresh, whole milk every week. My mother remembers being given cod-liver oil as a kid. My grandmother once told me that the reason she was fat was because she loved to bake, and she loved to eat what she baked.  Considering her cakes, cookies, and pies were something to be proud of, I don’t doubt her. The thing is, she mostly understood what was going on. I say “mostly”, because if you believe all the conspiracy theories that are being floated in regards to the debate between high-carb/low-fat and low-carb/high-fat, then you would likely consider her one of the “first victims” of what is being dubbed the biggest nutritional experiment in history.

So when I look at the foods that we had for dinner last night, I see some nice cheeses, some nice meats, some tasty nuts and yummy berries. Neither of us wanted anything that would sit too heavily on our tummies or heat up the kitchen too much. The meal is a variation on one that we’ve enjoyed at Swann’s Pub down in Inglewood more than once, though the meats we’re using aren’t of the sausage variety, which Swann’s seems to prefer. The brie on crackers with (no sugar added) jam was a bit of a dessert, and luckily didn’t have much impact. We ate until full, and had leftovers. We didn’t feel like snacking afterwards, either. Tonight’s menu looks like it will be roast beef with veggies.

I recommend that anyone who is worried about my heart-health pick up Gary Taubes’s Why We Get Fat and give it a read (it’s shorter than Good Calories, Bad Calories), as well as Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution. You can also check out the Weston A. Price Foundation for more info, and the work of Swedish doctors Annika Dalhqvist and Andreas Eenfeldt and American doctors Mike and MaryDan Eades. There are plenty more resources out there (not to negate anyone’s research), but those are a good place to start. If reading isn’t your bag and you have some time to spend, you can also check out the videos from the Ancestral Health Symposium. I wouldn’t say I’m eating Paleo, but more Low-carb-ancestral/Atkins, and I’m not going to beat myself up for feeling good as a result!

Comments

Disordered — 2 Comments

  1. My general rule is to think about my great-granny, and if she’d recognize what I’m eating as a food. That cuts out most of the really processed stuff. One of my great grannies lived to be over 100 – she lived in Devon, England, her family ran a dairy, and she ate full fat everything! Mmmm, clotted cream.

    They’re not what I’d call diet books, but Michael Pollan’s books really made me think about what I put in my stomach and where food comes from, as did Marion Nestle’s What To Eat.

    • I definitely hear you on the Pollan book.  I read Omnivore’s Dilemma and rather enjoyed it. The advice to eat what your grandparents (or, in our case, great-grandparents) ate is a good one.  I’ll have to track down the Marion Nestle book :)