Saturday, February 9, 2008

Avoiding McDonald's fries ... for now

Now don't let that heading shock you, but the truth is that this is what I've been doing since about August of 2003. I have always loved McDonald's fries. Still do. But I don't eat them now. I'll eat other crap at times, but I avoid McDonald's fries on principle. After all, I live in Berkeley, California -- hippie capital of the world -- and you can't very well go around stinking like Mickey D's fries or you'll have NO friends. I mean, my friends are already pretty limited since I'm a striving fruitarian, but to go so low as to eat those greasy things? ... well, what would the neighbors think?

And that's just it -- the last time I got McDonald's fries I was freaking out at the drive-thru that someone might ACTUALLY SEE ME DOING THE UNTHINKABLE! I got those puppies, drove home, wolfed them down inside my house, then had to air out the WHOLE HOUSE because, well ... what would the neighbors think?

You see, we're very close to our neighbors, who run a very cool organic raw saurkraut company (mentioned in Juliano's RAW: The Un-Cookbook; their name at the time was Fermentations, but it's now Cultured; check out their product line here). So McDonald's fries just don't go down well in these parts.

Ever since that crazy experience, I have looked back on it in amazement, because I have not eaten those things since. I love them though. Still. But I just avoid them "for now" ... all the time. I've thought a lot about how this is a potential metaphor for how to deal with some of my other issues around food. Just avoid it "for now". This is another, albeit perhaps saner, version of "just for today".

Where I am now
I'm struggling, as always, but I have to say I've definitely progressed. My health is perhaps the best that it's been since my teens (and I'm at my high school weight of around 111, to boot). I feel stronger than I have in years, and more energetic than WAY before I got my thyroid diagnosis. This is all good.

Where I get hung up is that, yes, I could perhaps avoid cooked food "for now" ... all the time. But to do that I have to be in a head-space of constantly pushing back at everything around me, and I'm not sure that, spiritually, that's a healthy place to be for me personally. I haven't given up on it, but I seriously question it. But saying that, I still have a major illness to deal with, so I feel like I "have to" do this. But saying that, I then think, yeah, but we all die, every last one of us, and is life for making yourself into an obsessive-compulsive stress case, or is it for enjoying? So the bottom line is that I'm really ambivalent on this. I want to be happy. I don't necessarily want to be a strict raw vegan. Whether the two necessarily go hand in hand is my big question mark that I'm still exploring.

I'm also really struggling with what I perceive as the out-of-control ego and arrogance of certain people who promote themselves as long-term raw successes. I really can't abide it. I think we all -- raw vegan or McDonald's fries fiends -- have gifts in this life, and that we are all amazing souls. I don't think that anyone should be silenced or disregarded because he/she hasn't reached dietary "perfection". That's not the only kind of perfection we should be striving for.

On that note, I would like to mention that raw foods are not the be-all-and-end-all to happiness in life. I know this. A friend of mine committed suicide a few years back, and one of the reasons cited for it was that he had fallen off of his two-year raw diet. No joke. So no one can tell me that it's a panacea, because I think it can potentially create problems psychologically as well; not because of nutritional issues, that's not what I'm saying, but because of the constantly pushing back at everything around you. As for my friend ... God rest his beautiful soul ... it's not worth that. It's just not. Not that I'll ever end up necessarily in the same lonely place that he was, but I have definitely seen how the obsession with "perfection" is not necessarily conducive to health, and I want to temper my own experience with the painful remembrance of my friend.

These days I eat mostly simple raw food. My pattern is that I go a few days and then "can't stand it anymore" and do something else for a little while, and then get back "on track". I'm continuing to heal, which is the most important thing and the whole reason for any of this. This diet is Pandora's box, so I can't see turning away from the diet, but I do sometimes want to turn my back on the fanaticism and self-righteousness of it.

Not such a chipper post today. All is well, but not necessarily light-hearted. Peace to you!