Day 119

1PM:

We’ve been through a lot: burgers at the cottage, chicken thighs with new marinades, obsessed-over Sheppard’s Pie, the never-ending roasted chicken saga, T-bone steaks the size of my face from the butcher’s (and I will ignore the endless years of dry-ass Christmas/Thanksgiving turkeys).  Meat and me.  Over the last few days, I’ve tested my tastes – chicken and wine, steak gluttony, impeccable sushi/sashimi – and I don’t miss meat.  I don’t crave it and I don’t miss it, not enough anyway.

A couple of days ago, I wrote about giving up the “magic pill” dream of vegetarianism/veganism saving me from this blackness.  Fine.  Accepted.  I believe I need to have the serenity/respect to accept that my restrictive personality is something that I cannot change fundamentally.  I may be able to turn down its volume (when the blackness turns it up a few thousand decibels), as we have been doing, but it is an imperfection of the ME version of ME.  As such, my restrictive personality, if this is an imperfection and a flaw (a knot in the wood, a beauty mark that makes my house unique, a home and no less stable AS OPPOSED TO a cancer, a tool of the blackness), makes it so that I’ll need to either mandate daily portions OR mandate regular meals and times (breakfast at 7AM, snack at 10AM…), which would lead me to obsesses/fuss/distress over something new…

Given these, would I still do it?  Taking the food solution side of it away (which, let’s be truthful, this level of understanding is a sign of growth and gained understanding a perspective gained), would I go down that road?

I would have to be very careful…

“While most ED patients begin to have symptoms before they start a vegetarian diet, it is likely that the dietary restrictions become subsumed under the all-embracing motivational force that drives the ED. Notably, Bardone-Cone et al. (2012) found that most ED patients report vegetarianism in their history, with those further along the continuum of recovery being less prone to this dietary pattern. This supports the O’Connor et al. (1987) observations made more than 25 years ago that, for most ED patients, avoidance of meat does not precede the onset of the ED symptoms. This indicates that motivation for the dietary restriction in these cases is likely linked to the higher need to seek thinness than other reasons for choosing vegetarianism. This supports treatment recommendations that emphasize the importance of motivational factors in determining the appropriateness of vegetarianism and the idea that a “vegetarianism holiday” may be helpful for those whose onset is clearly or likely after the onset of their ED” (http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/information/anorexia/vegan-vegetarian-relationship-rates).

“Veganism is not an Eating Disorder … but that doesn’t mean that people with eating disorders don’t turn to veganism because they’re too scared to consume the excess calories in fat and meat.  Before you get upset, remember that I’m speaking from experience here, as well as from observation. When I was looking for a way to justify eating a low calorie, low fat, “detoxifying” (read: weight loss) diet, I turned to veganism because it seemed like the best of all possible worlds. I could eat–real food, not too much, mostly plants–and still get away with living in my ED. … Let me make this very clear: I am NOT saying that veganism is an eating disorder, or that everyone who chooses to be a vegan is a disordered eater. However, in conversation with many women who are still struggling to recover from ED and have turned to a plant-based diet, I’ve heard too many echoes of my own justifications” (http://inmyskinnygenes.com/2013/09/16/why-im-not-a-vegan-part-7-veganism-and-eating-disorders/).

Anonymous asked: What if I was a vegetarian before my eating disorder started? Would I be able to continue with that or would I have to throw it out the window for recovery? And after I’m recovered would I be able to start again or could that trigger the eating disorder? Because the thought of a living being being killed for my enjoyment really upsets me but I know that in order for me to recover I’ll probably have to eat meat since it’s one of my fear foods. I don’t know if it’s just the disorder talking...

Here, you really need to use your own better judgement. Restricting your intake whilst in recovery from a restrictive eating disorder is extremely counterproductive, and you need to keep this in mind.

As long as you are physically capable of eating meat without feeling overwhelmed with guilt and anxiety, then it’s good. A friend of mine who is a ‘recovered vegetarian’ once accidentally ate some meat; her reaction was very, very irrational, and even she later admitted that it was a disordered one of ‘breaking the rules and eating FATTY meat you FATTY’, not a vegetarian one of disrespecting the animals. That’s just an example of where ED is much stronger than the ‘moral vegetarian’ reasons; this is not where you want to end up in recovery.

 Recovery means total flexibility around food, weight and body. How to best achieve this for yourself, only you can tell” (http://fyoured.com/post/28145076503).

…but if I’m not doing it to restrict, then could I go down that road?  At this point in the recovery, do I have the wisdom/love to know this could be an awesome opportunity to do some good in the world and do I have the courage/strength to try?

I would still want the occasional opportunity with my wife to enjoy something food-amazing, so… omnivore when it serves (i.e. food memories/experiences), vegetarian when I must, vegan when I can?  Sounds pretty amazing.

To be continued…

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