I made cornbread yesterday for the first time in my life.
Cornbread has never been apart of my diet and I know of no one who eats it regularly, like you would normal bread. I always thought of cornbread as a culture specific food; something I saw on television that African American families passed around tables at lunch with collard greens and fried chicken.
So why am I suddenly making cornbread? I have never talked much about my eating habits with anyone and I still don’t care to that much. Mainly because I don’t see why I have to justify every piece of food that I put into my mouth to the people around me. I don’t ask anyone why they are eating what they’re eating because it’s their body, not mine.
My view concerning food is that if you are willing to live with the consequences of your decisions then, frolic.
Eat that cookie, guzzle that alcohol like there’s no tomorrow, have hamburgers and soft drinks for every meal or don’t. Drink water or don’t. Eat only grains, or vegetables or air or… light or whatever you think you should!
Just don’t cry over ANY of it, whatever you choose, tomorrow, ten, twenty, fifty years down the road from now when the results of your actions finally meet up with you. And while some may have more reason to cry than others all I mean is, be responsible for the choices you have purposefully made and accept the way the cookie, or granola bar crumbles when the time comes.
I personally don’t care to lecture anyone about their eating habits but I am not always afforded the same courtesy. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve refused some generic snack or food from someone only to be followed by an awkward silence and the ‘don’t you like me?’ stare.
“Are you on a diet?”
*Cue Yosemite Sam voice*
“Imma only gonna say this once you var-ments. I don’t do diets!”
It’s true. I see diets as that thing people do when they want to fit into their wedding dress or carnival costume or when they feel insecure about their body and want to be one of the slim chicks/dudes. Diets are temporary and normally are a result of societal or peer pressure.
I cannot recall in my history when I have ever been swayed by peer pressure, even if it was to my detriment to not ‘sway’. I’ve always done what I wanted to do. And the way I eat has never, nor will it ever be, a temporary thing. I know what I will and won’t have and once I decide, it doesn’t change easily.
Now I know for some people that it’s their job. Shout out to all the nutritionists and personal trainers out there. But for everyone else smirking at the big dude with his triple sized plate or whispering about the skinny chick with that salad again, unless the person is paying for your opinion, keep it to yourself. Do what you have to do for your body and let everyone live their own life.
‘Helping’ is no excuse to judge either, not even close. Because those conversations always tend to go in two directions.
The “I think you’re so stupid for doing that, and I’ll quietly insinuate it until you do otherwise because I care!” talk.
Or the “I’m going to try to make you feel bad for your choices because they’re making me feel bad about my choices” statements. My ‘favourite’ statement of all these being, “who cares, we’re all going to die anyway.”
If by some chance I wasn’t about to end a conversation on why I eat what I eat, I always do immediately at this point. It gives me an idea of the mindset of the person I’m dealing with. It’s a level of ignorance I’ve met in even the most educated of people and I just don’t want to go there.
But if I did…
How does that make ANY sense? If we are all going to die anyway, if that is the one thing we all as living beings have in common then I would think what would really matter is the way you lived your life! That would be the one thing that makes the difference between your life and mine, because we’ll ALL end up at the same place!
Living the best possible life that we can before we inevitably kick the bucket is what I believe most people strive for. And for me, the way I eat is apart of that because food deeply affects my energy levels to do all that I want to do. If you want to base your whole existence on this one thing (death) that will happen to you at the end of your time on this earth then go ahead, but I cannot do not.
If I live to be 100 years old, I would rather live a good, strong, healthy life for the first 90 years of my life and be like Cicely Tyson, 81 years and doing 60 push ups everyday…
…before I inevitably get sick (naturally by old age hopefully) for the next 10 years until I die. Than to live the first 40 years of my life, relatively healthy, and then spend the next 60 years of my life sick through unnatural causes and lifestyle diseases unable to fully enjoy my life and being an emotional (and financial) burden to the people who care about me and are worried about my health just because I didn’t take care of myself for the first 40 years of my life.
That just makes no sense to me. None.
60 years of being sick and depending on medications to have some kind of normal existence is a long time to live! Do you think Cicely Tyson would still have the energy to keep doing what she loves at this age if she wasn’t taking care of herself? (even though, YES she is going to die someday!) How many 80 year old actresses do you know of?
But I guess not everyone thinks that way and that’s okay, really. As I said before, it’s your life, you are allowed to live it as you see fit even if I do not agree.
But DO NOT personally bombard and attack random people with why you think they should or should not do this and eat that! Please! Post it on your blog instead. *wink* Then they can choose to read it or not.
The exception for me of course, being if it’s someone you love and care about and you can see they are doing something that is really detrimental to their health, like starving themselves into anorexia or eating themselves into heart failure then you should say something. First get the help of someone experienced with the issue like a nutritionist or councillor who can help you verify if the person’s eating habits really is an issue so you won’t come off as just being judgmental. Then say it with love and kindness, of course, and truly offer them support, and still love them no matter what they choose.
And if you think about it, if people being allowed to make their own choices about their own bodies isn’t obvious to you as a person, I like to think of it this way. I figure that there is enough good health information EVERYWHERE and I’m talking about in modern society where people live in the digital age and are by all intents ‘plugged in’ to a stream of ‘do this, not that’ on a regular! Some people aren’t plugged into the system (good for you) but most are.
The people in these modern societies most likely know the information on good health choices. It’s shoved at us daily in advertisements, on TV, the internet. So I do not believe people are oblivious to what is good for them and what isn’t.
That being said, if I see someone eating or ‘doing’ something that is NOT good for them then I assume (hesitantly) that they already know that it isn’t and are chosing to anyway.
I know that chocolate can be fattening and most has too much sugar but it’s one of the few foods that I can eat without immediate upsetting side effects so I balance it out by eating small amounts at a time. I MADE that choice! I am aware of it and accept any surges in blood sugar that may occur.
But I don’t need to explain that to everyne I meet. You want to assume that I obviously don’t know how ‘fattening’ and ‘unhealthy’ it is so you MUST tell me because I didn’t explain myself to you first, is you being insensitive.
Someone asking your advice is different. I always tell people don’t ask me what I think because I WILL tell you! But why rag on them, and argue over it? As I said, once someone is willing to accept the consequences of what they are doing….. leave it alone and DO NOT scorn them for it just because they didn’t take your ‘advice’!
Making cornbread yesterday though, opened my eyes to something else. Why was I even making cornbread? Because I can’t find cornbread to purchase like normal bread and even if I could I would still have to check the ingredients to make sure they didn’t put any ‘forbidden’ stuff in it. Most bakeries here are traditional style, straight out the oven onto the shelf so the breads don’t have ingredient labels so I might as well make my own as I KNOW what I put in it.
I have been gradually making changes to the food I eat in the last few years and I’ve found that despite the fact that food sensitivity is a thing, people don’t treat it as if it’s important. The insensitivity towards people who have food sensitivity is so rampant on the food market that anyone who didn’t have a firm resolve would not be able to last a few days into this.
There are some foods that I can obviously check off my list but then with others you think it might be safe and then you look at the ingredients and get confused, at least I do. Do you know how many things have wheat flour in it that you wouldn’t guess needed wheat flour to begin with? Like why do you need to put this in there?
I was used to cooking my own food even before this food change but after passing several of my favourite bakeries and food places last year (the few I liked) and realising 99% of their selections were out of my reach now I see how much more work I would have to put in preparing my own meals to make this work.
So I’m making cornbread. And even though it came out kinda stiff, (I WILL get the hang of it!) I will keep making it. Because for me it’s not about being a health nut. Food is meant to be fuel. That’s the way I’ve always viewed it. I thank my Biology background for that.
So if a food is not serving my body the way it should, has me feeling sluggish and irritated (unless it’s pizza, can’t argue with pizza!) it has to go. I can live without it and no I will not regret it on my deathbed especially after I think of all I accomplished with the energy I gained from eating better fuel, I mean, food.
Because I have things to do with my life. I want to accomplish some serious shit in my time and I can’t let food and the way it makes me feel hold me back. And I’m willing to live with the consequences of that whatever it may be. But go ahead and nom nom nom whatever you like if you want though because you know, critics may lie.
– Written by Travesaou
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