The Final Fifty

{March 22, 2013}   New Veggies, Cat Nutrition, and the End of Cravings

Last night, DBF made a delicious stir fry with chicken, snow peas, baby corn, water chestnuts, and sweet onions, with a small bit of a soy based sauce. It was absolutely delicious, and I especially loved the snow peas, so I’ll be adding them into the rotation much more frequently, along with the stir fry as a whole.

There’s been a recall on my cats food, which kind of startled me a bit, because it’s always been a good brand and she hasn’t had any trouble on it. I gave her only canned food until I had a chance to make it back to the pet store, and I’m thinking of transitioning her to a mostly raw diet.

But y’all, it is so hard to find decent, reliable information on cat nutrition that doesn’t come along with some other bullshit. I know that some people are into alternative medicine and stuff like that, but when I see a book talking about homeopathic medicine for a cat, there’s no way I can trust that book to give me good information. I don’t mean herbal medicine, because that’s different. I mean remedies that are so diluted that the statistical likelihood that they actually contain any “active ingredient” is so vanishingly small that there’s no logical way it could possibly work.

So I found a book the other day and ordered it, and it’s written by a woman with a solid background in biology and chemistry, along with years working as a veterinary technician. I was able to search the index and verified it doesn’t contain a single suggestion that I start by aligning my cat’s chi, so I have high hopes for it. I also ordered a book written by veterinarian all about cat health and recognizing warning signs and diagnosing symptoms. Basically, she’s getting older, and I want to know how to take better care of her so I can keep her alive for another 30 years, at least.

I noticed about a week ago that I’ve stopped having food cravings. Not just for the shitty food I used to eat, but for any foods at all. I’ve heard that food cravings are related to nutritional deficiencies, but I can’t find any research to confirm it, and instead found studies that showed there is no relation between them at all, so I’m not sure what to make of it. Instead, cravings tend to be socially driven, and have a lot to do with foods you have historically associated with comfort.

Part of me feels like I have learned to not seek comfort in food. I never really thought of it that way before, but as I reflect on it now, I can definitely see with total clarity that I used to use food to comfort myself. I would see something or crave something, and know consciously that it was too much food or not the kind of food I should be eating. And then I would make some sort of excuse why it was okay and eat it anyway, and it was nearly always just me caving and saying “it’s just once, what could it hurt” or “it’s not a big deal, I’ll enjoy myself and do better another day.” And it was always when I felt the need to boost my mood. It’s amazing how easy it is to see that now when I spent a lot of time thinking about it before and was still so blind to it.

I think part of it might be my excitement that I’m actually enjoying healthy food now. Don’t get me wrong, a huge burrito or a candy bar has it’s satisfaction, but mostly, when it’s finished and you don’t get the taste or the satisfaction of eating any more of it, it just left me feeling fat and like a failure, like I’d let myself down again. It was a guilt/payoff cycle, sometimes with a defiant “I refused to feel ashamed for liking food!” stage that, while trivially empowering, was kind of the ultimate extension of the “fuck you, I don’t care what you think” attitude. Because guess how little I care what you think? Little enough that I’m willing to poison myself just for the satisfaction of telling you (imaginary people who are echos of my middle school peers) to piss off.

And now, food is about me. Because when I eat healthy food, when I enjoy healthy food, I’m getting the satisfaction of eating, AND I’m getting the satisfaction of feeling successful for putting good things into my body. Those imaginary judgey-pantsed people are gone with the daily struggle to not eat crap. The guilt part is gone when you make healthy choices, and so I guess the rest of the emotional eating cycle slowly went away, too. Because, if I’m being honest, though they might wear the faces of my adolescent tormenters, if I’m being honest, those voices were me hating myself and then punishing myself for hating myself by hating myself more.

(This is why I started this blog. I honestly didn’t even realize any of this stuff until I just typed it all out.)

I’m terrified, because things are going so well, and I feel so strong now, and it just seems like it’s been a little too easy. On the other hand, things have been crazy stressful in large regions of my life lately, and I just see unhealthy things and just don’t want them. I think I will feel safe when I’ve made it a year. Maybe. I’ll let you know next March.


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