Or maybe I am. Who knows? I need to drop at least twenty pounds but my body refuses to budge, maybe because those cravings for my old favorite addictions keep coming back, and every once in a great while, I give in. My body is apparently at that age where months can pass by without a morsel of baked goods crossing through my pie hole, and nothing changes. It’s too comfortable with where it is at. It’s as comfortable as a blueberry scone. I ate so many in my younger days that I became what I ate and now my body is half scone, and the scone parts want more scones to mate with. If they took a scan of my body my liver would probably look like a blueberry or apricot scone soaking in a latte bath, my heart the shape of a pancake pumping maple syrup, and if you held a glob of chocolate chip cookie dough to my skin it would absorb it like a sponge, like attracting like.
Luckily such foods make me ill, so they are easier to avoid. These days I try to be gluten free. But most gluten-free foods consist of processed crap so I reject those, too. They have to be natural; they have to be whole, containing all the ingredients Mother Nature gave them. A refined food is an unbalanced food, and people like me act as the canaries in the coal mines, reacting negatively to any processed concoction.
Some – especially the young – may react less negatively, or not at all, and come to the belief that processed foods are fine as long as you don’t overdo it, and for the most part, everything in moderation applies. The body can handle the imbalance, up to a point. But unbalanced foods confuse the body. It isn’t designed to handle them. It wants to know where the other nutrients are, the ones that nature so brilliantly installed so it can process them in a balanced way. Without them, it has to send out couriers and catalysts to deal with the onslaught of these refined, isolated molecules, trying to make adjustments to keep us balanced. The young don’t realize (and neither do a lot of elderly), that eventually the body grows tired and we become what we eat. At a minimum, we’re not as balanced as we could be, and could even be on the edge of becoming ill, with one stressful event or gluttonous bout being that final push over the cliff and into the abyss, where it isn’t easy to come back from. First there’s that cliff to climb, but the pathway up isn’t clear, a journey I’ve known all too well. Knowing this should make avoiding such foods easy, and usually it is, but not always. Those old cravings refuse to die. They’re like a dormant virus waiting for the right conditions (boredom or stress or a celebration), to emerge from whatever crevices they’re hiding in, and the next thing you know they’re crying in your veins like hungry children demanding to be fed, and then a few cookies get slammed with little awareness. It isn’t long before the body wants more; the mind wants that serotonin high, the body keeps asking for the lost balance of nutrients, craving more of what you just ate, and before you know it, you lose focus, you struggle to find the energy you need, the couch calls, maybe your attitude is not what it should be and you become a little miffed at the world and all of its foolishness (the more severely unbalanced sign petitions to secede from the union), your mind never settles down, the volcano of thoughts never end, the days pass by mindlessly, you can’t remember what you ate that morning, a strange ache pops up out of nowhere and screams from a strange place – the middle of your thigh throbs and then the pain subsides as if it never happened, your eyes itch or your sinuses become sensitive – strange little sensations keep popping up, and you never tie all these little aches and pains and itches or skin rashes or whatever else pops up to the fuel feeding your body. It’s just a part of life, you think, a part of aging.
Well, it’s time to wake up and forgo unbalanced foods, because I’m concerned about you…
Okay, so maybe I have a selfish agenda. I wish the food industrial complex would be annihilated and replaced with wholeness, because I’m too lazy to always prepare my meals in a balanced way, and I lack the discipline to consistently, and haughtily, hold my nose to all the unbalanced temptations around me. If the only choice I had was to eat whole foods, I wouldn’t need discipline.
Plus, a gourmet chef I’m not. I consume a lot of green smoothies (berries, nuts and seeds, kale or other greens), most of which are divine, but every once in a while the thought of another smoothie is about as appealing as a bucket of scalding black coffee on a hot humid day, and it’s been years since I enjoyed coffee. So I give into something I shouldn’t, and the cravings cry for more, and wherever I go those old comfort foods pop up from behind their glass cases and wave like little dreamboats for the soul. “Take me,” they cry demurely, “Take me now.”
“Hell, take us all…”
I know what the problem is: it’s my old flabby self, my old identity popping his head up from the shaded hammock – too stuffed with SAD (standard American diet) foods to get up – holding on to a cocktail in an over-sized Tommy Bahama shirt, saying, “Yoo-hoo, I’m over here. Come on back, the cookie dough is…burp…fine.”
“I’m done with you,” I yell back, and turn to walk away, but look over my shoulder when he bellows again.
“Lookie what I have,” he says, stuffing a chocolate chip cookie into his pie hole. “You know you…braaapppp… want some.”
He’s right, of course. Some days, I do want some.
One day at a time, I tell myself, one day at a time…
By the way, Happy Thanksgiving, I’m really looking forward to it, as well as all of the coming holiday feasts and festivities…