I’m sitting in my car at the top of the Malahat (a local lookout) with a breath-taking view spread out in front of me. Below is a panorama that allows me an eagle eye view from the Gulf Islands on my left, to the US, way in the distance to the right. Behind me, as I write, hundreds of vehicles stream by, trucks with their brakes growling serenaded by the wind so that I can barely hear the slight whisper of a light rain on the sunroof. Clouds scud by overhead and the sun and rain compete with an incredible, fat, vivid rainbow for my attention.
Rather than distracting me, however, this vista and the solitude of my warm, protected perch reclined comfortably on leather seats are helping me to focus on the current task at hand.
Over the past few days, I’ve hit what writers commonly refer to as the ‘wall’. Between familial distractions and my female kitten in her first heat, I’ve been feeling scattered six ways to Sunday and in no frame of mind for writing.
That's not to say that there's been no processing of my reflections on CEDRIC tasks, because there's not an hour that goes by where I don't catch myself on a good thought-line, and I think, ooooh, I should use that as a topic for a blog article. But have the thoughts become keystrokes that lead to printed words in strands that make sense? Hardly. Not until now, anyway.So, as a method of inspiration, I brought pen and paper to this magnificent place today. I am determined to spend some solitary, quality time away from the computer, away from TV, away from my crazy kittens, to capture the gist of my last few day's worth of CEDRIC thoughts. I think that I have reached a point in my process that is becoming more recognizable to me, as I become more aware of my true core beliefs and values; as I silence ‘Duke', my infernal Drill Sergeant; and as I learn how to feed myself in ways that are not only healthier than my former habits, but are actually what I want. This, it seems, comes from deducing what is left after I establish what I DON'T want.
Figuring that out at first seemed an insurmountable hurdle as I was never good at establishing what I would and wouldn't accept. Learning about Healthy Boundaries was an ‘AHA!' moment for me again. CEDRIC is good for giving me a regular amount of ‘AHA!s'. In this case, I reflected back over two decades of constant 24/7 childrearing responsibility, with little help and few breaks. What I wanted or didn't want was often a moot point, as it was out of my fiscal or energetic reach. What I wanted as an individual just didn't matter, as I had to focus on what the kids needed. How does a single parent provide a healthy boundary for their self-care and sense of self when every iota of daylight is spent ensuring healthy boundaries are in place for my charges?
That was then. This is now. Today, I only have myself, my partner and my cats in the immediate family to concern myself with, and its been a perfect time to figure out what things I've been packing along with me emotionally and physically, that I can now afford to let go.I let go of letting the next thing I eat rule my life. After a lifetime of being driven by culturally constructed meal times based on the average prairie farmer's dietary requirements, not mine, I have now stopped eating at traditional times of the day and now only feed myself when I get hungry.
Hubby likes his mealtimes to be ‘traditional' and I sit with him for company, often without feeling the need to eat. Instead of eating anything at all, and a goodly portion of it, I have become much more educated around what is in my food such as additives or unnecessary sugars / sweeteners. I now limit my intake to broiled/boiled/BBQ'd protein and fresh or steamed vegetables, and tons of fresh fruit, all of it organic whenever possible. Instead of having a hazelnut latte loaded with things I don't need, I'll let myself have that treat once a week, and suffice with a cup of dragon pearls green tea or Earl Grey on a daily basis...no dairy, no sugar.
I eat out a lot as hubby and I enjoy exploring the plethora of restaurants in the area, and I am learning what I don't want on my plate when we eat out. If restaurant menus are too ignorant of common sense around the ingredients they use, I certainly can't enjoy what is brought to the table.
Yesterday as I sat at work listening to my belly growl, I munched a few almonds and pecans and pondered where I would go fuel up. I wound up around the corner at a little Chinese restaurant and I ordered the special. The entire meal was a perfect example of what NOT to eat. The spring roll, mostly fried wonton, was LOADED with oil. I didn't dare ask the server about the oil they chose to use, but I wanted to ask how often they change it as well. But the meal was so off the charts awful and far from what I accept as food that I knew it was pointless to beleaguer the waitress who barely spoke English, I knew that I would never be back. The ginger beef was soaked in some sweet sauce that I knew was mostly high fructose corn syrup (HFCS link here). The ramen noodles were fried and drenched with a Chinese soy sauce and although there were boiled vegetables, these were mostly bok choi stem and celery, no nutrition, just water, which was soggily soaked in a dense, salty, cornstarch gravy. I ate about a third of it and couldn't bear to eat another bite.
As I returned to the office, I could feel my body absolutely offended by what I'd just done to it. Overriding my tastes and standards, I felt weakened and almost nauseous. Like I said, that was a real turning point, as I realized that I could no longer ingest the poisons that pass as food. In trying to find my happy place around what my body needs daily to survive, I don't want to relive enduring inadequate nutrition like that, ever again. And as much as I, a self professed gourmand, have loved food in the past, I think I have reached a milestone and there is no turning back to my old, uninformed ways. Where prior to this part of my journey, food was something that was an escape I could count on, it no longer does that for me.Instead, food has become a necessary part of my day, but nothing I get too overly excited about. I don't need food to emotionally stimulate or sedate me.
So now, I go through my days fueled with a passion because all around me, I see how our culture has imposed ‘cues' to encourage the population to eat in a way where they think they are doing the right thing, thanks to clever ad campaigns, when in reality, the influences that drown us in opinions to override our own are working very cleverly to encourage us to harm ourselves.I'm learning that diabetes, obesity and dementia are just three of the outcomes that letting ourselves be blindly led and ruled by the commercial interests who provide the majority of our foods can have. As a result, the culture becomes complicit in, or in cooperation with, our own accelerated demise.
Moderation is NOT the key, with a lot of the products that pass as ‘food'. We all need to re-assess. And it saddens me that so many people are not ready to accept that change in their lives, choosing instead to barrel on, ingesting harmful chemicals in a determined effort to maintain the status quo.
So here I sit, crammed comfortably into the front seat as jake brakes grumble from a passing tandem tractor trailer truck. Its groaning load says ‘Macdonalds' on the sides of the trailer. Ironically, it brings more stuff to Victoria that our bodies don't need but which many of us clamor for, in spite of our own best interests. (HFCS)
There's a calm fury inside me about how duped I've been, but the momentum of that anger, I suspect, is what is going to get me off my wide behind and marching some beautiful springtime scenic trails here in our west coast paradise. I am no longer interested in contributing to my demise, but to my newly improved quality of life. I think I'm finally getting the hang of this, Michelle!
Tina Budeweit-Weeks is a member of the CEDRIC Success Team in the role of staff writer and executive assistant for Michelle Morand. Her philosophy has always been one of self-nurturance and dignity. In support of the complex difficulties clients may experience around regaining a healthy balance, Tina’s writing is designed to sympathize, support, encourage and inform. Although there are many similarities in Tina’s process, she is not a client, but a hard working, behind-the-scenes member of the team, dedicated to helping the CEDRIC Centre stay current and effective.