Most of us don’t really give much thought about the particulars of our food. Oh sure, we might think about food when we feel hunger pangs, or look at the bathroom scale and think about how we need to limit our intake. Even in the act of shopping for food, we may only think of value for the price we spend in these penny pinching times.
We might think about food somewhat philosophically. I became vegetarian in my teen years. This decision was not made because of health concerns, it was because I like animals and don’t wish to harm them. I still feel this way.
Some folks consider their diet mainly from the standpoint of health. They are vegan, or vegetarian, or meat eaters because they believe there are concrete benefits in terms of overall health and longevity from sticking to their particular preferences.
I sometimes take a detour down the path of veganism, temporarily as an experiment when some sort of health problem crops up. But then I drift back to my default mode of lacto-ovo-vegetarian eating. That is vegetarian supplemented with dairy and egg. It’s what works best for me at this stage of my life and where I happen to live. I catch heat from people who eat meat and people who are vegans. I figure I’m taking the middle way and am not being extreme to either extent. People evolved as omnivores.
“People who shop in health food stores never look healthy.”–Amy Sedaris
I took a detour into the health food ideology for a few years. It was an intellectually interesting time in which I learned more about organic foods, supplements and alternate medicine practices. I also learned to become more skeptical because the health food stores seemed more interested in pushing their vitamins, potions, supplements and plans than anything else. Those years of shopping at health food stores were very costly in terms of my budget and possibly my health. Perhaps coincidentally, those were the years when my waistline began to expand and I developed sleep apnea.
I consulted with my physician and spent a night in the local sleep lab. Everyone, including myself, agreed that I needed to lose weight. Where to start? I was already “eating healthy”.
I bought special supplements and minerals. I went through the natural organic cleansing plans. I fasted, went on a macrobiotic diet. Once I became a fruitarian, a person who only eats fruit and drinks fruit juice. None of those lifestyle choices were realistically sustainable. They made me feel worse. I became headachy for the first time in my life, I was always hungry and felt weak. I couldn’t exert myself for long at the gym. I was unhappy with all of it. Yet, I defended my explorations with a sort of political correctness and dogmatism. All that was counterproductive and not conducive to happiness.
I decided to give the health food stores an hiatus. I returned to my lacto-ovo-vegetarian ways, increased my workout days from three days per week to six days per week. People sometimes have fun at my expense over my gut, but I’m OK with it. I feel better than I have since my teenage years.
I’m on the cusp of my sixth decade. So I’m giving some thought to tweaking my diet again. Just a bit. I’m concerned about the hormones that are fed to dairy cattle. The hormones are harmful to both cattle and to the folks who consume the dairy. It would be nice to buy organic milk and cheese on a regular basis, but, like many people, I’m in a budget squeeze.
So to decrease the amount of hormone pollution in my body, I must decrease the amount of dairy intake. This may be a more difficult task than when I gave up cigarettes.
For now, I’ll finish the peanut butter on wheatberry toast sandwich I’ve been eating while writing this.
To your good health.
The Blue Jay of Happiness is an omnivore who lives mainly on seeds, berries and garlic bread.