Wednesday, December 24, 2008 10:30pm Christmas Eve
I got a lot of things done today, I even did something I usually never do on December 24, which is shop. It all began with me waking up and jumping into my To Do List without remembering tomorrow was Christmas. I had an appointment at 10am in Merritt island and while I was there, I passed a Beall’s Outlet. Beall’s is where I just bought some slacks and blouses, and was surprised to find a particular brand of pants they had in fit me perfectly. I say surprised because I’m tall and long waisted, with a proportionately small waist and round hips, not typical. My whole life I’ve had to alter the waist of my pants, and could never wear something right off the rack. It’s when I began to sew, to make things fit me.
So when I passed the Beall’s Outlet, I went in to see if they had any of the pants in my size and they had 2 pair, so I bought them. I’m real unimaginative in dress. If I find something I like that fits, I buy a few of it. Then if I wear one pair out, I have a spare. I knew there was another Beall’s just south of 520 on AIA so I stopped at that one also. They had another pair of the pants, so I bought them also. I was stoked. In the past 10 days, I’d managed to buy 6 blouses and 6 slacks, and all for under $200, an amount I would have paid for just one outfit in the past.
I laugh as I realize I’ve turned into my mother. My mom prided herself on being frugal, on knowing where the bargains were. She regularly shopped at thrift stores and the like. I thought she’d be proud of me for shopping at Beall’s. And I felt glad that maybe now I wouldn’t have to shop again for a few years.
On the way home I realized it was Christmas Eve so I thought of what things I needed to do before the stores closed. Priority One was to get some more Honey Crisp apples from Karin’s Produce, and I was just in time. They had another hour to go and, upon learning they’d be closed until Monday, I doubled up on the apple count. I love these apples, they are gigantic and juicy and sweet and crisp. I just had my third one of the day.
After picking up apples, yellow onions and fresh ginger, I stopped in at First Wok and got 2 quarts of hot and sour soup. I can think of no Christmas day dinner better than hot and sour soup and fresh apples.
Christmas dinner. Holiday meals have taken on a whole new flavor, so to speak, since I changed my eating habits to keep fats at 50 grams per day. That number is easy to do if you cook without animal products. That number is difficult to track if you eat in restaurants. You can Google your favorite restaurant, like McDonald’s or Applebee’s, with the words “nutritional information” and it will show you the high fat contents. Example: one McDonald’s bacon egg and cheese biscuit is 30 grams of fat. Ouch!
Now, at holidays times, I no longer do the gravies or cornbread or butter sauces for the mashed potatoes, etc. In fact, it’s become much easier to just not make it a special food day anymore. Boy, did it take some programming to get out of that mindset. I basically began thinking of food as fuel rather than as a reward or social tool, and that was a great bridge to de-activating my cravings.
It’s also difficult to not schedule meals with friends, or attend pot luck events. Once I got over feeling tempted, it became no big deal to sit and visit with friends who were eating when I was not. I usually order a pot of hot tea, which gives me something to have in front of me, that way I am less likely to be the topic of conversation 🙂
When others are eating and I am not, I can observe the behavior from a more detached point of view. It makes me aware of how much unconscious eating goes on. The constant input of floury, sugary, salty squares mixed with carbonated sodas, ye gads, no wonder folks have acid reflux and heartburn and gas. They’ve got a literal chemical stew brewing up and they add to it every day.
Think of baking bread: we add the flour and sugar and salt and yeast and after we mix it up, and let it sit an hour, it has doubled in size. It does that inside us also; any time you eat cookies and crackers and chips and stuff like that. Then you’ve got this heavy slow sludge making its way through your system, bubbling and gurgling and fermenting along the way. No wonder you don’t have any energy. All your energy is going toward constantly digesting everything you’re continually putting in your mouth. Your digestive system never gets a rest. It’s working overtime!
And just like any good employee who works long and hard, you should reward your digestive system with time off on occasion. I’ve learned that mine is my best production assistant, so I’m learning to pamper it and treat it well. I take a daily vitamin, with extra B and C during the day, but I like to give my system extra vitamins and roughage in the form of fresh and organic fruits and vegetables every day. I have two chopped salads a day; one of them as a main meal. I eat a lot of watery foods, such as soups, and I eat fresh broccoli and cauliflower 3-4 times a week, lightly steamed and crisp. Crisp apples every day. My digestive system enjoys this because it is like scrubbing out the walls of my intestines, to keep them sparkly and clean and ready to absorb nutrients.
When I fall into my bread eating habits, I can feel my body slow down, my attention wander, I get in that tired but wired state, you know that hamster wheel, we’ve all been on it 🙂
At Thanksgiving, I cooked a small turkey, because it was something I was used to doing and I enjoy fresh turkey. I had fun brining it the day before and all the preparation for it. I liked the smelling of it in the oven and the anticipation of waiting for it to be done. Izzy would follow me from the office to the kitchen, he knew something was up. Then it was done and I ate bits of it off and on during the day and evening and really enjoyed it.
The next morning, I opened my refrigerator door and had a sudden revulsion to the torn and battered carcass before me. Several years ago I had a dream at Thanksgiving that every animal I ever ate was talking to me. Not chastizing me, not blaming me, just sitting with me, communicating with me, one being to another. The day after that Thanksgiving dream, I donated my turkey to my friend Jim across the street. Last month, the day after Thanksgiving, I donated my turkey to my bachelor friend Charlie. I think I may be finally free of the need for holiday cooking and celebration eating. That would be cool! Evolution!