Awhile ago I'm certain that I promised a post devoted to the distinct lack of simple carbohydrates and sugar in my life, and what better time to fulfill that promise than when you've got a serious bone to pick with, like, all of the world?
No better time! crow the cowering minions I keep hunched under my desk to rub my feet and feed me compliments on the regular. They keep it real, those minions.
Those of you who know me* know that bandwagons are not my thing. In fact, if I see one rumbling over the horizon, chockablock full of festoons and pageantry and 'inclusive statements,' I will absolutely, 100% of the time wrinkle my nose in consternation, turn on one heel, and march away until that forsaken racket is out of earshot. (See: Laurel Dailey's on-record reactions to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Crossfit, The west half of Los Angeles, most bands, all members of the Millennial Generation [of which I am, yes, a member], coffee, IPAs, All Other Things In Life, glass houses, etc.) So joining a cause or making a life change are not things I take lightly, is what I'm saying.
I'm well aware of all the hand-wringing and pearl clutching and tsk-tsking inherent with nutritional choices** and I get it. One day you're hunting and gathering your meal from your local CSA box, the next you're eating cereal made from Psyllium husks and chia seeds and participating in the Scottish caber toss as part of your fitness routine. My issue with most of that malarkey is that it fails to recognize the multi-faceted, deeply nuanced, inherently complicated nature of our relationship to food, both as citizens of the United States and, more importantly, as members of a capitalistic society whose bottom line will always be money. You take a good, long look into the industry of corn in this country and tell me I'm wrong.
Anyway, the point is, I'm no expert and I certainly make no claims in favor of harnessing my nutritional mojo. But I did make a choice for myself in May that pretty radically shifted my perspective on...well, a lot of things, actually. I decided to ditch simple carbohydrates and sugar for good. Kicked to the curb. Dumped. Fired. Excommunicated. The choice was made, quite simply, for my own benefit. I'd like to set myself up to succeed in life rather than fail. It wasn't made arbitrarily or for aesthetic reasons. It wasn't made with a handful of caveats attached to it. And it's not something I'd use as ammo for a deathly round of finger pointing, either. For me, it just made sense: Ditch the bread, rice, sugar, et al and live a happier life.
Turns out, it's not so bad. In fact, now that I'm settling into the 'lifestyle' portion of this shift, I'm finding it highly preferable to whatever it was I was doing before (a scattershot blend of hedonism, gluttony, and groupthink, I suspect). My taste buds have started to adjust and change and prefer (even crave) different things than they used to. Crazy, right? At least, that's what I thought to myself on a recent wedding shoot while I was hoovering a plate of broccoli instead of the wedding cake nearby. But even this pup can change, so if I have to hear one more of you explain to me that you can't make a change for the benefit of your life (whether it be emotional, relational, nutritional, vocational, whateveral), Imma let you finish. But then I'm going to shove broccoli stalks in your ears and scream, "DID I STUTTER?" until you break down in tears. Because it's not a matter of cans or can'ts. It's a matter of willingness. So if you'd like to admit that you're too lazy or stubborn or unwilling to cut X out of your life even though X, like, totally makes you feel so bad all the time, then maybe--maybe--I'll use that broccoli for a nice slaw*** we can share instead. Because admitting you're a total knucklehead is always the first step.
I learned that in therapy, of course.
Anyway, back to the part where I've got a bone to pick with the entire world. The thing with this low-carb lifestyle is that it's not too difficult to adhere to in real world terms. It's not all crying in the corner with a plate of uncooked chicken breast and a fistful of kale. I can usually find myself satiated in nearly every environment my travelin' lifestyle flings me to. Every environment, that is, except for the Honolulu Airport at 7-o'clock in the morning. I was gearing up to return to the Mainland (and none too pleased to be doing so), and I quickly discovered that my only nutritional options in the airport at that hour were comprised of sugar, flour, and candied fruit.
Listen, I've got nothing against pastries except--oh, yeah. I do. Pastries, what is up? We're still close enough to nighttime for dawn to slap it a quick high five, I'm nauseated from the delirium of waking at 4:30am, and you know what'd make me feel like a total champ? Something--anything--not packing the nutritional equivalent of a steel-toed kick to the gut. But where are the options? Nowhere to be found, as it turns out. I spied every single variety of pastry in existence (even, I suspect, obscure Hungarian ones), but there wasn't a single thing on any menu whose primary ingredient wasn't "high fructose sucker punch." Seriously, I checked.
My rage reached its apex when one of my travelin' buddies Dave pulled out the cooler he'd packed with a few boiled eggs and happily began munching the chicken's gift to humanity. Turns out, for the price of a little forethought, I could also have enjoyed a protein-packed all-in-one on Hawaiian Airlines flight H10. So I guess this pup still has some tricks to learn.
Can't win 'em all.
*I feel like most of what I say should be prefaced in this way, 1) to prove that I do have friends--so, so many friends--and 2) to further give substance to the idea that I'm not a preternaturally confident nut job with a dearth of opinions and that there's part of me that's still mooring somewhere on Dock Real World.
**Take your pick: Red wine's good for you, then bad for you, then cancer-preventing, then cancer-causing, in the span of about three weeks, and that's merely one example from hundreds of thousands of "studies" performed by "experts" and faithfully spat all over the "Internet" by "Nervous Nancies" otherwise known as "writers."
***Yeah, I know the link I posted isn't a recipe for broccoli slaw, but it is a delicious broccoli recipe, so quit bellyaching.