Okay, by now anyone who reads my posts with any regularity probably knows that I have an extreme interest in FOOD. Cooking it, eating it, developing recipes for it, finding ways to make it harmonize with a healthy lifestyle, where it comes from, who grew it, what went onto it or into it before it became food, and so forth.
I've been struggling with some issues lately, not sure how I feel about some things. This has been brought on by a number of different Things happening in my universe.
One is a good friend who is losing a lot of weight and trying to health-up her eating habits, by going on a 30 day "cleanse" program. It sounds a lot healthier and more common-sense than most of the cleanse programs I've seen, but it still involves buying a lot of a particular product and substituting shakes and powder-mixed-with-water kinds of things for actual Food. And she honestly seems healthy and strong and full of energy, and she's really happy with how she feels, not to mention getting into jeans that have been at the bottom of her drawer for a couple of years.
Another is a post by a friend of mine over at Gotta Sing Gotta Pray--this is a blog related to my "real life" stuff of my day job, which is church music. Alan is a fabulous musician and poet, and the bulk of the post might or might not be interesting to you...but scroll all the way down to the bottom, and you will see his recipe for "Poetic Alfredo Sauce": one part butter, two parts cream, three parts cheese. Add salt and pepper. Simple, "real" food. And at the very least something that's not gonna get anyone into the jeans they haven't worn in a couple of years, unless one was maybe pregnant a couple of years ago.
The convergence of these two things has gotten me thinking about food and weight and health...honestly, I've always tended to go with Michael Pollan's "Eat all the junk food you want, as long as you make it yourself" (Food Rules, #39) maxim--in which case, that Alfredo sauce absolutely qualifies. And in moderate quantities, over whole wheat pasta, once in a while, it wouldn't be a bad thing. Especially if you know where the butter and cream and cheese come from.
Then again, my waistline and thighs attest to the reality that maybe this isn't quite the way to go, especially for someone like me who really enjoys and gets a huge kick out of making my own food, junk or otherwise. Someone who has a crazy-good sense of smell and who enjoys the beautiful layers of some simple (or not so simple) and home-cooked food the way I enjoy the layers and colors of a Mahler symphony. There's joy, and there's art, and there's the feeling of being a human being truly enjoying being human.
Part of me thinks, maybe some kind of "cleanse" (whether literal/commercial or just a drastic simplification of foods and food types to let my system get some of the sugar and fat cravings out and see if I can do a "taste reset" on what and how much I eat) might be a good idea...the other part wonders longingly if subsisting on the culinary equivalent of the early music of Phillip Glass for a week or God Forbid a month is something that would actually be healthy for me. (To extend the analogy, I'd classify most processed foods in the "elevator music" or "anything by Neil Diamond" category--nondescript, backgroundy, distracts from the silence but doesn't actually have any real substance.) (I considered putting Barry Manilow in that sentence too, but, hey, He Writes the Songs...)
I am not someone who equates "being thin" with "being healthy"...but on the other hand, I suspect that though most of what I eat is whole and real food, minimally and ethically produced, I could use a lifestyle change of sorts. And if being "green" goes along with "going with the the natural needs and desires of the earth and the body," any kind of drastic "stop eating food" plan just seems...unnatural.
I'd be interested to know other people's thoughts on all this...I mean, obviously, I know the "everything in moderation" concept, but...where's the balance? How do y'all do it?