Eat Food.

Giving the world what it needs. Another blog.

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Sad Food

(If you listen closely, you can hear me sobbing in between munching my Romaine.)

It’s a funny quote, but it’s absolutely true.  Diets make you sad. Diets are restricting.  No one likes being restricted, especially when leaving behind habits of drinking the whole 20 oz. of soda (servings per container 2.5? I DON’T THINK SO), the joy of a morning pastry, and i’ll-just-have-another-slice-ism.   And I hear metabolically, the body’s not a fan of restriction either.

And I happened upon this enlightening gem of a blog yesterday: Sad Desk Lunches.

Click.  Peruse.  Weep.  These are the everyday lunches of people in real-life jobs.  This is what your culinary future looks like, if it’s not already the present.  The title nails it: these lunches are just sad.  Messy leftover food served in nasty looking tupperware on a backdrop of that sterile laboratory/office white.  The tupperware alone makes my stomach turn as it reminds me of all those damn sandwiches with white bread and room-temp lunch meat I had to eat in grade school in a cafeteria that inexplicably retained the smells of seventy years’ worth of room-temperature lunch ham.

But notice that I didn’t describe the actual food in these pictures: just its presentation.  That could be gourmet food in that container, or under that saran wrap that looks reused, but just the sight of it is enough to make me stomp outside to practice my right to fast food and soda.  Even knowing how horrible fast food is, even knowing I’ve got close to no money to spend on unnecessary food, I’ve got enough for that meal.  Why?  Because I paid my dues in grade school and high school.  I brown bagged it for years.  But now that I’m an adult I want to have grown-up-style lunches and have my drink come in a disposable cup, dammit!

Why, you might ask?  Who cares about the aesthetics of what you eat?  Well, let me explain, in between wondering whether you’re a contentious Puritan, extremely disciplined, or a robot.  I, and I’m pretty sure a lot of other people, like treats.  And as far as I’m concerned, in my childhood, going out to get food, or food on the road, was a treat.  Brown bagging it had no enjoyment to it; it was duty, it was business as usual, and unlike the tasty fast food, it tasted pretty bad.  Now that I’m a big girl, it’s pretty inevitable that those same opportunities for a treat will be a very short distance away at lunchtime o’clock.  There’s plenty of other excuses: don’t have time to make your own lunch/dinner, don’t have space to bring it with you, etc.  But for me, at least, it really just boils down to perpetually giving in to the little treat that, eventually, you look forward to to get you through the day.  Like some other people with their daily lattes, just zoomed out to a full meal.  But my problem with trying to be better nutritionally and financially is that it just looks so…well, sad that it only further pushes me towards the nearest burger place.

Not to mention homemade, brown bagged lunches often face such prohibitive restrictions for preparing them that they’re rendered categorically awful.  A separated smoothie made at 7 am, soggy vegetables, peanut butter where the color’s changed due to air exposure, white bread that tastes like plastic after it’s been in its ziplock or saran wrap envelope for a few hours. And all of it room temperature or kinda cold if you have a fridge around.  What I feel is needed is a distinct category of recipes that thrive in those limited workroom, brown-bagged conditions.  That are in fact best enjoyed in those conditions.  Like a houseplant that thrives with only a little light, whereas other plants might make it but are better suited to full sun: why would we put the plant in weak, restricted light if it’s better in full sun?  We’d move the plant to where it gets more sun because it’s better that way.  Likewise if the recipe is better cold, or just made, it’ll just be sad as a brown bag item, and boom: we’re back where we started.

Let the quest begin.


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Oh…hey. Didn’t see you there.

I’ll be kind to myself and simply say that I haven’t kept up on my promise at all.  Like, at all.  Despite a week-long (and successful) stint trying out the Paleo diet, I’m still a regular at Wawa and two nights ago my dinner included some handfuls of Cocoa Puffs my brother’s family left here.

It happens,.  Put it on my tab of failing to follow through on an endeavor.  But I’m discovering slowly that I’m not invincible.  My body, I’m slowly coming to acknowledge, doesn’t spin gold from the nutritional straw I’ve been feeding it nonstop.  My hips hurt sometimes, my knees hurt sometimes, my back aches.  Wrinkles are starting around my eyes.  My midsection is inflating again like what it did in college (a dark age for me as far as nutrition is concerned). I can’t drink caffeine like it’s water with no effect anymore.  My heart races a lot now: caffeine, short bursts of activity like climbing stairs.  Things that shouldn’t make a 25-year-old’s heart rate increase.

But as I write this, I’m sitting in work with a bad hangover.  Nothing to make me renounce drinking forever and ever, but hitting on a buddy I was hanging out with for the first time and kiiind of accidentally breaking whatever glass decoration was in his bathroom is enough to make me wince.  Anything to land me on an MTV show?  Nope.  But I’m tired of continually waking up after a night out thinking ’aw crap.’

That’s the social aspect.  Let’s get to the lovely parting gift all that drinking left me: a headache, shaky hands, racing heart, a stomach that’s alternately starving and ready to vomit at the sight of food, and pissed-off intestines.  I also reek of cigarette smoke and…I’m not sure what else?

(Me going to the bar, in a nutshell)

(and this one just makes me laugh)

So.  All that to say it does help hammer home, or at least offer a helpful nudge, that it’d be better to take health seriously sooner rather than later, because my previously invincible body had the nerve to grow into an adult one which requires care and doesn’t hide shameless neglect wear and tear the way it did in years past. I’m also sick of feeling physically older than I am.  Tight hips and all that at 25 years old.  Nonsense!  I hate seeing some elderly customers come in to the store who are wobbly, shaky, stiff.  Or so many overweight individuals of all ages.  I hate it and the thought of ending up there worries me, but I can’t seem to do anything different to jump the track that I’m pretty sure leads straight to those results.

Oh sure, I can yell at myself to go running, deride myself if I eat ice cream rather than an apple, and all that.  I could be a great personal bully to myself.  While that has a long track record of being a successful tactic for myself and other people, I’m going to flagrantly oppose tradition and try to find a way that’s a touch less guaranteed to fail.  Only problem is that I have no clue what that actually is.  I imagine I’ll be doing a lot of Pinterest research.  And patience, I suppose.  Tiny problem with attaining patience, though, is you have to have to be patient to achieve it.  Of course such is the case with all the virtues.

Well dear thousands upon thousands of readers, I’m off to buy a replacement knickknack for whatever the hell I broke in that bathroom, and will hopefully be checking in sooner than four months from now.  Adios!

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Starting Out

Today more or less marks the start of this “only real food” endeavor.  And to be honest, I feel awful.  After barely making it out of bed following an hours-long junk food binge, I started falling asleep, ended up napping for two hours, and can barely concentrate or get myself to do anything. Sigh. Here’s hoping it’s a bit better soon.