I was asked by Dietician recently why I became a vegetarian. I gave her the standard “so I will feel better” and “I’m against animal cruelty” (which I am) answers. But after thinking about it, I know being a vegetarian has to do more with my eating disorder and less to do with animals. I know being vegetarian is just an extension of my eating disorder, another way to control my diet.
My first stint into vegetarianism was in 2004. I was working as a bookkeeper for a small health food store and was drawn to the very different world of vegetarianism and veganism. So I slowly started sampling the foods around me like tofu, seitan, and tempeh. I started feeling better, having more energy, and losing weight as I cut out meat. The weight loss lit my eating disorder on fire. I started cutting out more and more foods from my diet. But eventually I left the job and went back to eating meat, where I engaged in other eating disorder behaviors.Something new: Nature’s Path Flax Plus waffles. Now, I’m not a big waffle fan, but I wanted to try something new for my breakfast. These sure didn’t taste like an Eggo waffle. They tasted fresh (although they were frozen) and went perfectly with a little almond butter and sugar free maple syrup. Also at the breakfast party were Greek honey yogurt and fresh blackberries and raspberries. A very satisfying breakfast.
When I went in treatment two years ago, I was not vegetarian. But when they served me what I thought was a big piece of meat, my eating disorder said “Hell, no”, and I told them I was vegetarian. Eating food has always made me feel dirty and tarnished, so by restricting anything, i.e. meat, I would feel clean and good about myself. I realize logically that eating meat or food in general doesn’t contaminate someone or make them dirty. But the idea that there’s still something I can restrict, i.e. meat, is comforting. Just the idea that there are foods that I will not let myself have brings me peace.
Morning snack. Dried mango. I forgot where I picked these up, but they really have me missing Trader Joe’s dried mango. They just weren’t as flavorful and had a sandy texture to it. It might be worth the 30 minute drive to go to Trader Joe’s and pick up the real deal.
I wonder if I will ever totally be over ED. It appears like I’m doing such a good job with my meal plan but my thoughts betray my actions. I’m constantly berated by myself for eating, for being a failure yet again at food. And, yet, there is a strong dichotomy inside. If I wanted to restrict I know one of my members would see to it that it would take place. Her words taunt me. Just try it. Just miss one snack. You remember how good it felt. I want to listen to her voice because she instantly brings me comfort and safety. But there’s the other side of me that enjoys food, that wants to be healthy, and that wants friendships.
Lunch: French green beans, Salt and Vinegar chips, and veggie bacon with avocado on a Griller from Morning Star. I forget what the fruit is. That was also another “let me try something new” purchase from Whole Foods. I don’t know what it was, but it tasted like a plain tangerine. Booo.
Food has always been important to me. I remember as a child I use to bake cookies and cakes when there were no recipes. I just threw a concoction of different ingredients together in a bowl and it somehow turned out edible. I would feed my creations to everyone in the neighborhood. I wonder if there is any coincidence to the fact that this was around the time I developed the eating disorder.This fancy camera work makes me feel upside down. :)Dinner: Almost a repeat of lunch, except we have a mushroom and swiss “burger”, a boat load of French green beans, Salt and Vinegar baked chips, and Oikos honey yogurt. I was surprised at how good my mushroom & swiss “burger” tasted. I don’t know anyone other than me who likes mushrooms.
Even knowing now that my motivation for vegetarianism is largely related to ED, I still won’t be giving it up anytime soon. I like eating healthy. I like Green Monsters. I like coming up with 101 ways to cook tofu. It brings out my creative side. But being a vegetarian doesn’t feel like a choice I’m making anymore. As with an eating disorder, it feels like it controls me. But I can’t face the alternative. It’s restricting at its healthiest.
Snack: vanilla soy milk and Honey Smacks. My fav cereal.We baked Banana Bread today. I love to bake. And this bread is so, so good.Maybe eating healthy and the ED don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Maybe I could find a way to eat healthy, get rid of the ED, and still avoid eating meat. Maybe I could be free of ED and eat healthy because I WANT to. Maybe…