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Clear Your Plate

You Are What You Eat, So Be Nice To Plants and Bees and Therefore Your Own Self by Ashley Addair on Etsy.

I’ve been wondering lately why it is that we find it so hard to do the things that are good for us.

I imagine many others are probably thinking the same thing this time of year as they haul their holiday-heavy bodies from warm beds and foist themselves out the door to the gym, forgo cookies for carrot sticks, try and bite their tongue from putting voice to all of those acerbic thoughts swirling inside.

Is it the problem of too much choice? The devil’s smile manifesting itself in temptation?

Sometimes I think people just get tired of being good. It’s that same old idea of good equating to dull. Where’s the edge, the zazz, in going to bed at 10:30, in getting up and eating exactly one and a half cups of doctor recommended bran cereal?

If I was still cosseted within the tidy world of academia, I would be writing my (slightly unoriginal) thesis on how eating has become the new religion.

No one (myself included) just eats anymore. You’re Vegetarian or Vegan or Paleo or doing the 100 Mile diet. You’re on Weight Watchers or cleansing or doing a juice fast. Carbs are out. Protein is in. Complex Carbs are in. Protein is out.

Searching for meaning within a size 2 dress, or the cryptic numbers that emerge daily on a scale, we eventually find a religion that welcomes us, suits us. Its basic philosophy makes sense, we buy its bible, adhere to the commandments laid out therein.

Each one has its own savior (whole foods, protein, nothing with a face) and its own Beelzebub waiting in the wings (sugar, fat, calories, starch).

We confess our sins- that slice of cheesecake, that contraband hot dog- we are judged and forgiven by our fellow disciples.

And then, if we are devoted enough, if we follow the commandments well enough, if we avoid sinning, then, then my patient friends – REDEMPTION! In the form of a new body, increased energy.

Sinners reborn as saints.

Eagerly we preach, take up the soapbox and seek to convert others. I’m no less guilty of this than anyone else, of course I believe my way is the Right Way otherwise why would I be doing it?

But the thing about religion (real religion) is that even if you don’t agree with it, it gives so much comfort to so many. And so too, these sometimes strange eating habits; we live in so much uncertainty. We exist in a near-constant state of low-level terror, afraid of dying, afraid of being unlovable and thus, unloved. We’re afraid of our own mortality and what our approaching expiry date says about our (sometimes) meaningless lives.

I type this as I sit here with my green tea and my bowl of cottage cheese, another disciple at the altar, another attempt to attain divinity.

Amen.

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