Why Is Good for Me So Bad?

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A few weeks ago, while my son was skiing his way through Austria and my husband was working so very hard at his new job, I explored some documentaries on Netflix.  It should be noted that I am not usually a documentary junkie, but I had recently watched one about tiny houses because I am intrigued by people who choose to live in a box like that.  As a result of my tiny house-watching, up popped a recommendation to watch “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,” by Joe Cross.  I guess I can see Netflix’s logical connection there . . .  if you get smaller you, too, can live in a tiny house . . .  Well, I was mesmerized as Joe juiced his way across America toward better health.  Wow, he really changed his life by getting all those nutrients in, getting rid of the bad foods and exercising.

Then I watched “Forks over Knives,” in which Drs. Esselstyn and Campbell shared their life-long learning about the benefits of a plant-based, whole foods diet.  Amazing.  The results of their studies and the stories of individuals whose lives were changed or, in some cases, saved were truly inspiring.

Then I watched some vegan woman pluck up a few New Yorkers for a six week trip to vegan-dom in “Vegucated.”  That one was a little over the top for me, but they all seemed to embrace the concept and get rightfully indignant about the way animals are treated, etc., etc.  I guess I could see their point.  And they all got healthier over those six weeks.

So, I was ready.  I announced to my dear one that it was time to take control of our health and follow this whole foods eating thing.  We drank veggie juice and found some things we could eat and it went pretty well for the first couple of weeks.  I really want this to be a lifestyle thing, not a diet.  Right?  I mean, we should all eat more plants.  And processed foods are not great for us.  And animal protein clogs up all those arteries.  I had already reduced dairy a couple of years ago because it didn’t agree with my intestines.  This should be a proverbial piece of cake, right?  Wrong.  This is SO hard.

We are so programmed to design meals around meat that I’m having a heck of a time figuring out how to plan dinner.  While I really like food, I’m not one to enjoy the process of preparing it, unlike my husband who really likes food and loves to prepare it.  He studies Food and Wine magazine, while I peruse Coastal Living, just to put things in perspective.  So, I’m struggling to get the patience to find a recipe and shop for the ingredients and put them together so we can eat them.  It’s also hard because my 16-year-old believes that I have gone ’round the bend, as they say, and will not cooperate with my new menus and so he eats his things and we eat ours.  And then there is my husband, who agrees we should be better about all of this but feels like eating this way is taking away some of life’s joy.

But what really makes this hard is missing my old comfort foods.  I wish I had never experienced the bliss of chocolate cake, perfectly cooked ribs or french fries.  It would make it so much easier to be good!

UPDATE:  I just heard that today is National Dessert Day.  So I will honor it with fond thoughts of chocolate cake.

Photo credit:  Wikipedia, “Chocolate Cake”

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I Think I’m Losing My Mind

My memory has never been very good.  Let me restate:  my memory of names of things and numbers has never been very good.  In sixth grade history, I failed the test on states and capitols.  Just couldn’t make myself remember.

I can remember details about situations and conversations from thirty years ago down to the shoes on my feet, but I can’t remember my neighbor’s names to save my life.  Or the names of places.  Or any sequence of numbers.  Even my past house numbers.  I live in fear of having to fill out some sort of form that requires me to list my addresses for the past 10 years.  Even though I’ve only lived in two places.

Lately, this affliction seems to have worsened.  It used to be that the name/number/whatever would come to me within a few minutes.  Now it’s just lost in the neurons.  I might be able to recall it a few weeks later in different circumstances.  I don’t know if this is something I should be really worried about or if this is just the way my brain works, as if it has decided that these things aren’t worth the effort of remembering and so it just stopped trying.

It isn’t that my neighbors aren’t important to me.  They are.  I want to remember their names.  I want to be able to say, “Hi, Pat!  How is Trevor doing at the University of Pennsylvania”?  Instead I say, “Hi!  How is your son doing at school”?  I can remember what her son’s interests and hobbies are, what he is studying, how many roommates he has, etc.  But the NAMES of things are just gone.

Sometimes I actually catch myself glossing over names when they are presented to me.  And I give my brain a shake and tell it to pay attention. And then I realize that I missed the names of the people I’ve just been introduced to because of the mental tongue lashing I was just giving myself.  Fortunately, my life partner has a fantastic memory for these important details.  As long as he is standing next to me, I’m golden.

I wonder if that brain game would help with this.  If only I could remember the name of that brain game . . . .

Filter? What Filter?

That moment when things go into slow motion and your ears seem full of cotton and you can’t believe that those words are actually going out of your mouth and you wish you could grab them and stuff them back in?  Yeah that.

I don’t blush often, but after one particularly embarrassing blurt I turned deep red as I KEPT ON TALKING just making it worse and worse.  The conversational equivalent of a horror movie — an out-of-body moment screaming at myself, “No, idiot, don’t go there!”

Sometimes the “incident” haunts me for days.  I re-live with horror each millisecond of the exchange leading up to the horrible words’ escape.  I try to imagine how it must have sounded to those around me and think about how I could have stopped it from happening.  As time passes, I may forget what I actually said, but I remember with a sinking stomach just how awful the moment was.

I can’t say how many times this has happened, a lot for sure.  I’m so envious of people who float through life with eloquence and grace.  Discrete.  Thoughtful.  Ugh.  I hoped that as I “matured” I would get this problem under control.  Unfortunately, with age does not come self-control in this particular area, at least not for me.

Maybe my “growth opportunity” is being more understanding when this happens to other people.  I can certainly empathize. And I take solace in knowing that at least one or two other people out there suffer from the same syndrome.  One friend confided that she would have nightmares of her teeth coming out after she had an unfiltered utterance event.  Then again, some people  blather on inappropriately and have absolutely no clue.  They don’t clamber to get those words back.   No pain. No sinking gut.  Maybe that’s better — at least they sleep well.