Saturday, June 8, 2013

Day 90 Finally getting food to do for me what I've wanted all along

For as long as I can remember (close to 50 years), I've wanted food to make me happy. I became an emotional eater in the 5th grade, after a lengthy traumatic experience and a move to a new school. I discovered that chocolate bars and other candy from the little store down the street made my anxiety recede into the background. I wouldn't have defined it that way then, of course. I just knew it made me feel better. So I spent all my allowance on movies (another escape) and candy. And when I got to college, I added donuts and hot fudge sundaes and french fries and all kinds of foods to that numbing arsenal.

In my early 20s, I added alcohol to the survival kit. I didn't stop eating. For some unknown reason, I could eat all I wanted and drink too and get numb and stay that way. Eventually the drinking became the primary anesthetic and in 1976, I crossed the line into alcoholism and stayed there for another 13 years of increasing misery and illness. When I got sober in 1989, I went right back to food. My treatment center made sweets and caffeine available at all hours and candy helped me through the awkwardness of those first sober years and consoled me as I broke up with my long-term partner and moved and changed careers and walked through the deaths of my parents and several beloved pets and loneliness and overworking and financial insecurity. Food was a faithful friend but it never made me happy, just numb.

I was attracted to the plant-based food plan because of the energy, vitality, and happiness I saw in the people in the documentaries I watched. I wanted all of that. And I've gotten it. Eating mostly fruits and vegetables, a little of certain grains (quinoa, brown rice) and a little meat, I am happy. Happy in a sustained way, in a wake-up-happy-every-morning way, in a relentlessly cheerful way. At last food is doing what I wanted it to do all along. I was just eating the wrong foods.

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