Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It's For My Own Gouda

I believe I am many good things.

I am kind to children and animals. I will kick your ass twice over in games that involve manipulating words or letters. I make a good pot of coffee, and I think I have nice hair.

But there are, of course, skills I haven't yet acquired in my twenty-seven years on this Earth. I have a black thumb, for instance, and the only green living thing in my house right now is a very tenacious ivy plant that will not die no matter how infrequently I water it or how long I left it outside after the first October frost. I am clumsy and just yesterday found out I have atrocious balance for tango, which will be the source of a tortured, whiny, overphilosophical entry once I get the tango page up and running.

But one of my worst flaws? I have absolutely shit taste in men.

Not every single guy I've dated falls under this category, but an alarming number of them do. To paraphrase Our Lady of the Single Gal with Saddlebags, Ms. Bridget Jones, if there are any "alcoholics, workaholics, megalomaniacs, emotional fuckwits, or perverts" within a 50 mile radius, I will find and date them. This pattern started in college, after having a very respectable relationship throughout high school with a very respectable boy, but not two weeks after hanging out with Real College Boys and seeing that they would be just totally awesome at preying upon every single insecurity, obsession, and bad habit that laid dormant in my otherwise placid character, I called up the high school boyfriend and dumped him, ostensibly for being too far away, but in reality for not being abusive and emotionally retarded and so therefore boring. Just recently, actually, I realized I was falling into the same pattern over and over, and I put a stop to it by going on "dating detox" and trying to get use to liking myself before I went out and liked someone else again. So far being an intentionally single cat lady is a lot like being an unintentional one, except I shave my legs less frequently which is COMPLETELY AWESOME.

So the reason why I'm writing about this nine years later after learning this lesson over and over and OVER, is because suddenly all my bad ex-boyfriends are reminding me of cheese. Stay with me, people.

As my eating habits are getting progressively better and better, I find myself being able to talk myself down from cravings, or emotional eating, and I find the more I stay away from binging and trying to hurt myself with food, the less I want to do it. (Duh.) But I think there's one last piece of the puzzle with this, and so I'm trying to decide if there are just some bad news foods that I'm going to have to cut out of my diet because I just can't trust myself around them.

It's probably going to be dairy, and especially cheese for me. My weakness is ice cream, or nachos, or milkshakes, or bagels and cream cheese, and I can never seem to moderate those foods like I'm able to with other stuff. The other night I was driving home from work and completely worn out and disinterested in popping in yet another frozen meal, so I thought "Hey, I haven't had pizza in awhile" and rang up Pizza Hut. And I kind of knew in the back of my mind that it's never a good idea to buy a whole medium pizza for myself and really expect to ration it, so I decided to try a little experiment--I decided to let myself have as much pizza as I felt like I had to have to get over the desire to eat pizza, no matter how much it took. And seriously, it was so not satisfying as a meal, I probably could've eaten the whole thing just to get that one moment when things felt and tasted as good as I wanted them to in my mind, but I finally just made myself stop because eight pieces is just ew. Everything was just gross...the way it made me feel, the congealed cheese on the top, the way my stomach never felt satisfied and I just kept eating and eating it, and finally I had to stop with the realization that I had ingested about 1,200 calories and really hated every bite. The whole thing made me realize that if a food that I think I love so much can make me feel this nasty, maybe I should somehow stop loving it.

The next day I took the remaining pizza for my lunch at work, and this is where the loser ex-boyfriend analogy really resonated for me. I realized as I sat down with my leftovers that I wasn't going to be satisfied with pizza and water and an apple like I had planned. Of course I needed a can of Coke and a candy bar, because that's how pizza OUGHT to be eaten. I needed the flavor combinations of cheese plus sugar plus chocolate or else it just didn't feel right. One thing lead to another in that situation, and again, for something that's supposed to be so enjoyable, it didn't feel good at all. It's like the loser boyfriend who's super romantic and sweet on the first date, but then he takes you to McDonald's for the second date, and by the fifth date you're bringing him the food to his mom's house because he moved back in with her to "sort out some things" and then by three months into it he calls you on your birthday (which he's forgotten about) while you're sleeping off a midnight shift at your summer job because his truck's run out of gas in Kansas and he needs a ride back and while you're both driving he asks you to pull over at this one dude, Tino's, house so he can "say hey to some friends" and before you can smoothe out your bedhead in the rearview mirror he's selling dime bags from his backpack to the guys who work at the local Mexican restaurant in Tino's driveway and laughing at you while you cry and tell him you have BIG COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS, damnit, and he's fucking everything up.

Not that ANY of that has ever happened to me. And I've digressed.

I've talked about this a little bit before, but my point is that I don't want to have an emotional attachment to my food, especially not food that makes me feel so shitty and makes me have irrational emotional attachments to other foods. So I decided to just finally bite the bullet and go vegan because it seemed right and I feel intellecutally good about it, and I think I'm on hour 26 of dairy detox. I'm not sure if there's really such a thing as dairy detox, but I know I feel like shit. Headache, joint pains, the shakes, nausea, dizziness, and I've had about 100 oz. of water today and I'm not peeing AT ALL and my stomach is swollen and hurts like a mother and I really don't know why. I apologize for the graphic detail, but I think it'll be nice to reread this in six months when I'm all vegan-glowy and shit and smiling serenely as I eat quinoa or something vegan-y.

I'll keep you updated on this if I don't die in the process, and keep your eyes open for the birth of the tango blog, coming very soon!


Vickie said...

I have read again and again that things that we crave - we are actually allergic - or have some other physical problem digesting. they say that babies/toddlers AVOID what bothers them - but adults are drawn to it. I totally believe that we each have cravings/triggers to certain foods - but I am also understanding more and more how much our taste buds have to do with it. I read recently that if one eats a ton of processed/rich foods - the taste buds do not have to "work" to enjoy the food - and the teaste buds get lazy/spoiled or whatever you might want to call it. That foods closer to their natural state - require more sophisticated taste buds - more mature taste buds. I truly believe this - I have massive trouble going back and forth between REAL food and salted/sugared/rich stuff. I do much better with subtle tastes and REAL food.

Future Me said...

Wow this is so cool. I can't wait to hear how this works for you. I am kind of semi-vegetarian right now and have tossed around the idea of just going whole-hog (okay I know that wasn't funny but I just had to put it in there) and going fully vegetarian and subsequently vegan but I'm so scared of failure. And I live in Colorado, with access to tons of yummy vegan food. Did you know becoming Vegan is like the BEST thing you can do for the environment too? Great job!

Anonymous said...

I went vegetarian about 4 months ago and I'm fine with not eating meat (unless a fried chicken commercial comes on at midnight, then I regret my diet change for about 30 seconds). Recently though I've had to go on an extremely low fat diet due to gallstone issues & cheese is now a no no. IT'S KILLING ME!!!! I am absolutely dying for cheese pizza. It's been about 3 weeks and I still can't get the thought of pizza or gooey cheese lasagna out of my head. Maybe like you I need to give into the temptation once and get it out of my system. I think I'm struggling with it so much because this diet change wasn't completely my own decision. I feel very rebelious that I can't have something I want. If I'd chosen on my own to give up cheese it would be easier I think but being told by my doctor that I can't have something just makes me want it more. UGH!! Sorry for venting on you :). Will be very interested in how you do with this.

-Meegan (aka A Happy Wife, by the way, I'm moving my journal to a new site and will be going by a new username: FlamingoGirl. Hope you'll still visit me!)

Nory Roth said...

I can soooo relate to your desire for foods that make you feel like crap (and also don't let you crap - like cheese). I was born with a hiatal hernia, and have always had reflux problems. Prilosec was like a revelation to me. It was the first time in my life that I knew what it was like to eat without heartburn! So, the pizza making you feel like dirt is something that resonates with me. I also have wondered about the allergy connection to food cravings. I just can't get beyond the binging to try it out!

Stay the course, and you should feel better by much clearer mentally and physically. Good luck!

Luna Bella said...

Good luck, Erin! For what it's worth, I get all those detox symptoms too, whenever I decide to go off the processed carbs. It always hits me on about day 3...and it's just like you described it. I also get edgy and cranky, along with all the physical stuff.

I always take it as a sign that this is going to be a good change, so I hope that's true for you. Let us know how it goes!