Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Food For The Former Foodie

The book I'm reading now is Leaving Jetty Road by Rebecca Burton.  Lovely book so far and I can REALLY relate to it.   One of the characters is a Vegetarian with an eating disorder.

I wonder if there is any correlation between vegetarianism and eating disorders.   I'm not saying one CAUSES the other.   I just wonder if the type of person who is likely to have an eating disorder is also the type of person who might become vegetarian.
I had/was both.   The eating disorder came first.  It started in February 2004 and was in response to two things.

1. The upcoming wedding of my very beautiful and thin sister--which included a somewhat jovial request for the bridesmaids to keep their weight in check.   This is what gave me the desire to be thin.

2. A spiritual crisis.  I think it came from having weird dreams and reading about dreams--the idea that they could have a metaphysical basis.   On one hand, the idea excited me.  On the other hand, it terrified me.     I started reading books about higher selves and how there are parts of our memory we don't easily  have access too.   I felt this loss of control--that there were parts of me that I was totally clueless about.   I needed to regain that feeling of control so I became obsessed with calorie counting and food weighing.   I quickly lost tons of weight and felt not only a sense of control, but a great amount of confidence and success.   

I became vegetarian seven months later.   It actually began as a nutrition thing.  But then I bought a book about the Vegan lifestyle and became more passionate about the environmental and animal concerns.

I do not in anyway want to say that Vegetarianism is bad and leads to eating disorders.

I am very pro-vegetarian.  I think it's better for the environment, for your health, and for animals.   I think it's an excellent way of life.    I just think certain people with certain types of personality can take things too far.   And by certain people, I mean people like me. 

What is too far?   I don't know.    Maybe obsessively checking ingredients?   Maybe putting obsession of purity over morals.   An example might be freaking out over eating one marshmallow because it happens to have gelatin.  Eating the one marshmallow might make you feel impure and yucky, but it's not going to have a huge horrible impact on any animal.  Another example would be throwing away all your old leather shoes just so you can appear to be a perfect vegan.   Throwing away your shoes isn't going to bring the cow back to life.  

The thing is.....I have the type of personality that can go in those crazy directions.  That's one of the reasons why I'm sticking to being just Vegetarian and not vegan.    

Anyway, things are better now for me.   I won't say I'm free of eating disorders because I think once you have it, you ALWAYS have it.  And you always have the danger of returning to it.   When I get very angry and upset, one of the first things I think is I'm going to stop eating.

But for the most part, I'm okay.   No more calorie counting or weighing myself ten times a day. My metabolism was extremely messed up for awhile, but it's better now.   

I'm still a vegetarian.   I'm content with that, but try to eat less dairy/eggs, and try to stick to free range type stuff.   I try not to be anal about it though, and for the most part I'm doing a good job with that.

I'd like to try some Vegetarian restaurants in Australia--mostly because you can't really find them in Fort Worth.  We have one, but I don't really like it.   

I'm looking through the Internet for restaurants now.  If any of you know of some in Sydney and Canberra, please tell me!  Or if you know that one of these restaurants has gone to heaven, please tell!   We went out looking for the Maurice Sendak inspired restaurant in San Francisco--searched and searched.  Totally lost.  Then we found out it had closed down years ago.

Here are ones I've found so far. 

1. Badde Manors   looks cool. It's in Glebe near the Broadway shopping center. Full vegetarian. I'm not sure if there's anything Jack will eat. We might make it one of those meals where we give him a smoothie and tell ourselves it has enough protein to get him by until dinner. They have a dip platter. That might work. He likes hummus.

2. Iku Wholefood Kitchen looks nice and casual--good for a quick snack of meal.   It seems to have a lot of locations: CBD, Glebe, Bondi, etc.

3. Bodi is near Hyde Park so I figure I should record it.  I don't get too excited about Asian vegetarian restaurants--just because it's usually very easy to find Vegetarian dishes in any Asian restaurant.  There's usually a wide choice.   I WOULD like to find a Korean Vegetarian restaurant--something with fake meat.   I miss Bulgogi!  

4. Govindas looks unique.   It has a Vegetarian Indian buffet.  After you eat, you can watch a movie on weird chairs.  I think I'll skip the movie, but the food looks good.   It's in Darlinghurst. 

That's it for now.   The funny thing is when I had the eating disorder I was very obsessed with food. My life revolved around it.  It's really all I cared about.   When we went on a holiday, the thing that made me most excited was where we would eat.  I would spend hours looking at food and restaurant websites.  Once I started to recover, I stopped caring about food so much.   I became bored with food websites.

When we went to Sydney last year, I had absolutely no interest in researching restaurants or putting any thought into it.    We pretty much just walked into any restaurant that looked fairly okay--very spur of the moment.  

I'm still lacking interest in restaurant research, but I want to do a little bit of it--just because I want to be a little less blind about the whole thing compared to last year.   I SHOULD just make Tim do the research.   He's become a total foodie--works at a cooking school and everything.   Actually, I've told him we're going to eat most meals in our hotel/apartment.   His favorite hobby is cooking.   I don't like going to restaurants much.   So, cooking works out best for all of us.