If you told me a week ago that I would eat cookies today, I would've said you were crazy. If you told me a week ago that I would be eating meat today, I would've said you were crazy. If you told me a week ago that I would jump off a 10-story building and live to tell the tale, I would've said you were crazy. ...okay, one of those didn't actually happen, but they're all pretty crazy. So what happened in the past week that caused the official Robyn Food Liberation Craziness? A book called Health Food Junkies plus a bit of beef in my broccoli.
On Thursday night, the last day of my month-long Ejuva clease and the day after my three-day honey "fast" (during which I ate more than two pounds of honey...if you're wondering, I felt find afterwards, which tells me that honey isn't all that bad, although I wouldn't recommend you eat a few pounds of it) some of my friends decided to get Chinese take out. I like food and after eating just honey for so long I asked for some steamed broccoli. One of my friends brought me the broccoli while I was in the WVKR studio and I noticed there was other stuff mixed in with the broccoli.
"Is that...meat?" I poked at it cautiously. A brave soul tried the mystery substance, which proved to be beef. Dammit.
After I was finished with the radio show and got back to my room with the broccoli and beef bowl, I finished the broccoli and ...stared at the beef. "Meat won't kill me. I'll try it." So I did. And it tasted just like it did before. I don't think I had eaten Chinese take out beef in more than two years. I've heard raw foodists say that cooked food doesn't taste as good if you try it again after a while on a raw food diet, but if you ask me it tastes just as good, if not better because you just end up appreciating it more or because your taste is somewhat heightened. After eating all the beef, I thought, "Good lord, what have I done? I ate the meat. I ate all the meat. And it's past midnight!" The next day I felt absolutely fine. Nothing happened.
I probably wouldn't have eaten the meat (or had ordered the take out in the first place) if I hadn't read that book. I read the book in about three days (which is fast for a person like me who doesn't read much) and I think it changed my view on raw food and obsessively healthy diets in general. First off, I didn't feel so crazy about my raw food diet after reading about other people who were hopelessly controlled by their diets. Secondly, there is much more to health than just what you eat. I was missing out on the psychological factor for the most part and I think I really screwed myself over during college, especially the first semester when I was in my room most of the time, eating practically ever meal alone in front of my computer. I knew I shouldn't have been doing that, and my mum told me not to, but at the time I truly didn't want to eat out with other people. I figured I would be uncomfortable eating with other people as they ate their cooked food and what not, or I would just stare at them as they ate. To avoid such situations, I stayed in my room. Joy.
Another thing is that while I wouldn't want to admit it, I had a sense of superiority about my diet, something I shouldn't have had. I didn't look at it that way at the time, but now I do and it's kind of disturbing. I would look at what other people ate and think about how unhealthy it was or how much better my fruits and veggies were. Now I think that as long as what people eat works out for them, it's fine with me. It only bothers me when people eat unhealthy food and they question their multitude of health problems or just don't give a damn. Those superior thoughts I had in the beginning were stupid and foolish. I don't want those anymore.
Today I went to Minado with my mum and my brother. I mainly ate salad but I also tried a little bit of beef that my mum said was delicious. It was, of course. Then I looked at the dessert table and ate an array of little cakes. I hadn't had any kind of regular cake in more than 1 and a half years. So what does cake taste like after that amount of time? Absolutely delicious. I tried just about everything, repeating, "Cake is yummy. Wow. This is really good," over and over again. I don't regret eating the cake and I just felt happy for not feeling so restricted. We also went to Wegmans where I got some cookies and once again...mass deliciousness. Cookies are little patties of joy.
Eating these foods that I would not imagine eating just a week ago have changed me in some way. They've made me realize what I've been doing over the past year and a half by refusing to eat so much food and spend time with others for the sake of my physical health. I don't regret what I did on my raw food diet at all, as I think I did become much healthier, and I'd like to stay int he 50%-75% raw diet range. But I don't want to go crazy trying to be nealy 100% because it's pretty much impossible and not worth giving up certain parts of my social life (I'm already introverted and anti-social enough!). I'm not saying that a raw food diet is bad, but I think I needed to loosen up. It almost feels like being a convict who's been let out of prison.
So about the book...well I think it was great for me, a person who barely touched the surface of orthorexia nervosa. The only bad thing I can think about the book is that anyone who is a full blown orthorexic (if that's the right term) may not heed Bratman's words. I'm still skeptical about some of the things he said (of course I'm biased as a semi raw foodist) but then again, he is the doctor and he's tried all the different diets. He drove the point home that you don't have to worry about your unconventional eating habits as long as it works for you and doesn't interfere with your life to a dangerous extent, but also explained how these diets (such as macrobiotics, raw foodism, being obsessed with vitamins and supplements) can have a negative effect on your life without you really being aware of it. I was aware of what I was giving up for my diet but I didn't think it was a big deal at the time. I'm starting life anew in a way, transferring to NYU, and I don't want to miss out going to restaurants with other nutrition majors or friends or not getting to eat the stuff I make during my foods lab just cos of the raw food thing. I had to break free from the raw food mantra that "cooked food is poison" (if it were poison, wouldn't everyone be dead?), which was a bit hard to do. I really used to be afraid of eating cooked food or certain kinds of food because I thought they would make me sick or something bad would happen. "Bad" describing...something. I didn't want to find out. I didn't even want to touch grain products but they can't kill me. Not right away at least.
So I will savour the cookies. :)