Wednesday, July 06, 2011

new development

My drive to write usually comes from a need to be understood, to be heard, a need that for me is almost primal, as it feels ancient, and stems (you guessed it) from my childhood. This is probably why I feel so comfortable sharing my deepest darkest.

I've tried lately to share the more upbeat aspects of my life, but that shit wears thin for me. I like to keep it real yo. (Can you guess I've been watching The Wire? Mos def.)

Speaking of Primal, in the midst of a death in the family (another one, yes, I know. It's fucked up but I don't want to get into it) I was reading a book, Why We Get Fat, And What To Do About It, not only because I am interested in shedding the couple extra inches of fat on my butt, but because I love Gary Taubes and what he has to say about diet and nutrition. I read his previous book and loved that too.

If you know me, you know I have a tendency to embrace various inspiring methods toward healing with gusto, only to abandon them later. I've done this with yoga, vegetarianism and chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. The same could happen with my most recent blast of good feelings and hope, based on what I read in Gary's book.

Basically, I've gone Primal. I already knew that my emotional state was tied closely to my diet. Last March when I read The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Kieth, I stopped being vegetarian and sought out local farms from which I could buy grass-fed beef and raw milk, pastured pork, poultry and eggs. It changed me drastically. I gave up soy, nonorganic corn, got rid of anything processed. I still believe in it.

But I started slipping into my black holes again, growing depressed and hating myself like old times, wracked with guilt that I was All Wrong.

Primal is basically Atkins with an emphasis on the unprocessed. Real food, minus grains, starches, sugar. I'd already given up wheat and liked the effects, but I'd been eating more rice, beans and corn. And chocolate and ice cream. Plus a ton of yogurt.

I'm calling it an experiment. That way if it doesn't work I don't have to feel like I failed. I can say that the diet failed, that it was unsustainable.

It is hard to cut so many things from one's diet, easier if I don't go out to eat, which I rarely do, since it's not so good for our financial sitch.

For the past five days I've gone without rice, beans, corn, wheat, sugar (including fruit, save a few strawberries), dairy (except heavy cream) and starchy vegetables.

I have eaten coconut milk, nuts, steak, chicken, sausage, bacon, green beans, collards, kale, salad, eggs and avocado. And cheese. And homemade deer jerky courtesy of one of the Miller cousins.

The first two days of my experiment I had an awful headache. It was an awful day as my body withdrew from carbs like it was withdrawing from caffeine (which I don't normally drink) or some other drug. I was exhausted and so irritable and emotional. The recent death certainly helped with that.

After a teary morning walk I went to see Tree of Life and felt like a prisoner of war, watching Brad Pitt quasi-abuse his kids, and endless beautiful shots of nature and architecture and his crying wife who looked eighteen when she was supposed to be in her forties. She also looked like the director wanted Bryce Dallas Howard but couldn't get her for the project. I would post links but don't feel like doing all that HTML.

It was too poetic, too heavy, too fucking meaningful, for me on that day anyway. Maybe another day I would have lapped it up. After an hour and half I walked out, up the aisle from the front row past a packed house. I wondered how on earth I could be the only one storming out of that masturbatory piece of shit. I asked the teenagers at the concession stand if I could have my money back. They said no and tittered at the crazy lady. I'd become her, the lunatic with the frizzy hair. They probably imagined I lived in a smelly apartment with fourteen cats.

Walking out, I smacked a velvet rope stand. I wanted to pick it up and hurl it through the plate glass window. I pushed the doors open as hard as I could to show those hairy mother fuckers that I was a tough guy and when I got to the parking lot, burst into tears. What was happening to me? I cried all the way home, called my mom, tore into her about various things, including my childhood. Nice. She was, in a word, awesome. She listened, she didn't deny, she cried along with me. We bonded, and that was when she told me she is sure that Meg Ryan was on As The World Turns in 1962.

Afterwards I felt calm.

The next morning my headache was gone.

The next morning energy returned.

Maybe it's a combination of things. Emotional catharsis, Dietary catharsis.

My body is no longer running on carbs (if I am doing this correctly). Food cravings are gone. My mood is steady and bright the way it was when I first cut out processed foods and upped my animal fat and protein intake. My body is in ketosis, the state of burning fat for fuel. I'm exercising less, but feeling slimmer already. Feeling kind of like a big carnivorous cat. Thinking about starting a pull-up routine. Old school. Push-ups. Dips. Squats. Sprints. I read about it here.

We'll see if it sticks.

Thanks for reading.


Amelia Plum said...

great post. never underestimate the power of a good emotional catharsis. i love the bit about you and your mom. it's so sad, lovely and funny all at the same time.
i hope things continue to go well with the experiment. i admire your food resolve. i have a hard time cutting anything out of my diet. hope you enjoy your weekend. xox

Megh said...

YAY!! I have the feeling this is going to be really good! Don't forget to up the bone broth, healthy fats, and organ meats, if you can -- a lot of people seem to find that these make a big difference. We've been off all this (except for fermented dairy) since February (me since Nov., really), and it is definitely worth it. The beginning definitely can be pretty rough. Let me know if you need anything -- help, advice, someone to listen, a quart of emergency broth... :) Hugs!

Elise Abrams Miller said...

thanks AP! you're a love as always. i couldn't give up this stuff if I didn't read about how evil it is, it's all in the educational perspective. the slimming power is just icing. no really if it made me fat I'd rethink....and thanks Megh—you are just the person i need to advise me through this thing. um, constipation anyone? must order bone broth this week. we'll TAWK.

Amelia Plum said...

prunes can be a lifesaver with constipation. that and taking a priobiotic regularly.

Justicia said...

Um you don't have any extra fat on your butt.......miss you!

Elise Abrams Miller said...

thanks for the butt props, J! I miss you too!!