It seems like we’re getting into a topic that Shotts indicated he wanted to explore in an earlier post. So rather than add a comment to The Switch is On, Or The Coming of Autumn I’m starting a new post.
Instead of congratulating our food instincts for being so smart those of us who live in a culture of unlimited food must question them at every turn. We have seemingly limitless cravings for fat and sugar in a world where all instincts are exploited by commerce. In this culture our many of our beliefs about food are as confused and harmful as our beliefs about that other instinct (we’ll save that for another post).
I’ve spent a lot of time over the year thinking about and fiddling with my diet. I think I have a much better diet now than I did ten years ago. As a culture, we no longer have to spend most of our time trying to find or produce food as our ancestors did but we continue to spend a lot of time thinking about food. Biological cravings are inseparable from cultural cravings (and taboos). Our ideas about food carry as much emotional weight as the experience of eating. Unfamiliar food ways can seem like a threat so when someone questions your diet they are questioning your means of survival. Therefore, it should be no surprise how emotional people can become about food.
I spent most of my twenties wishing I could be a vegetarian. I felt guilty eating meat. I didn’t judge my diet by how healthy it was but by how righteous it was. However, as I stumble through my thirties I’ve become more aware of how food affects me, though as I mentioned, my ideas about food may often influence my physical sensitivity.
I have come to realize after years of eating of soy products that they either make me feel bad or put me to sleep and that meat and other animal protein in moderation gives me energy that I never knew I had. I feel healthier and more alive now than I did in those vegetarian wannabe days. It took a long time for me to overcome my ideas of good food and begin to understand how my diet was really affecting my health.
Certainly, other people may have the opposite experience and marvel at all those years they spent eating meat and failing to thrive.
My life changed when I started eating two eggs every morning for breakfast. When I eat eggs I start the day more alert and with a higher level of energy that continues through the day. The eggs led me to eat more animal protein in the rest of my diet which continues to make me feel more alert and energetic. My challenge now is to find the most moral forms of meat possible. Luckily, we have a pretty good natural food store in Elgin which provides grass finished beef and real free range eggs. Of course, fruits and vegetables and grains continue to be an important part of my diet too.
What are your ideas of a healthy diet? How have they changed? Or perhaps we should answer the larger question: What is the definition of “healthy?” Peters has touched on this in I am somewhere that I don’t know where I am.