Friday, August 12, 2011

Things I'm eating

You know, you look at the diet I listed in an earlier post, and it looks "easy" in a way. Until you decide that you are so used to eating a certain way, that you have to revamp your kitchen, revamp your day plan, revamp your work plan, revamp pretty much everything.

If you leave the house for 2 hours or more, you have to bring food. Period.

If you are out of the house all day, you have to bring A LOT of food. Period.

It's not hard, it's just inconvenient. But it's also inconvenient to not fit in your clothes anymore (been there), and to have your heart and lungs taxed from the 2 steps you had to take to step onto the E line street car (seen it), and to walk into a bakery and spend a small fortune on enough vegan cupcakes for ten people, then eat them all before you even get home, then you are so stuffed you feel sick (so... yeah okay I've been there as well).

It is not to say that I still don't have issues with food; I do. I actually believe I have more food issues than many obese people I know. I always have been.

I remember as a kid in elementary school, I loved the school lunch. I was proud of loving the school lunch. Like I am sure it still is, those who buy, look down on those who bring, and vice versa. I looked down at those who brought a plain boring sandwich in a brown paper bag, with a mom-portion of potato chips and an apple. I always loathed the smell of the paper bag, and the plastic baggies that held all the food. To this day, I hate the smell, I can't stand it.

The Lunch Bringers
There were two sub-categories of people who brought their lunches. Subcategory A: The Sissy Rich Snob girls. Their mothers didn't work, and lived for their children. This was the largest of the two subcategories. Subcategory B: The lone Korean girl in my elementary school. Her parents owned a Deli in Jersey City, so she brought enormous, delicious-looking sandwiches with 6 inches of meat, cheese, fresh veggies, on fancy Deli breads. She would have the fancy bags of chips that you only saw at the Cumberland Farms, and of course, a big fancy GLASS BOTTLE of Iced Tea, Snapple, or some other delicious confection-in-a-jar that costs too much for most kids to have in their school lunches.

The Lunch Buyers
This of course included me. Why would I pass up a hot meal of Spaghetti, or Grilled Cheese, or Pizza Day? I loved the canned corn, the canned peas, I loved it all. But most of all, I loved the soup. Whether it was vegetable beef, chicken noodle, mmm....

I would stay and ask for more soup on soup day. Everyone else would go out to recess, and I'd be sitting there in the cafeteria eating 2nds and 3rds of these cups of soup. All the lunch ladies thought it was charming, how I would come back with my empty soup bowl, asking if I could please have some more. The main cook, an old lady of about 65, was so flattered that I loved her soup. They didn't even start charging me extra, until the principal found out, and so they started charging me 20 cents for each additional bowl. No one else left in the cafeteria. Just me, eating more, and more soup.

My life has also always been obsessively motivated by food. One time when my marching band was in Virginia Beach (as we did each year), the rest of my friends went out along the strip with the rest of the band. I opted to stay in the hotel. Why? Because I had discovered a candy machine several floors down, replete with Lance products, something we didn't have up north. Lance cookies, Lance cheese and crackers, Lance brand Ho-Hos. Lance popcorn, Lance Chips. Unbelievable. And I remember surreptitiously taking some dollar bills and going to the front desk to get 10 dollars worth of quarters to use in the old machine that didn't take dollar bills. And I stood there, in that little inlet off of the hallway on the 3rd floor, plugging quarters into this machine for an hour. As soon as whatever came out, came out, I'd eat it right there. I was afraid of taking a large pile of snacks in one handful in the elevator. What if someone saw me? I'd be so embarrassed!

But all I wanted to do, was eat the food from this candy machine. It truly and wholeheartedly washed out anything else I wanted to do. I felt myself physically drawn to do this. I didn't get the chance to eat like this usually, as my parents' house had nothing junky.

I also swore of cereal a dozen years ago. Why? Because the entire box would go down in one swoop. I remember once when I lived in Montana, I bought a super large size box of Lucky Charms, came home, ate it all, then thought it would be a good idea to for a random jog in the neighborhood. Suffice it to say, I barely made it back home in time to visit the bathroom.

Also when I lived in Montana, I'd head home after my post-school workout, stop at Albertson's, pick up a large circular birthday cake, and take it home and eat it. I'd eat a cake. Most of it right there. I didn't cut a piece out. I just took the lid off, sat in the living room, and ate it while I watched the Scott Peterson trial. Just like that. Sitting there with a cake in my lap, a fork, watching Mark Geragos essentially pave the road to Death Row for Scotty Boy.

Before I went vegan, each and every work day was controlled by the candy machine, more specifically, D6, Snickers. Yes, D6. D6 was Snickers, and A10 was the chips, and I'd be at the candy machine at least 5 times a day. I'd start each day promising myself I wouldn't start up with the Snickers bars, but it never worked. Nope. It cost 85 cents, I'd watch the metal coil go round one time, listen to the candy hit the bottom of the machine with a cavernous THUD, and I'd feel guilty. Every time I heard that THUD, I felt like a loser. Because it was out of control.

I compare my food obsessions with those of a recovering addict. They may never go away, but I hope that if I have goals, such as a show, I can stop the obsessive madness that my food-oriented brain makes me do.

Going vegan was a major assist in helping me get control of my food habits. Most of the delicious things out there in the world DO have animal products; pizza ordered at work, the brownies someone brings in to the MSPCA to share, the Godiva chocolate that sits on every counter at Macy's. All of those, dear friends, are off limits when you are vegan. But it's easier, because I know that not using animal products allows me to have a clear mind about not participating in factory farming, which is a whole separate issue that I have no intention of even addressing here on my blog.

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