Fat Kid Suit


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Back On The Wild Wagon Ride Into Uncertainty

 

What Surprised Me About THE GREAT HEALTH DEBATE
Kevin Gianni

The Great Health Debate hosted by Kevin Gianni was more enlightening than I anticipated.

The “debate” didn’t really follow a debate format. It was actually a series of  interviews with various nutritional heavies.  While there were some interesting ideas presented, I can’t say it necessarily taught me a lot in regards to nutrition.

In fact the “experts” conflicting data was in many ways more confusing than clarifying…

But in an odd way, listening to so many gurus and so much info in one concentrated week freed me! I now see this diet world and all its associated conflict for what is–further evidence that life is unknowable and full of seeming contradiction. It seems that many want to hear stated something that can’t be–unassailable truth. It just doesn’t exist for diet, or anything else.

That realization–more like something I forgot again–was the extra push I needed to crawl back in the red Radio Flyer I tumbled out of a year ago, and really start living again. Whether you are hurrying by mirrors denying the degree of ill health you are in, self medicating your unhappiness with booze and pills, or even denying the sometimes scary awareness of just how uncertain all things are–denial is a powerful thing.

My Favorite Part Of The Debate

I especially enjoyed the perspectives shared on the evening David Wolfe and Daniel Vitalis were interviewed by Kevin Gianni.

A quick note: I think these two interviews illustrate what a shame it is that the debate wasn’t a true verbal exchange between the participants.  Much is lost when there isn’t a direct interchange, and I believe Kevin is not only an awesome interviewer but also an excellent moderator more than capable of keeping the discussions, and even arguments, on track.

Wolfe

Why I especially enjoyed Wolfe and Vitalis had less to do with their nutritional insights than their incredible openness and general take on life. Both refused  to talk about people, food, and nutrition in a simplified reductionist light; a path they both admit to once being on.

Vitalis

 

Both men–regardless of how you feel about their advice–strike me as individuals who find things out for themselves, and then share their experience more than their opinions.

As I said in yesterdays post RE opinions, this experential approach to life, which is less about judgement and knowing than direct experience appeals to me. Coming to any table vested in winning an argument means you are not really their to share info or listen to what others have to say.

What Now?

Immediately following the interviews with both David Wolfe and Daniel Vitalis I felt inspired to begin yet again on my very personal journey toward healthful eating.  I also felt empowered to do this in small ways, to do it without labels, and without subscribing to any particular guru’s unique approach.

For me that has meant being blatantly honest about which foods I know intuitively after 37 years on the planet do nothing for me nutritionally and in some cases cause harm to my organism.

At my current very low level of personal health and well-being it is clear to me the following  foods have to be eliminated from my diet:

  • All commercial dairy products and all cow dairy regardless of its source.
  • All gluten, all processed grains in any form other than whole, and very little if any of those.
  • Refined sugar in its myriad disguises.
  • Factory farmed anything.
  • Artificial anything.
  • Genetically Modified produce grown with pesticides.
  • Coffee.  Probably the most difficult to give up on this list, but a food that I have a long negative history with.
  • All foods cooked or fried in oil.
  • Added salt.

 

What Does That Leave TO Eat?

A lot actually.  The issue in some ways may actually be less about what to eat, than where to eat it, and where it came from?

During the debate there was a ton of discussion about what humans did or didn’t eat 10,000 years ago.  Most of this was centered around whether humans did, and whether we currently should, eat meat.  This being the primary item debated struck me as strange and limiting.

 

When 'To Eat or Not To Eat?' was the food question of the day...

While Kevin Gianni was extremely fair with all  participants, not once did I hear him try and sway the debates, it was obvious that the debates were the brainchild of a non meat eater, because every question was eventually reduced to one, “should we or shouldn’t we eat meat?”  Not an irrelevant question, and definitely juicy with controversy, but still a question that invariably limited the scope and depth of a discussion about health.

Who Should We Really Be Arguing With?

I can’t help but feel, and here I am proffering my opinion, which I am trying to do less of, that a true debate about health in our time would center much more on the merits of industrialized food VS non-industrial local sources of food.

Healthy meat VS unhealthy.  Healthy vegetables VS unhealthy.  Yes there will always be room to debate percentages and quantities of macro-nutrients.  There will always be a philosophical debate about  killing or using animals for food. But the carnivores, omnivores, herbivores, and fruitarians are all in the same boat when it comes to the industrialization of our food to the point that it barely resembles food. Have you walked through a modern supermarket lately?  It is frightening.

"cheese" puffs and pepsi

AISLE 9 - Corn Syrup - Aspartame - Phosphoric Acid

Look back at my hit list of foods I want to eliminate from my life.  It is essentially a  list of industrial food.

For me to avoid the foods on that list, it would be difficult to eat in most restaurants, and impossible to eat in many.  For me to source quality fruit, vegetables, eggs, whole grains and meat (if I choose to eat meat again in the future) would require finding a source other than the giant corporate markets.

 

 

 

Mono-crop agriculture and factory farms are the same thing.  A very bad response to ever growing numbers of humans who aren’t prepared psychologically, politically, and technologically to feed the next generation.   Mad Science and greed have taken only 40-50 years to bring us humans down to a frightening level of disease and ill health. Obviously there are healthy people who eat meat.  Obviously there are healthy people who eat no meat.  To argue otherwise is asinine.

 

While we argue (in an arguably entertaining fashion) about how much if any of our diets should come from animals, the state of all of our food is worsening.  Our options are lessening.  Our inherent right to grow food and share it with each other is being stripped away; perhaps irreversibly.

Maybe “You are what you eat” has less to do with which kingdom it came from than whether or not what you eat–plant or animal–was healthy before you ate it?

Will we start arguing with the companies and governments who are ruining our food supply?  Can we channel some of  the energy we use debating food philosophy and branded versions of health into effective change both in our back yards and through legislation?  Because somewhere in our current debate is a form of denial about the real elephant in the room.  And that can’t be healthy.

Either way, thanks Kevin Gianni for doing something!  You obviously worked extremely hard on this project, and in my own way, I benefited greatly from it. The last several days I have taken some concrete steps to better my health, which I will be sharing soon.

Cheers!

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Eating Less Animals

 

Player Haters

If you know me or have read much of this blog you know that I’m all over the map on just about everything, and perhaps especially–food.

I remember being judged–a lot–for that trait growing up.  It puzzled me then and still, why people prefer others to be constant.  Maybe it’s a deep seated fear of death, that big unknown?  Maybe we get complacent and someone else constantly changing threatens that?  Whatever it is, however ridiculous I believe it to be, it’s powerful and at work in all corners of our culture.

In my past life I was a change machine.

That said, the chastisement I received for ever re-inventing myself never really bothered me so much as surprised me.  I guess I always took the disapproval as confirmation of something about myself that I actually really like…contradiction.

 

Why I hate the word VEGAN.


I don't hate the messenger.


Off and on over the years, usually as a result of something I’ve read, I find myself going back to a diet sans animals.  The whole topic is a mixed bag for me.  Why?

My first “attempt” at vegan-ism did not end well.  I got sick.  I got fat.  I got judgmental.  And so did my wife (yes I used to be married) who joined me for almost two years of admittedly vegan junk food binging.  We did it all wrong, and all the while just kept congratulating ourselves on the sole fact that we weren’t consuming (or wearing) any animal products.  We were horrified to go back to meat eating, but after a few months we were “normal” again.

I had other periods of time in my life where I was or close to vegetarian, just not feeling the need for meat.  And slowly over the years, even a “normal” diet for me never got back to my childhood levels of flesh consumption, eating  meat with every meal, every day.  But other than my two 100% raw food forays I’ve deliberately avoided the “V” word.  For many reasons:

  1. “ISM’s” bother me.  A lot.  They fly in the face of true free will, give people a false sense of importance, and almost always for convenience toss the baby out with the bathwater.
  2. I hate faux food.  Along with serious misgivings about soy (health & environment) I can’t stand imitation food.  I don’t want soy nuggets or soy bacon.  A lot of crap is technically “vegan.”  I applaud people who cook authentic real recipes that are what they are and are naturally devoid of animal products (or gluten, or don’t need to be cooked, etc.).
  3. I’m not convinced that eating meat, or eggs, or dairy is bad for you.  I feel great when I eat red meat.  I think a lot of the standard vegan arguments, like the assertion made in Fit For Life by Harvey Diamond that because we don’t want to chase down squirrels and tear them to pieces with non-existent fangs and claws, are silly.  Nature and evolution are complex, why pretend to know any of it beyond doubt?
  4. I think proselytizing about not eating animals just reinforces the majority of others determination to do so.  If you are serious about your desire to limit the atrocious suffering caused by industrial food, much more can be accomplished by a.) getting most people to eat even just a little less commercial meat and dairy, and b.) using consumer pressure to radically change the unacceptable practice of factory farming.  Congratulating people for making better choices goes so much further than chastising them for their bad ones…

 

Buddha was full of seeming contradictions.

So after saying all that, I gotta say that after all these years I’m seriously considering adopting essentially a vegan diet.  Told you I’m all over the place.  But why?

Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals along with some reading I’ve been doing on the Buddha dharma regarding doing no harm are both deeply resonating with me.

Foer makes a powerful argument that right now, in our current food system reality, being a conscious eater who wishes to avoid factory “farmed” “food” essentially means not eating meat or dairy.  Much of the feel good reassurances on animal product packaging regarding the absence of hormones, antibiotics, or cages, is as Foer says, complete bullshit.  Does it really surprise us that an industry so dark and dishonest would continue to lie to us, this time by telling us what we want to hear?

At first I thought Foer should have titled his book Eating Less Animals.  That way, the everyman could find it in him/herself to make a commitment to meatless Mondays and lighter vegetarian lunches.  The net effect of which would vastly eclipse the result of a relative few who give up animal products altogether.  But for days my new title kept making me laugh.  Eating Less Animals–there is something absurd about that to me.  I picture us as these weird Aliens with a depraved sense of entitlement to the flesh of other creatures.  And then I picture a random phone conversation between two perfectly nice human beings…

“Hi Barbara, whatcha been doing?”

“Not a lot.  Just reading this fab new book called Eating Less Animals.”

“Reeeaaaalllly?”

“Yeah, I really need to eat a few less chickens, and pigs and cows Barbara!”

Weird, right?  By the way, read Foer’s book, I think you’ll be shocked at exactly how many whole animals most of us eat in one year, and in our lifetimes!  And I think you’ll also be surprised by his tone and treatment of such a complex personal issue.

At the essence of Buddhism (oops there’s another Ism) is compassion and a whole lot of talk about suffering.  The reason vegetarianism is associated with Buddhism is because of perhaps the simplest teaching…if we cannot help others or be good human beings ourselves, the Buddha said at least do no harm to others.  And guess what?  Others is not restricted to other humans.  It’s others in it’s truest sense, and extends to anything capable of suffering.

But also wrapped up in the often confusing, yet somehow enlightening mumbo of Buddha’s teachings is compassion and understanding toward numero uno.  In fact, at the heart of the No Harm philosophy is a necessary selfishness rooted in simple cause and effect.  It ultimately hurts us when we hurt others.  Whether they have two legs or four.  Whether we think they are stupid or cute.  It just does.  One look at how sick we are as a nation demonstrates that.  We are literally a culture of death.  We mistreat and kill to eat, and it’s killing us.

 

I want to make it clear that I genuinely applaud every single person that is involved in bringing real food to consumers.  That includes meat, dairy, and vegetables.  I hope someday the average person will reduce their overall consumption of animals (see sounds silly again) and insist that those they do eat came from real farms, not factories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For now, I’m going to spend some time not eating meat.  I’m also going to eliminate any dairy except for raw aged goat cheese  & eggs that I buy from a local farmer I trust to not exploit her goats and chickens.

Interestingly (and this is according to the Dalai Lama), Buddhist monks are not prohibited from eating meat despite their profound compassion for animals.  As monks they eat either the vegetarian meal provided them in the monastery or beg food once a day when traveling.  While they would never want an animal to be killed specifically to feed them, out of compassion for their human hosts they eat whatever they are given.  Also tied up in that is a profound acceptance of their reality and a refreshing lack of concern over food in general–allowing them to focus on other things.

So if you ever see me eating a juicy burger again, I hope I’m selfish enough to be eating the flesh of an animal that was well cared for up until its slaughter, and that you will understand that like life, I’m an ever-changing contradiction.


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60 day raw food log: Day 45–Six weeks ago I was depressed and weighed 254 lbs. Today…

Today…the local newspaper is interviewing me about my raw foods “transformation!”

Read All About It! Crazy Guy Eats Only Raw Fruit & Veggies!!!

It may sound terribly cliche, but SO much has happened in just 1 1/2 months!  Enough apparently, to get the attention of others.

I lost 2 more pounds this past week eating only “raw foods.”  That means in only 6 weeks I’ve lost 26 lbs! But weight loss has really been the least significant change for me in all of this…

If you are new to my blog, go back to late October’s entries and you won’t have to read between the lines to find loads of anger and despair.  I was numbed out 90% of the time, and flat out angry the other 10% of the time.

Depression and Diet

Numbed out is just another way to say depressed.  How could I have NOT been considering what I was putting into my body?

I was:

  • Flooding my system with depressants (over 100 alcoholic beverages a week).
  • Trying to get back “up” with stimulants (coffee, sugar and other “white” foods) that spike you harder than a hot beach volleyball star.
  • Mucking up the works with bad fats made even worse by cooking with them.
  • Eating polluted grain-fed (and who knows what else) animal products filled with hormones, antibiotics and fear.
  • Rarely eating fruits or vegetables (like almost never), and when I did; eating nutritionally deficient, pesticide ridden, genetically modified produce.
  • Putting all of that “food” into a sedentary (nearly lifeless) body.

Looking back now, after such a rapid improvement in my sense of well-being, I have to ask myself, how much of that depression was completely physical and self-induced versus “emotional?”

Having grown up in a family comprised mostly of fat depressed souls, I also can’t help but truly wonder how many of their “emotional” problems would have been solved by just changing our families diet to a healthier one?

Would we have had a completely different childhood/home-life if we had just eaten different foods?

Comfort Foods and The Mirror

Of course the problem with a whole family, or even one person, making that kind of shift is this…when we’re depressed we want even more crap food to (here comes the irony) make ourselves feel “better.”  It’s called comfort food for Fuck’s sake!

I remember night after night of trying to comfort myself into a frickin coma with pepperoni pizzas and cartons of Ben & Jerry’s.  I also remember how uncomfortable I felt in my own body and how angry I’d feel looking at the “fat Elvis” version of myself in the mirror.

How ridiculous it really is to grow to nearly twice your size!  How out of control that feels!  How strange it is to be fat, even if it is quickly becoming the norm here in the U.S.

Just as bizzare and sad is getting to a place where its a burden just to be an active human being.  To see walking as a necessary evil that you engage in only when after circling the Walmart parking lot ten times you are forced to park more than 10 feet from your destination…

Real Food feels Real Good

So I don’t know where my life is going to go from here.  No one ever knows that.  I don’t know for sure if I will feel this elated two weeks from today.  I certainly don’t want to sound like I am preaching or proffering some kind of deluded salvation strategy (I don’t actually believe we need saving). But I do know that changing what and how I eat is changing me.

In very little time I look much younger, feel like early sexy Elvis more than pills washed down with liquor Elvis, and am no longer in self inflicted coma land…

Six weeks ago I could barely get out of bed to go to work at 5pm!  I was resigned to being broke and basically being unhappy with my life. Now I am having trouble sleeping because I have so much stuff that interests me hitting me all at once…

Yesterday I crashed a UC screenwriting lecture, and am beyond excited about getting back to work on some scripts I started before, as well as a new one I’m dying to outline and get started on.

I now spend a lot of time communicating with all kinds of people about food through Twitter and this blog.  I’d never blogged before, and had no idea how fun it can be or how much time it can take.

I have a growing reading list of both fiction and food-related stuff.  Business ideas that flashed across my previously drug addled brain are once again clamoring for my creative attention.

And, I have this interview with the paper I have to get to…


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No raw food talk today…birthdays are fun for everybody…esp the cats!

Today’s blog is celebratory (no, I’m NOT a priest)!

Tomorrow will be my 30th day eating ONLY raw food but today I’m feeling kinda…silly!

Over the past month I’ve had some doubts about my sanity…giving up booze, food as I knew it, and coffee SUCKED.

But…I’m feeling pretty damn good right now.  Super good actually.  Energy levels are off the energy level charts–and that’s according to these guys with clipboards who keep following me around.

Tomorrow I’ll weigh myself and post 30 day “before & after pics!”

But right now I want to celebrate my budding transformation and Annie’s Birthday by sharing some fun Birthday pics of her and some crazy cats opening her presents!

Annie’s “Birthday Cake” was delicious Gluten-Free “Black & White” cookies and these unbelievably tasty things called “Fudgies” that I had shipped as a surprise from her favorite Gluten Free restaurant–which sadly is all the way in NYC…the Risotteria.

What's this...?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE NEW ADAM LAMBERT CD! I HAVE A HAIR THINGY JUST LIKE HIM!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I smell cardboard in the other room...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What the hell did WE get!?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet! A box! From Urban Outfitters!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now look into the camera baby, and give me your best Kristen Stewart American Apparel kinda look...Yeah..That's it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunatley Annie's one leg is on the opposite side of her one arm so she can still do a BIRTHDAY DANCE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H A P P Y   B I R T H D A Y    A N N I E !

YOU’RE A WOMAN NOW!