Tuesday, July 6, 2010

feeling nourished and thoughts thereon

So I’d had a headache for four days. I can never sleep before starting a new job, and various stressors/fireworks kept me from having great nights of sleep Saturday or Sunday either. And I just felt draaaaaaaaaained. Embarrassingly so.

Buttttttttt I woke up this morning and felt BRIGHT EYED and BUSHY TAILED and I need to document it in writing, and put it out into the universe, how ludicrously grateful I am for my generally excellent health. We need to remember to appreciate our bodies for everything that they do!

So today I fed my body with a rockin’ workout (which conveniently doubles, at least for me, as what sure feels like a whoppin’ dose of Prozac) and I fed it quality eats. I have to think of my own meals the way I think about the things I cook for others- as nourishment.

Sometimes I forget how much I love yogurt bowls and then I make one and go “OH MY GOD I LOVE THESE”. 

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This is the classic: plain yogurt (bonus points for me- LOCAL!), banana, square-ish cereal (either Shredded Wheat, which is healthier and more natural, or Life, which is crack to me), chopped or slivered almonds, and a drizzling of Trader Joe’s cranapple butter *shiver with delight*.

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Another great love of mine, which takes me back to my college days of eating lunch in a rush:

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Hummus and avocado. Match made in heaven. In a wrap, on toast, on crackers, on an English muffin… doesn’t matter. It’s amaze.

This yogurt was on sale so I wanted to see how it compared to my beloved Yoplait apple pie, and it wasn’t bad! A little waterier, but also applier.   

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And a buncha fruit (just assume, with everything I’ve been posting lately, that any given meal is preceded by and followed with a massive serving of fruit). Including but not limited to:

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Jumbo huge Bing cherries! So delish.

As this is a briefer post, I thought I’d wrap it up with some thoughts on In Defense of Food, which has been out for ages but for the first time since publication was not on hold by someone at my public library.

While I loved what Pollan had to say about edible food-like products, anyone who reads my blog knows it’s rare that I’ll purchase fiber and protein fortified probiotic partially hydrogenated soybean corn bars.

More interestingly for me and the blogettes out there, I think the “nutritionism” Pollan mentions manifests itself in a fascinating way where Michael Pollan, as a middle aged man, reasonably enough probably doesn’t travel all that often. I’m thinking of publications like Health and Self: womens magazines that know that they have to frame themselves as about self-esteem, fitness, and good eating habits. In the end, though, don’t they, too, mostly speak in a vocabulary of calories instead of nourishment? I think about articles on “navigating a holiday party” or “use protein to feel full” and I think, good grief, this magazine should be called “Tips for Eating as Little as Possible”.

I think, too, that while men certainly face pressures to look good, a woman can never really be considered a success, no matter her professional and personal accomplishments, if she is seen as not in control of her body. David Sedaris, one of my favorite authors, reflects on this very accurately (and hilariously):

“My father has always placed a great deal of importance on his daughters' physical beauty. It is, to him, their greatest asset, and he monitors their appearance with an almost freakish intensity. Because it was always assumed that we would go to college, my brother and I were free to grow as plump and ugly as we liked. Men didn't need to improve themselves through marriage. They had other options. Our bodies were viewed as vehicles--pasty, potbellied machines operated by what science has revealed to be the tiniest of raisin-sized brains. I could wander freely through the house, drinking pancake batter from a plastic bucket, but the moment one of my sisters overspilled her bikini, my father was right there to mix his metaphors. ‘Jesus, Flossie, what are we running here, a dairy farm? Look at you; you're the size of a tank. Two more pounds and you won't be able to cross state lines without a trucking license.’"

This blog will never be terribly confessional (that’s what my real journal is for!) but I will say that, like probably most women in the developed world, I have not been immune to the barrage of skinny-obsessiveness and “health” pseudo-science from the media and people around me. I want to be an accomplished person, ergo I want to be thin.

I will also say that, as maybe some of you who’ve read my blog from the very beginning know, I am… smaller than I once was. In part due to hormones, in part due to no longer having to eat dining hall food thank GOD, and in part due to, honestly, a long period of my life when I accustomed myself to being far more obsessive and far hungrier than I care to be.

So along with In Defense of Food’s now-classic “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”, I’d like to add a complementary statement: “View food as nourishment.”

8 comments:

Natalie @ cinnamonbums said...

lele, i loved this post, and i could relate to you on so many levels. i especially enjoyed that david sedaris excerpt (i went to his book reading last summer in new york and he is JUST as funny, if not funnier, in person), and i really loved your own personal thoughts/reflections as well. there is no doubt that i have been influenced so much by societal/media images of what is considered beautiful, what is considered being in control of my body, but i am slowly learning - slowly being the right word - about what striving for health looks like, rather than what society deems "beautiful." i think we should each be able to define "beautiful" on my own terms!

Kelsey said...

i love that u mentioned the difference in role and importance of man vs women. thats a really key issue and point u brought up!

and in terms of summing up nutrition "eating for nourishment" is really the best advice! we all know what is healthy for us whether we choose to practice that or not.

such a brilliant post! <3

Katie @ Health for the Whole Self said...

Really enjoyed this post! I agree with you - viewing food as nourishment is important because it helps take out a lot of the emotional stuff that food is often associated with for many of us.

Tamara Marnell said...

I can't stand Pollan's writing ("It's the government's fault! It's the scientists' fault!"), but you can't argue with his message.

Sometimes when I'm in a funk my sweetie asks why I think so much about it; there's no reason for me to worry about my looks because I already have him, right? If only. Though we aren't as bad as some other cultures in the world, American women still need to be attractive to get some basic respect in public and the workplace. When I'm filthy stinking rich, I tell myself, I can eat all the brownies I want.

Megan D said...

How have I never had an avocado and hummus sandwich?! This needs to be fixed asap. Possible for lunch today. :)
And I agree with the food as nourishment thing. It is soo easy to get distracted from that principle though isn't it?!

易青易青 said...
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MelindaRD said...

Glad you are feeling better. I am finally getting back to normal around here and I know it feels nice to actually feel good when it is time to get started with a task.

Joanne said...

You say it girl! I've thought a lot about food and my relationship with it lately. And I can honestly say that I do not know a single girl who has a perfectly healthy relationship either with food or her body. I really believe that we are all eating disordered in some way. I definitely still have disordered thoughts from time to time but rather than thinking about calories, I do think about nutrition more and more. If something has no nutritional value, I just don't feel inclined to eat it!

Loved this post.