Monday, February 25, 2008

The Last Bite

I had reservations about posting this because most of the niche I have carved out here is associated with Raw Food nutrition. And I was frightened (big surprise) about how I would appear if I actually put this out there… but I am always afraid of actually saying what it is that I am experiencing for fear of judgment, and this needs to stop, so my apologies if this dismantles anyone’s idea about me but the following is pure and sincere, and so must out. And thus...

I have become very annoyed by seeing that every cookbook on health begins with Hippocrates. “Let Food Be thy Medicine and Medicine, Thy Food…” It always appears somewhere, usually in the first twenty pages, if it wasn’t the opening quote. This concept attributed to Hippocrates, was what drew me into food and nutrition long before I knew who spoke the words. This goes to show how true and natural concepts become pervasive, especially when one is looking for it. And I know that this is a truth. That food heals. But so do our thoughts… and it has gotten to the point that no matter what I put into my mouth, I am in judgment about it. I rationalize, polarize, and vacillate into extremes out of the need to control something! Let me have control over one tiny part of something… let me get out of this fear that unravels and twitters behind every thought, every action: nothing is sincere anymore, or at least, sometimes, it feels this way.

Food has become so many things for so many people. It is not merely what provides sustenance, for many it is comfort, love, acceptance, a drug, an obsession, another means of control, another way to abstain from any sense of being, a numbing shot against pain or grief, pornographic gastronomy.

There it was, on the top of page 30 in Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions: my ultimate issue.

“The desire to abstain from animal products, found so often in those of a spiritual nature, may reflect a longing to return to a former, more perfect state of consciousness that was ours before our souls took embodiment in a physical material plane […].”

I find myself in this struggle of what I relate to in my spiritual sense and my fear and buffering against the joy and the sorrow of the physical body. The compassion for all living creatures, the love in their eyes and innocence, mixed with my craving for animal protein. Most of the time, meat tastes dead to me. But then I can remember a bacon-wrapped date that dissolved in my mouth with such exquisite sweetness, such tender, melt in your mouth, salty, crispy sublimity, it had a density which made the tongue giggle all on its own. And I don't even like pork. But there was such attention put into that meal, that night, in Marin County, under palm trees and lanterns, sharing wine amongst friends.

It’s not that I think raw food is not of benefit to my body, but I have developed so many food-rules for myself, that I feel like I am just using raw as one more way to control what goes in my mouth. I have a very bizarre eating disorder. I’m not bulimic, although I have made myself throw up …more in the last 2 years than ever in my adolescence. But I definitely have a binge-purge pattern going on, especially when I look at my food journal. I didn’t think I starved myself… but some days, I eat hardly anything at all… and wonder why I am so maniacally famished into downing too much pasta or potatoes the next: my body is screaming for quick glucose. I am realizing that I have royally screwed up my relationship with my body. I stopped seeing it as sacred: it was the enemy.

Whenever it comes to food, thoughts about said bacon-wrapped bounty are always essential (in what way, who knows?) … But I think it is also what thoughts and intentions I use in preparation. One of spiritual my teachers, a small Indian man with a gravelly voice would stand over his pot of rice or sautéing ginger garlic onions, and say: “You are so beautiful. You are the most wonderful onions. Look at you, look at how beautiful you are.” The tomatoes blushed in response. The same man also said that whenever you truly enjoy something… not out of craving-aversion-lust-compulsion: but genuinely enjoy – it all turns to soma. And no matter how healthy something else is, if your body is in judgment or in fear-hate-compulsion about it, it becomes ama … undigested matter = dis-ease.

Somewhere between nineteen and twenty-six years old, I had developed a love-hate relationship with food. A need to stuff myself with the most sublime things, coupled at other moments with anything that would do to make me numb, send me into a carbohydrate induced coma, just anything to not feel. Now, to be clear, this was not fast food or ice cream. I was a health foodie, all-organic everything. Whole grain, (spelt, buckwheat, barley, brown rice, quinoa) what’s-it and every manner of vegetable. I had an adventurous palate, within reason (no chicken feet stew or sweetbreads has made it past my lips, and I’m pretty sure that won’t change). But then again, organic pasta was always enough to send me down that dark spiral, where the fog rolls in on the east coast of consciousness and nothing but the blur and heft of fullness can be felt. Here, I didn’t have to think about school or sex or the unfairness I always associated with be female, I could just disconnect from any sub-sensual method of being alive and slip away into a useless stupor; a drug just as powerful as anything you could inject into the bloodstream, by needle, and almost as fast. I was addicted to not feeling. But like any addiction, it never really makes you feel good for very long, and when the fog cleared, the sun always rises the next morning and the pain (which I had pushed so deeply into my sinews, my feminine parts, places I knew that at least, I would never look, into cavernous brokenhearted hotels, muscles, curvaceous fatty deposits that I had never had before) was still there. I am a self-admitted food snob Spiritual egoist, South beach (tried it), Zone (tried it), Macrobiotics (tried it), Ayuveda, Vegetarian, Vegan(tried it), Raw food(tried it): glutton(tired of it). And am so sick of all the labels.

Someone recently asked me, have I ever tried just letting my body have whatever it actually wants? No judgments no second-guessing and after really thinking about it… no I haven’t. I have never actually let my body, not my neuroses, pre-programmed food-abridged rule induced conceptualized intellectualized rationalization, make a single decision in my life. I am beginning to suspect (har) that my issues with food will not go away with being thin or healthy, because they are 100% of the mind.

M has been on this wonderful kick of picking “intention” cards for the week – one of these for me was : I Love My Body.

…maybe I should just try that for awhile. And talking to my mom, she says: wow. I think you think too much. And she says, whenever I start to think too much, I should just breathe. Whenever you see yourself spiral into old thoughts, trying to find someplace in the head where its safe... just breathe. Ok. I will. I'll breathe. Love and Breathe.


Neeta said...

Lindsay, thanks a million for sharing this wisdom-pearls-filled post......
One thing being on Green juices for weeks and weeks has taught me - is to not even take the Green juices themselves too seriously :-)
Lots of love
xxx Neeta

Anonymous said...

I relate to the "think too much" comment. I believe I will have to remind myself to BREATHE too. (How sad is that!)