10 Mile Diet

Fast food (not)

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I woke after a late afternoon nap hungry and cold. When you live alone no one has been cooking dinner while you’ve been out (&) cold. You have to deal.

Okay, let’s see. To get some hot food on a 10 mile diet there’s nothing I can nuke. No box or can to open. No carton of Chinese take-out in the back, flaps popped, drying out, ready to heat.

I’m now skilled enough in this way of life to know that I can turn some tubers and shoots into a great soup. I wash 3 dirty potatoes and 3 imaginatively shaped carrots, cube them, chop in some leeks and run a mashed clove of garlic through a garlic press, boil in the bit of leftover stock, add 3 of my “exotic” spices (pepper, salt, curry), blender with a bit of creamy milk and voila, just 20 minutes later have a steaming bowl of soup. As a treat, I opened the package of real bacon – like the woman who sold it to me raised the pig – fried up 3 pieces and cut them up in the soup. (i’ll save the grease as I used to in the old days). Definite yum. And if I’d put on a sprig of parsley and taken a picture I could have submitted the recipe to gourmet magazine.

Through skill and knowledge I actually fed myself faster than if I’d wrapped myself in a coat and driven down to McDonalds. Definitely faster as the nearest McDonalds is 40 miles north in Oak Harbor. But not faster than nuking. Or making popcorn. Or eating nuts.

Tricia had stopped by earlier to drop off some mint, sage and rosemary just because she wanted to and we wondered together about those food habits or addictions or whatever that lead us to fast and furious eating. She’d been in the garden all day and she could have eaten non stop – beans, greens, tomatos, cukes. She nibbled, but it wasn’t until she got in her truck that the urge to splurge overtook her. A candy bar was on the seat beside her and before she knew it she’d torn off the paper and inhaled it.

I’d just come from a group of women of a certain age talking about weight gain and loss. One big trick of the weight loss trade is to not eat at night. Some say after 6. Some inch that up to after 9. I lost weight one time just by making that rule and cutting out cheese.

It occurs to me, though, that our food habits and addictions are all part of a food system that is far too fast, making it far too easy to eat too much, too often, and especially when we are not hungry. I read another diet book one time that had these 4 rules:

  • eat when you are hungry
  • stop when you are full
  • eat sitting down (that doesn’t mean your car)
  • pay attention to eating while you are eating.

God that should be easy, no? Crazy that we live in a time when food comes at us so fast, so furiously, and in such volume that we need rules like those?

Did I want to make a soup from scratch when I rolled off the couch? No. Did I make quick work of it? yes. Was it good? yes. Did I have any chance to overeat –  like noshing crackers or cookies while cooking? Not really. There were a few zackers nearby and I could have put some of the butter I churned last night by shaking a jar for 15 minutes, but even a zacker with butter was a lot of work for little reward.

I’m a little like an alcoholic who has dried out at Betty Ford’s place. I wonder if I’ll go back to “it all” when I’m out and everyone is involved in social eating and sport eating and popcorn in the movies eating and candy bar in the car eating. Do I lock the nut and Trader Joe soup cupboard like people lock the liquor cabinet?

Aristotle said, “Moderation in all things.” Slow and local food just about requires that. Whether it’s respect for the animal or the grower or one’s own time cooking, it’s harder to go unconscious. But I am a lifelong expert in that so I suspect the old habits are out there, circling, waiting for me to be done with this nonsense. And they are eating candy bars. I can hear the paper crackle.

I’m left wondering what the healthy natural instincts are for sweet and salty and creamy and chocolate-y foods are that are necessary for survival but distorted by how our commercial food system is designed to create profits, not health.  Ooo.  I feel another blog post coming on. Yum.

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