Hey friends, so I just got back from Oklahoma City and have some things to share that I learned. I wouldn't say that I follow a very strict diet but as you all know I have been trying to take better care of myself and get healthier. My normal eating plan these days is Flexitarian, meaning that I am mostly vegetarian but do occasionally eat seafood, poultry usually in the form of eggs, and I am not against bacon. I simply eat what I enjoy, it just so happens to be mostly vegetables and not a lot of other stuff. And, I have learned how to do that in a balanced way that is satisfying and works for me. Generally I feel great, my mood is good, and mind is clear.
So, back to OKC, I had a really hard time eating... or rather, I had a really easy time eating, I had a really hard time feeling good. I was there to meet my boyfriend's family and tried my best to make a good impression but found it really difficult to keep a smile on my face. My food was failing me as I imagine it fails the lovely people of Oklahoma everyday. We ate every meal in a restaurant, which at first was really fun as I love restaurants, since I used to spend all of my time working in them in New York. I also love the glimpse into people's lives that you get in a restaurant... who goes there, what do they order, who do they go with, what are they talking about?
In OKC, the challenge is that all of the restaurants are giant chain restaurants, and they haven't caught on to the trend in NY of publishing calorie content in the dishes. I can only imagine the health crisis going on there... which interstingly, was highlighted by the advertisements I would see driving along the highway for drop-in emergency medical clinics (not hospitals) that seemed to be located in shopping malls. But, that's a different story, back to my point.
I really struggled to feel good. At a fast-food diner, I ordered some eggs over easy (that's how I like my eggs, fyi) when I cut into them, the yolk that ran out was fluorescent (I couldn't really tell if it was the egg or the lighting but what I do know was that it did not look natural). It also had a different texture and taste than I was used to. It was like a different kind of object calling itself "egg". Ok, fine. I ate it, with some bacon and whole wheat toast (don't get me started about the butter-like spread that they put on it).
I was trying to make the best choices I could given my situation. All of my meals turned out the same way, to the point where I was eating and eating and never feeling satisfyied. My cravings became out of control! I wanted sugar. I wanted cookies and cake and pie. I felt really dehydrated as I wasn't getting enough water in my day.
I was there for only 5 days and here's what happened: my skin massively broke out, I would suffer bouts of depression, I was really emotional and sensitive, I didn't sleep well, my joints felt achey, I got really really bloated, I was soooooo hungry all of the time and no matter how much I ate I didn't feel better. My butt got bigger. My upper arms got bigger. My allergies got out of control to the point of needing medication. My head was foggy, I couldn't make any decisions, and felt defeated. Now, all of this happened to me in a matter of days!!!!
This experience makes me really scared for America. To be in a place where our food is produced but not able to access food that is nurturing and sustaining is absurd. The people I encountered in these restaurants seem resigned to the same feelings of defeat I was experiencing while on this meal plan. I overheard conversations between severly overweight people talking about how they just craved cake all the time and how that makes them feel while they were dining off the "healthy eating menu" which included a short stack of buttermilk pancakes, which I imagine to be made from a chemical mixture not from any whole grain. Not to mention the ingredients of their "maple" syrup.
There is no chance for the people not to crave cake when this is what they are feeding their bodies to be "healthy". It inevitably leads to a self-esteem problem because their will power will never be able to win. One night, during my visit, I did get to go to a japanese restaurant where I was able to get some brown rice, salad, grilled vegetables, and sushi. I can honestly tell you that almost instantly my mood became lighter, I didn't need to eat as much, my body felt less tired as it didn't have to work as hard to figure out what to do with the food I was putting in it.
My body can recognize asparagus and knows how to break that down, what to use and what to get rid of. My body has a harder time when I eat something like a fast-food apple pie, it wants to recognize it as an apple but is lacking in crucial apple properties. It has to work harder to figure out what it is, what it needs to complete the picture and then what to do with it... then I miss out on essential nutrients in my food as my body is working so hard to figure out what to do.
What I did learn though through all of this experimentation, is that I'm healthy and not numb to my food anymore. I enjoy food that nurtures me. I enjoy feeling good. I enjoy having a happy mood and happy thoughts. I don't have to feel depressed, sluggish and tired all of the time. Luckily, I choose food that is whole, fresh, and satisfying. I love myself enough to hold that as a priority. I wish the same for you, if you need help let me know I'm here for you. You can send me an email through my website: www.torymarsh.com. I hope you're well, big kiss xxtbone