I can’t eat… In most areas of life, I think of myself as an “I can” person. I am an optimist. I think things will usually work out well, with a little patience, grace and faith. For some reason, when it comes to food and eating, I have developed a very negative attitude.
For myself and those close to me, I probably even come across as the “food police,” vigilantly reading every label, throwing things out that were purchased before a latest research discovery, putting things back on the shelf that contain: canola oil, high fructose, trans fats, too many chemical additives, nitrates, nitrites, bromated bleached flour, and a host of other non-food poisons populating most processed foods. But, I am turning over a new attitude! I am going to start being a “can eat” person, in sync with the rest of my philosophy of life.
This attitude transformation started with Ash Wednesday, when I “gave up” processed food for lent. Now, mind you, since I don’t eat a lot of processed foods anyway, I thought this would be more of a cleansing time than a new dietary plan.
But, really, I didn’t realize how often I reach for the little processed snacks I do allow myself. And, now, when I want some multigrain chips made with good oils, and good grains, I will stop myself. And, when I think maybe I will just have a few crackers with my olive spread, I will say no and try to think about what I will have in place of those things. I will find myself sauteing some portabellas with some balsamic vinegar, or making a salad of grapefruit and avocado, or having my new “soda” find of San Pellegrino with a little balsamic (yum), or making a tomato and bread salad with my real bread and more balsamic, or some kimchi or sauerkraut, a handful of nuts, a couple of dates, or maybe just a piece of cheese–which, yes, is processed, but I favor sheep or goat cheese, usually from Spain or Italy, where the processing is minimal. The point is, there is a lot of really good food I can, do and want to eat, and it is time I begin to enjoy and savor that fact, rather than thinking from an attitude of deprivation.
So many things that I can’t eat, I don’t really want, if I can think of something better. It’s all habit. We eat the way we are used to eating. Changing those patterns is challenging, but entirely possible, and worth the effort. I am so thankful for all of the delicious real food I have available to me. So many starving, suffering people in the world. Too much to be thankful for to spend any moment of my life even imagining deprivation at the loss of a multigrain chip or two. Good grief, even writing this down makes me feel silly to have ever mourned that loss.
There is absolutely nothing I do not or should not eat that isn’t replaceable. Well–maybe bacon. Hmm. Is that a processed food? Oh, c’mon, let me have just a tad of fantasy life here, my little guilty pleasure. And the Costco version does not have nitrites and nitrates. I love bacon.
But, in general, my new mantra is: “I can eat…and there is so much to be enjoyed there.