Thursday, June 10, 2010

First Brave Soul

This is the first post of a personal story.
My friend Kelsey (philososaurus!) has been kind enough to write a short bit about her relationship with noms

Guest blogger here. First, I suppose, a bit about myself. I dig philosophy, feminism, art, the color green, literature, pizza, spoons, mumblty peg, pizza, 3-part harmonies, veggies, pizza, & theatre. I really like pizza. I’m a decent, but uncreative cook and recently asked Emmaraptor if it was a good idea to roll tofu in baking soda before frying it. I’m a philosophy graduate student about to make the small fish, big pond move to NYC. I’m an addict, specifically I indulge in twitter (philososaurus! philososaurus!), talking about my rabbit, Yoshi, (see below), and talking about Yoshi on twitter. I think blogging is the beez-kneez (I have my own: ). This is especially true to this blog. The task that Emmaraptor has taken on is absolutely pertinent to the daily lives of women (and everyone!) and I’m eager to be apart of the discussion. I’m thrilled she has committed an Internet community to do so. I look forward to chatting about gud fudz, specifically through the lens of near-and-dear topics such as feminism, philosophy, and food politics.

Trials and Tribulations of a Hypoglycemic: My Complicated Relationship with Food
Most of what I know about food is related to animal treatment and pesticides, which says substantially more about the ethical standpoint of a particular business than about what I’m putting in my body. The rest of my very limited knowledge comes from what I know about what I put into my rabbit’s body. I know, for example, that bananas should be a treat (for rabbits) as they have little nutritional value (for rabbits) and that they (still rabbits) will choose the treat over their nutritional food or that cucumbers are mostly water and, thus, not as nutritious as we (people) like to think they are for us/them (people/rabbits).

I very much enjoy food, but often my relationship with food occurs when I purchase it. I’m particular (read: obsessed) with who I give my money to. I will not buy a product from Kraft (on purpose). My problem is that, after leaving the grocery store, after the economic exchange is done, I often lose my connection with the food that I put in my body. Essentially I buy smart, full of good ideas and good intentions, but I eat stupid. I don’t balance my meals efficiently and tend to repeat the same meals, rather than get a good variety of veggies. I’ve been able to skate by doing so, until recently.

I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia back when I was in high school when I went through a stint of passing out in the shower. The problem was certainly poorly managed low blood sugar issues, but when combined with low blood pressure (thank you, steaming hot shower) had dangerous effects. When I became a vegetarian (or started to become at least; I recently learned about renit, which means I’ve been eating stomach intestines for the 2 years I’ve claimed to be a veg), I paid particular attention to making sure I was getting enough of everything, calculating closely my sugars and irons. I thought I had most of it under control; I ate every 2-3 hours, alternating snack and meal. Then I started dating a nutritionist…
I began complaining about how I felt nauseous every day around one o’clock or so and that, by four, I had a headache. When I spent the weekend with him, I felt just fine. He would ask me around these times how I was feeling. I thought he was being very caring (he was), but in actuality he was monitoring me. At the end of the three days or so he convinced me to allow him to “nutrify” me, which means to chalk me full of vitamin D, B12 and some yellow horse pill that makes my constantly chapped lips smooth again.
We talk a lot about “voting with your fork,” animal treatment, organic farming, physiology. A lot of theorizing goes on. He seems to have fixed a lot of problems, treated a lot of easily treatable things (Except for my hypochondria; that seems to have flared up again). We both got burns around similar times. His has healed, no scars. Mine still busts open when I hit it too hard on the window. Immediately he comments, “you’re probably lacking zinc and vitamin C.” Not a big deal, as these are all treatable deficiencies. Good to know! (pours glass of orange juice)
Then my hypoglycemia seemed to becoming more and more problematic on a daily basis. We were out museum-ing and movie-ing when we had to cut it short so I could get a meal in. This is not okay with me. I’m not okay with interruptions like this. I have things to be doing, galleries to be walking through, drives to be going on, dancing to do. Upon arriving at my then abode, he headed for the stairs, which we always take instead of the elevator. And I realized that if I tried to go up the stairs that I honestly felt that I’d pass out (which I hadn’t done since I was 18). After getting some “gud fudz,” he sat me down to have a serious chat. I’m thinking, “holy crap he is going to dump me… Oh geez he is going to say the l-word…”

He talked to me about type two diabetes.

Does anyone remember the Babysitters Club episode where what’s-her-face has diabetes and has to eat a muffin? She passed out a few times, too. At the time, this was my only connection to how serious these issues could be. Ok fine, this was still how I perceived the seriousness of low blood sugar…

It never occurred to me that this could have a long term effect outside of having to food good and good for you a lot and often. Bummer, right? The conversation was a bit of a wake up call. I know nothing about diabetes other than some people so actually pronounce it die-uh-beat-us and that people can lose a foot from it, which I learned through Scrubs (I should either stop watching so much TV, or watch more so that I know about diabetes).
So this is my (current) frustration with my relationship with food. How indulgent can I be? How serious should I take this? Should I seek out vitamin/nutritional supplements (for this and other issues such as the vitamin b12, zinc, etc)? What does it mean to be “on the path to diabetes?” How quick can I get off of this path? And, constantly, is what I’m eating actually good for me?


  1. i read a book once where this whole families health was terrible and i believe she had a kid with diabetes, they all became raw food junkies and it solved their problems. I think when health issues are involved raw food's the way to go, hard though. good luck

  2. I always wonder that, too, whether or not what I'm eating is even good for me or has any nutritional value at all. Sometimes I feel like I'm just shrugging my shoulders when I eat something and using the Rally's "you gotta eat" mantra. Definitely a far cry from Thoreau's idea that a meal should feed the soul, too. (Also, Erykah Badu said that, too!)

    I think the path to diabetes could be averted if you're young, but I'd definitely go see a doctor and deal with it sooner than later. Sometimes I get freaked out about how much energy and will power it takes to be healthy. Even eating six small meals a day rather than three big ones. I never have time for that!

  3. I can completely understand the "good intentions, but eat stupid" feeling.
    I LOVE grocery shopping, picking out things I know are good for me and that I should be making meals with...but the time...

    I still go through big cycles of buying, cooking and eating extremely well...and then living off of total crap. I get thrown off so easily and I'm trying to find the best ways to avoid this from happening.
    I am the queen of food excuses!

  4. I can understand your predicament. I don't have hypoglycemia or diabetes, I suffer with a little of both. I have PCOS and it causes me to have insulin resistance. My own body's endocrine system doesn't send the right hormonal signals when they are needed most. Thus, I have extreme sugar lows, where I get headaches and feel like passing out. And I have extreme sugar highs, where I get headaches and feel like vomiting. Oh, and I'm a pastry chef.
    I have to get tested for diabetes every year and I take meds that are for helping control diabetes. It sucks. I love food, sometimes more than people, but I can't just go without and I can't just eat something cause I need too. I have to plan out my meals and snacks, make sure I eat them and monitor what my body needs. I get crazy cravings, this is my body saying I'm low on a vitamin or mineral. Luckily I have taken enough nutrition classes and done enough reading to know what foods I need to eat when I'm craving something I shouldn't eat.
    It's a balance.

  5. I ate a breadstick that had cheese in it tonight. And a terrible house wine. Carbs and sugar. Carbs and sugar. Bad, hypoglycemic, bad.

    I also had a muffin. I nearly died. It was one of those, you only add milk (and I didn't use organic! ACH!).

    I'm bad at this.

    But I'm getting better! Swear! I'm taking vitamins and borage oil (I'm on my way to a supplement that supplies me with the fatty oils I like since I don't eat fish) as well as keeping track of my magnesium and zinc deficiencies.

    The catch is, I'm living in Hannibal, MO, where, apparently, there is no such thing as an organic vegetable. I always thought that seeing living organic or living vegetarian as expensive was a total farce.... I'm not kidding people! It's like that here! I'm checking out the farmer's market tomorrow, but mostly I've been playing the "how to best eat all this food that I've already bought that's terrible for me" game.