Saturday, May 21, 2011

How Thoreau Eats.

Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

I don't love everything about Henry David, but I do live this precept. Life gets far too busy, complicated, and messy. We have access to so much. We can watch anything, read anywhere, and keep in touch with every single person we've met since Kindergarten. It is all just a bit too much sometimes. We take thousands of pictures, record every event, and cram our lives with good stuff, mediocre stuff, hard stuff, fun stuff, and just . . . . stuff. But, what do we savor? What really feeds our souls? What really matters?

This is an intensely personal question and varies perhaps from day to day. I think there are a few things that every person would vote on to the "really matters" list: family, God, love, relationships. Of course. But, how does that break down into hourly living? How can I pace my life so that what really matters gets real time and honest attention? Because life isn't lived in sweeping gestures of prioritization. Life is lived one itty bitty minute at a time. And sometimes those minutes slip by very quickly while we are idling our engines figuring out what we want to do next. Well, I speak for myself anyway.

So, what does this have to do with eating? For me, plenty. Not only do we have immediate access to books, movies, and embarassing youtube videos, we also have unlimited access to foods of the world and hundreds, nay, thousands of opinions on how to cook/eat/prepare/buy said food. Thai. Indian. Japanese. Ethiopian. You got it. Kosher. Vegan. Raw. Grilled. Bring it on. But do we really have to eat it all? Do we have to taste every good thing in the world? I won't do every good thing there is to do in this lifetime, and I can still die happy. Do I have to eat every good thing to lead a fulfilling life? I certainly hope not.

In my loooong quest to figure out how to make food and eating and body image all work out, I've created several plans. I've even followed some of them. I know quite a bit about nutrition by now. I also know enough to know that you can find someone to support or condemn pretty much any plan you come up with. Eating involves decision making. Every bite is a decision with sometimes much too much emotional baggage informing that decision.

It is just food.

I'm fully aware that I need that sentence tatooed on my eating hand more than probably anyone reading this. But, I don't believe in tatoos, so I'll have to figure something else out. Still, I struggle with this. But, it is just food. It is fuel. And there is no reason that every day be a field trip through the gastronomical adventures this modern age has to offer. So, in the spirit of my transendental kindred spirits, I am experimenting with simplicity. I am going to cut way down on my decision making regarding food. Fewer meals, fewer decisions, fewer minutes wasted worrying and wondering. Lots of people all over the world eat basically the same food every day. There are countless other ways to fill my life with variety. Heavens my three children throw me curve balls hourly. I mean, do you know how many different ways there are to spill milk and/or break a glass? I've lost count. They keep me hopping.

Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

I'll keep you posted. I'll have a pocket of meal planning time wide open. Or maybe I'll use it to learn Russian.

1 comment:

  1. I've felt this lately as well. Too much stuff all around - too many possessions, too much food, too many things to keep me busy.

    As far as your quest to rid your diet of sugar and white flour I have to say reading the South Beach Diet book helped my perspective and helped me stay motivated. I also love how it limited my food choices. It really saved me time and energy when it came to deciding what I was going to eat every day. I also happened to be the skinniest I've ever been when I followed it strictly and I felt great too. Hmm, maybe I should get back to that again. It certainly would help get rid of these last few baby pounds that are hanging on for dear life!