Food for Thought

My significant other, “L”, is on a mission to “get healthy.” In preparation, he purchased a king-size, multi-function juicer/blender, bought five pounds of carrots and oranges, and dusted off his yoga mat. I think he might also be on the lookout for a worthy pair of running shoes. His goal, if I understand it correctly, is to lose about 20 pounds, have more energy, and be more focused. While I think he looks great the way he is (picture Anthony Bourdain meets Nicholas Cage) and have no complaints about his energy level (my car verily sparkles since he detailed it last weekend,) or ability to focus (he’ll listen to me read and re-read my latest children’s book for hours!), who am I to stand in his way to a healthier lifestyle? I support him 100 percent. In fact, I’ve even considered joining him in his mission. After all, I share – in theory anyway – a deep and abiding respect for juicing and yoga.

Notice I said, “in theory.” It gets tricky when I take into consideration to what lengths “L” is prepared to go with the juicing and yoga-ing (he is the only person I know who has managed to transform yoga into a verb, pronouncing it suavely enough yoging, as if the “a” were superflous). While I sometimes think of myself as a closet vegetarian because I’d be pretty content for the most part to eat fish, with an occasional chicken dish and special occasion red meat entree, I find it difficult to envision drinking rather than eating my meals, barring some sort of all-body cast or the affliction of tetanus. When he said he was planning to cut out his morning cup of coffee (french roast!), a shudder ran down my spine. I felt weak at the knees, and sent my son running to the bathroom in search of smelling salts.

I consider how far removed from ascetic my personality is. I am not a fan of self-denial, at least when it comes to matters of the palette. I am one of those people who takes immense pleasure and delight in the sensations of the taste buds. Carrot juice is an acquired taste; chocolate, butter, and lobster are not. I have been known to lick the spoon that dipped out the sour cream; spread mayonaise on both sides of my sandwich; cool my oatmeal down with half-and-half or even, if I have some in the fridge, heavy whipping cream. Life is short. Am I prepared to give up the little pleasures that, however small, immeasureably and consistently enrich my life? If I died tonight, would I really want to realize that my last meal consisted of liquid vegetables? Wouldn’t I demand a do-over? In times of pain, boredom, anxiety or duress, it is the thought of rack of lamb with rosemary or brie on sourdough that compels me to keep on keeping on, that allows me to resist the temptation to see life as utterly and insanely futile. The fact is, I see food — good food, that is, as I’m a great believer in quality over quantity – as one of life’s redeeming features. “Like Water for Chocolate” comes to mind.

Don’t get me wrong. I go to the gym regularly, watch what I eat (“Moderation is the key,” Mom always said), and have been to more than one yoga class (even if the ‘downward dog’ does leave me lightheaded, I try it again each time I go.) I limit my alcohol intake, am drug-free with the rare exception of an ibuprofin or two, and think about, if I don’t actually practice, the possibility of meditation as an antidote to stress (I like to think that fantasizing about a vacation in South America approaches meditation.) I just don’t know if I can be as healthy as “L” is intending to be without losing my joie de vivre. Will the benefits outweigh the losses? Will my sense of humor suffer for it? Will I still be fun to be around, a kick in the pants, the life of the party? Will my sense of self remain warped, or will it shrink down to size? I don’t know if I could bear that.

Perhaps I’ll try limited doses of juicing and yoging. A day here, a day there; work it into my life, like vitamin supplements or eyebrow waxing. If I like it, I might choose to do a whole week now and again. And if not, well… let’s just say I’m not throwing out my stash of Gourmet magazine just yet.

One Response to “Food for Thought”

  1. You’re such a chicken

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