Monday, July 30, 2007


Right now a burly man named Dearl (the self-control it took to resist asking him whether it was pronounced "Darryl" or "Pearl with a d" was monumental, I assure you) is ruining my privacy fence by hammering a large satellite disk into the wood, and I must admit I couldn't be more thrilled. I really thought I wouldn't mind only having five and a half semi-watchable television channels for the rest of my life, but when I realized that the reception was getting increasingly poor (interestingly, whenever there's a full moon it's the worst) and that my little streaming Internet TV resource wasn't quite as reliable with getting the shows up as it used to be I succumbed to my dark fantasies of spending Sunday afternoons catching up on all the shows I DVR'd over the course of the week and making sure that every single word uttered by the ridiculous Jonathan Antin was captured for my amusement for the rest of my life.

So I signed my life away to Dish TV and now for the value price of fifty-something dollars a month, I, too, can complain every week that there is absolutely nothing of value to watch on my 200 channels+HBO like a good, honest American ought to. I am so beyond stoked, and as soon as Dearl comes into the house and finishes hooking everything up I'm going to tip him twenty bucks to sit on my couch and eat popcorn and watch the last five minutes of The View with me in HDTV (every wrinkle on Barbara's face!) and let me call him anything other than Dearl and then promise to never, ever speak of it again.

And then the other, equally embarrassing in a different way update for today is that it appears I'm going to have to become quasi-vegan again, and this time for legitimate purposes.

A few years ago, I was really sick for several months whenever I ate red meat. As in, my husband and I would go for lunch at a restaurant and I'd chance a bite of his hamburger just for a taste and then three hours later I'd be crumpled on the floor of my bathroom with tremendous stomach pains and nowhere for the food to go but...out. (Sorry) Doctors thought the enzyme required to digest beef had somehow gone missing because I wasn't really eating a lot of meat at that point, and that basically if I endured the nastiness of reacquiring the enzyme I'd be fine. And I was, and it was all good. But then this last year I started having the same symptoms again, even though I had been eating red meat with abandon and there was no reason for it at all. So I just decided to give up on meat in general, especially after watching Fast Food Nation at home, alone, with half of a Quarter Pounder chewed up and sitting in my mouth because I was afraid to swallow what I had just seen being slaughtered on the TV screen in front of me.

So yeah, I buy into the big, crunchy, vegetarian philosophy of not putting rotting flesh into my body anymore and I feel all the better for it. It was an easy switch to make because I'm an odd soul who really likes the taste of tofu and soy meat, and I only very rarely feel like I'm missing out on food except when I pass buy a BBQ restaurant or have to hang around a bonfire with a Boca hot dog kind of flopping on my stick while everyone else proudly brandishes their plumping, juicy weiners (snicker) around the fire.

And so while the meat intolerance issues are really no big thang for me, finding out that I'm lactose, or at least cheese, intolerant kind of is. I arrived at this through a series of incidents over the last month or two where eating anything involving lots and lots of dairy (ice cream, pizza, nachos...sob) would cause my body to say, "Bitch, please" and then I'd end up spooning the toilet for a few hours just like I did with the meat. So, while I'm praying to whoever's listening at this point that I don't become completely environmentally allergic and end up living on a sustainable commune and trading my organic beets for undyed cotton muumuus with my Old Order Mennonite neighbors like the lady in My Life Among the Amish did (actually a really cool book that inexplicably found our way to my house when I was a teenager) I've realized I need to make some major changes in the way I eat so my body doesn't feel quite so ravaged by its own distaste for really satisfying junk food.

And it's funny, because while the meat thing never fazed me once, when I first attempted to reconcile myself with the reality of possibly not having cheese again, I almost started crying. My darling grandma once told me that back in the 50's her doctor told her she needed to lose her baby weight, and that the best way to do it would be to walk around the block a few times each day and avoid lots of butter and sugar. So, being the diligent woman she was, she dutifully made her constitutional around her neighborhood block 8 times each day and cut the fat out of her diet. She told me, though, that she didn't know that corn on the cob--her favorite food ever--could be eaten without butter and salt, and so when she served it to her family she had to leave the house and go sit on the back porch and cry because she missed it so much. And while it always makes me laugh to think about that sort of naivete, I completely sympathize because the idea of living in a world without cheese and ice cream was just devastating to me for the first few days I thought about it. I'd look at a veggie burger and think I'm missing out when I avoided the obligatory slice of Muenster or Cheddar. I grumpily sat through veggie fajitas at a Mexican restaurant with friends because I couldn't pile on the sour cream or dip my chips in the heavenly spinach queso they serve there. I started envisioning my post-dinner evenings as bleak, endless torture sessions where my nighttime TV rituals were turned into stoic meditations because I couldn't have my dish of ice cream with my hour-long dramedies. And I went on and on feeling totally conflicted and wrecked and sad about this lactose thing until I finally had enough cheese incidents that even the idea of having my stomach revolt so violently makes me want to avert my gaze whenever I see a cow.

But, like, isn't it funny how we have emotional attachments to the foods we eat? How, in some cases, the presence of the perfect birthday cake or the pile of cheese fries at Happy Hour can be more important to a special occasion than the things we do or the people we experience it with? I mean, what are we really missing out on when we give up foods that don't treat our body right? Because, honestly, if I hadn't had the physiological motivation to say goodbye to cheese,I probably would still be piling it on everything I made and wondering why the fat content of my food was so high. I honestly believe, as silly as it sounds, that I am addicted to cheese and ice cream and stuff like that. I miss the way it tastes, the way it makes food more interesting, the way it pulls apart from a pizza and stretches all the way from the plate to your's every bit as insidious as drugs or porn or things like that. And all just because some silly animal byproduct makes me feel soooo good. Food really shouldn't have the power to do that.

A lot of people have suggested getting those Lactaid tabs and dealing with it in that way, but I sort of don't want to. My body is telling me that this food isn't going to be tolerated any longer, and I want to use it as a reason to make another step away from eating shit and embracing a lifestyle that includes more vegetables, more wholesome foods, less fat and oils and stomach pillaging. I don't know a great deal about listening to your body or intuitive eating, but I figure if in its natural state, my body is saying in its John Turturro voice, "DO NOT SEEK THE CHEDDAR" I should probably heed the warning and not try to circumvent it with more chemicals.

And I really think if I'm moving this far towards veganism on the food spectrum, it also gives me license to stop shaving my legs or wear makeup. Or at least, you know, have a token Phish song on my iPod or something.

Let your freak flag fly, comrades.


*ccc* said...

I have to admit, the thought of a life without dairy terrifies me...however, your attitude, your mindset are inspiring.

And you are right--when our bodies tell us "NO!" we need to listen. I hope that very, very soon, I have a horrible reaction to a Big Mac and I never crave one again....

Dare to dream

Lori said...

Oh, my, god. The prospect of a cheeseless life is one where the sun doesn't shine, etc. etc.

OTOH, I have noticed that I have steadily decreased my dependence on cheese/dairy products a bit. I'm just sorry it's a physiological problem for you.

I've often thought maybe it would be a good thing for me to work in a cheesery but the truth is, I'd probably be found after hours doing Bad Things.

Enjoy the DirecTV! You'll love it!

MM said...

Ya, I am not allowed to eat sugar - in any form - (so, basically NO carbs) due to medical reasons - for the rest of my life.

I was in a very, very bad mood for quite some time. But, after I got it out of my system - it's become a little easier as I go.

I hope you find the same true for you.

Anonymous said...

Go to a Target or Wal Mart or drug store and purchase Lactaid. Then you can comfortably eat dairy once again. It works.

A Happy Wife said...

I kind of wish my body would refuse to digest meat or diary, better yet both. I think that's the only way I'll ever be able to give up either.:)

Seriously, I'd love to go back to being a vegetarian. I miss how light and clean I felt back then, freed from all the fat, grease, toxins and general badness of meat & junk food. I spent 4 years as a vegetarian & it was the healthiest period of my life. Then one day for no reason I had a burger and never looked back (as I managed to go from 115 lbs to 320). I wish I could find the strength within myself to get back to a vegetarian lifestyle. Maybe someday. Hopefully someday soon.

Hope you're enjoying all those new tv channels!!!

Jarrett Meyer said...

Dish owns us, too. Welcome to the club.

Neither my wife nor I eats a lot of red meat. And I eat more than about 4 oz at a time, I get ungodly sick. It might have something to do with only eating meat about once every two months. Now, we stick to the veggie-meat substitute. I find it more than acceptable.

I also have "issues" when eating dairy. Despite my wife's requests, I gobble it up, regardless. I don't think I'm lactose intolerant, maybe just "lactose sensitive". Yeah, that's what we'll call it.

jen said...

I have lactose intolerance issues -- I can do OK if I have small amounts, though. One slice of cheese vs. two, a little bit of yogurt instead of a whole container, etc. I never liked drinking milk so I don't miss it.

Just saying there may be a middle ground between making out with a block of cheddar and abstaining from all animal products. But if you find abstinence working for you, why not?

Sela said...

I'm recently lactose intolerant. My intolerance is pretty hard core - I had to stop taking birth control pills because the lactose (used as a filler in a lot of pills) was making me gassy. Very sexy.

I've been totally without dairy for 10 months, and I honestly don't miss it. I was a HUGE fan of cheese, and now I don't really think about it. If you need some sweet, try Green & Black dark chocolate (in the natural food section of my Kroger). Don't try the soy ice cream products for a little while. They'll taste like crap now, but in a few months, they'll taste as good as the real thing :)

Lactaid did very little for me. Helped me get the birth control pills down without gas, but it wasn't the panacea that some people find it to be.

Good luck!

Erin said...

Hey you, where have you been? I miss your posts! Hope you are well.