Huzzah: I’m excited to post today! Firstly, I get to share What I Ate Yesterday (because I’m never in time for Wednesday itself!), and secondly because I want to link to some interesting articles and views on veganism and restrictive eating. The food comes later down the post, so in the meanwhile, to get the ball rolling, let’s enjoy a moment of cat before we start with some seriousness.
These are some links I stumbled across rather randomly over the past two days – these are just a handful, but the blogosphere has literally exploded around orthorexia, EDs, and how people react to others “divorcing” veganism of late.
Interview with Gena Hamshaw (of Choosing Raw) – she touches upon this idea of veganism and restricted eating in a very straightforward way which I enjoyed.
What I’m seeing above in most of those articles as standing out is the word “disorder”, which I can relate to, but I also realize how damaging it is when food becomes the focal point of one’s obsession – everything can spiral around it to the point where everyday decisions are dictated by food (e.g. can you meet up with friends without food issues cropping up, such as eating in public?). It’s not only your diet that becomes restricted and disordered, and that’s always what shocks me when looking back – everything was affected by my binge eating, from the types of friends I had or could have, to the activities I could take part in.
Bottom line: obsessing about food sucks, and is extremely isolating, which is why I love stories like these which help me feel a little less insane. It also makes me realize that there are people going through ED, or who didn’t know or acknowledge that they (still, in some cases) were ill, and they are already at a low point, and don’t need my help to dig a deeper trench of misery and self-loathing.
As much as I’ve been jarred and deeply affected by some recent moves away from the vegan lifestyle for a handful of bloggers, reading articles such as those above have also brought home the idea that I need to learn to also be compassionate towards humans, because any disordered or unbalanced approach to food is devastating to all aspects of one’s life and relationships with yourself and other people, and those who go through these changes or admit to disordered perceptions and eating philosophies and habits are in need of understanding, even if one doesn’t at all agree with their ultimate choices of moving away from veganism. Veganism is felt to be a trigger for EDs by some, but I find healing in veganism. Still, disappointment aside, I honestly think vegans, who believe in compassion towards animals and the end of speciesism, should not cast aside their own species when it comes to dishing out patience and love.
I’ve found, however, that all good intentions aside, it becomes rather tricky and much more mindful a process to actively practise compassion towards humans who have resources and knowledge about health, veganism, and even simply plant-based diets and still find it inadequate to sate the part of their brain that says “I’m ok now”, but again, EDs are not logical, and although I honestly believe that one can heal within veganism, it’s not my place to dictate to others.
For people who are just beginning a vegan or plant-based journey, however, the world can be rather terrifying, because cutting out animal products may be seen as restrictive. Marla’s post really struck home in this regard when she wrote “we no longer perceive animal flesh and products as food”, and it really is that simple. When I’m trolling the supermarket and my brain scans the aisles to distinguish between edible and non-edible, I don’t feel a sense of diminishment just because the meat section is essentially useless to me – I see rows of delightful fresh veggies, endless possibilities and wonderful tastes to be had. The blurring between an ED and veganism as a trigger is rather sad-inducing, because they shouldn’t be the same thing, or be perceived as such.
I’ve had family members imply and outright state that I have an ED because I am vegan, which is just rot of the highest level. I’m recovering from a binge ED (which surprisingly they didn’t name as an ED), but I’m not anorexic or orthorexic just because animal products aren’t food to me. I eat my veggies without cheese, my burger without meat, and my cereal without cow milk, but I still eat…a lot! Just see for yourself:
I usually eat breakfast at 06:00 each day, which is why yesterday was hellish. I had to go do blood tests for cholesterol & liver stuff, but the place only opened at 08:00. Let me tell you, slicing bananas to freeze is torture when you can’t even have a nibble! Luckily my tests came back normal – in fact, my “good” cholesterol was abnormally high, and “bad” cholesterol abnormally low! Muahah! I’ve undergone some pretty serious health changes in the past half decade, from being told I was going to eat myself into fully-fledged diabetes and smoke my way to emphysema to now where my lungs are as fresh as a newborn’s and I’m getting all these great results. Excited to be alive? Yes indeed!
Breakfast: small clementine just after drawing blood – I broke my nose passing out once after this sort of thing so I’ve learnt my lesson. When I got home it was wholewheat seeded toast (no rye toast on hand, boo!) with avo and pumpkin. 1 frozen banana and a small black coffee for breakfast-dessert (admittedly overkill, but I was very sorry for myself!).
10h00 Snack: 1 cup mixed veggies with 2 brown rice crackers – I LOVE frozen veggies with a passion because it means I can stuff my fridge AND freezer with edibles! When I open freezers at family and friends it’s usually a disappointing combo of meat and ice-cream, so my freezer is a palatial abundance of nom that I actually enjoy (thanks to the frozen fruit and little freezer treats!).
Lunch: mushroom, chickpea and zucchini stir fry with broccoli mash (YUM!) and a green salad, 1/4 cup dried fruit + nut mix. The fruit & nut mix is just candy to me – I pick out the delicious bits and leave the raisins and stuff (because that’s something that can be used for baking instead), which vexes Man-thing to no end because he doesn’t like raisins! *evil face*
16h00 snack: Soy milk with 1/4 cup muesli (not pictured, alas – I was besieged by kittens) – this was purely out of mind munchies and not actual hunger, but sometimes I find it’s best to indulge a bit in what the mind wants so that it can quieten down and I can get on with other things. There’s nothing worse to me than this feeling of “want” which cannot be sated – if I ignore it for too long then I just go on a binge bender, so compromising with my brain is the new way of things.
Dinner: zucchini + lentil stew/soup – you’ll probably see the same dinner every single WIAW, but this stuff is gold because I never get bored of it. I do feel sorry for Man-thing, however – he usually adds couscous or some starch to it and maybe some frittata or quiche, depending on what in stock in the fridge. When I can I make him a separate dish, which he freaks out over appropriately. His favourite is definitely the soy chunk stew, because it’s the most “meaty”, but yesterday he got polenta bake with veggies, so it’s not such a hardship living veg!
Random snacks: carrots, cucumbers, a little turkish delight square + soy milk (oh, and decaf coffee for pudding!)
I was rather stuffed yesterday, all things considered! Of course, I was home and sick and miserable, so comfort food came to the rescue 😀 It’s so rewarding to be able to munch like such a monster but not get that feeling of “done bad” that I used to feel non-stop, but that was probably because my idea of lunch used to be half a loaf of white bread with half a cup’s worth of cheese and jam each. Plus chocolate and at least a litre of milky and sugar-doused coffee. Ew! I can safely say the above eats are nom to the max, and that I love getting a thrill out of trying new things like broccoli mash (seriously, YUM!).
What I didn’t expect was how exciting recovery from binge eating could be. I’m eating more variety now than I ever have in my life (even though I had the pick of the litter at restaurants as an omni, and now it’s generally just cheeseless pizza, for example), and I can absolutely psyche myself over a mini muffin or a raw carrot soup. It’s slowly (but surely) transforming from being jazzed over recovery to just being jazzed in general about healthy, happy foods and the ridiculous amount of manifestations a single ingredient can take (beans in my icing, cake, and stew? Wow!). This blog is essentially a way to express and share all that joy, because, although I haven’t stopped thinking about food, my choices about how to think about it and how and why I act on those thoughts have stopped destroying me and are instead revitalizing not only my body but my consciousness.
Plus all this baking and making keeps me out of trouble *innocent face*;p
What new foods have you tried of late?