I don’t think I completely understand the way my body reacts to food. Case in point: I have been out of produce since the beginning of the week. A lot of nonsense happened this week (see dryer debacle from yesterday’s post. Incidentally, the repair man looked at it and shook his head and said “huh”. That’s reassuring) and we haven’t been able to get to the store. For the past few days I have been eating what we have left in the house, mostly wheat bread, pretzels and natural peanut butter. The last two days I have had a very heavy head. I really don’t know a better way to describe this feeling. I have also had trouble thinking. Does anyone know what causes this? Am I not getting enough protein or something? This is why I have been trying to absorb any information I can-I want to understand what certain foods do to my body and how I can make sure I get everything I need. I would appreciate any guidance.
This past Sunday we celebrated my father-in-law’s birthday. I had already eaten poorly at the lock-in so I wanted to be healthy the rest of the weekend. Then Nikki told me we were supposed to have steaks. A preemptive strike was in order. “Call her and tell her I don’t want a steak,” I said holding back tears, “I don’t want her to prepare one and I not eat it, so just ask her not to.” But, my mother-in-law didn’t understand. Their phone conversation went on a lot longer than needed.
When we got to the in-laws there were steaks laid out for me. Both were bigger than my head. “Are you sure you don’t want one?” my mother-in-law asked with a sigh. I assured I didn’t and that I would just eat the vegetables. The vegetables in this case were baked potatoes that had been grilled while wrapped in aluminum foil with probably half a stick of butter. She gave me two. The same thing happened when I told the ladies at church (that cook every Wednesday) that I didn’t want any meat, just vegetables, they gave me two helpings of everything. They also tried to give me cornbread and a roll. I did turn down the roll, but you should have seen their faces! I would compare them to a deer that has just been shot with an arrow. Confused and jumpy.
When we left later that night my mother-in-law painfully said “I’m sorry you didn’t get enough to eat.” She was sincere. I truly felt bad that I didn’t eat the steak. I wanted her to be happy because I knew that she prepared this food lovingly. There is something in our culture, something ingrained, which makes us want to please others with food. It is a way to create and immediately see others enjoy your creation. If someone denies your creation or says it isn’t good enough, it hurts. On the flip side, it also hurts when your heart explodes.
I don’t mean to be flippant, but why do we feed such hurtful food to those we love? Someone much smarter than me (a father or a brother) once told me that it might be held over from the agricultural society we used to know. People would eat these fattening meals, then go out in the field and work all day. As machines were invented to do the hard labor, people still ate the fattening meals. They were getting no exercise and the fat made itself at home lining their abdomen.
Another reason may be that the bad, processed food is cheap. I wish I could show you all that I had a similar thought process, but it really isn’t more expensive to eat better. I had an initial sticker shock but once I sucked it up and bought the groceries I may have spent five more dollars. This should really be a non issue. I am also going to post very soon how you can make delicious vegetable dishes (I hope, since I have yet to try this method) without any butter, ham hock, or condensed soup. The power of steam! Not just for locomotives!
Andie, a very wise reader, had this to say in the comments on Monday’s post: “Some people, however, are incredibly uncomfortable drinking when I’m having just sparkling water, which makes me feel badly for them, but not enough that I’ll put them at ease by compromising my own decision and health.” This really resonated with me, because I am not really doing anything wrong by trying to eat healthier for the people I love. Just like so many people aren’t doing anything wrong by trying to show love through cooking for the people they love. We should just sit down and discuss how I know you love me even though I don’t want your food. I also will explain how you can know I love you even though I don’t want to eat my weight in mashed potatoes.
No, we don’t need to discuss it over a plate of biscuits.