I’ve done a lot of diet experimentation in my time. Among other things, it’s healed a long term supposedly-incurable disease, and helped me become conscious about the horrific plight of animals in this world and act accordingly.
I’ve experimented with different diets and also with different beliefs about diet. Sometimes, I’ve just tried on those beliefs for size; at other times (more often) I’ve been dreadfully serious about only ever eating this way for my entire life and everyone else should too. I think I’ve learnt quite a lot about not taking stuff too seriously like this.
So here’s a list of foods and drinks I used to exclude from my diet but now don’t!
White rice or white flour or whatever is supposed to be the worst thing you could possibly eat. (E.g. you have to eat brown rice or wholegrain flour or whatever). I do feel healthier when I eat wholegrain stuff, but sometimes I want the higher caloric density or the ease of eating or just the taste of white rice. So what.
Screw it, I like this drink. I don’t know if it’s the phosphoric acid, but it tastes better than the organic agave syrup sweetened cola from expensive health food stores.
I draw the line at drinking aspartame. I also prefer to avoid glucose syrup as much as possible. But just standard white-sugar cola? Once in a while it won’t kill me.
Those fuckers are geniuses at marketing though. I sometimes wonder if I drink Coke because I like it or because they own my brain.
I’ll get back to you on that one.
OK, that’s probably not ALL the explanation that’s needed. I went through periods of excluding black tea, and currently I’m drinking it. I do have other healthier tisanes a lot of the time, but sometimes, screw it, I want tea.
This is the one thing in this article I’m pondering excluding from my diet in a more definitive manner. Yogi Tea makes a good substitute and really black tea doesn’t make me feel that great. For the moment I’m okay with it though.
Lots of people make a big deal about soy. I have to admit that I made such a big deal of it for a while that I still sometimes catch myself feeling ever-so-slightly nervous when I indulge. Here’s why I eat it:
1. It tastes good
2. It’s convenient because so many vegan foods are soy-based
3. It actually – gasp! – doesn’t make me feel bad!
I *have* noticed that when I make my entire dinner out of tofu I won’t feel *that* great afterwards. (I have sometimes done this because it can be just that addictive). But then it’s fatty and fatty food is never supposed to be your entire meal. Or maybe soy in itself is a bit bad but I don’t think it’s *that* bad. Deciding what goes into your diet is all about perspective, and deciding what sacrifices you’re willing to get for what returns.
I made a seriously big deal about soy for a while, and nothing much changed in my life. I then went and made that big a deal out of giving up gluten, and my long-term disease vanished. So, at the very least, my efforts were misplaced.
I believe too much fat is bad for you. Actually, I know this, at least for myself; eating too much fat just makes me feel queasy. I once did a particularly nutty experiment where I consumed about 200ml of olive oil. I felt like I was going to faint, and kept feeling like that for about an hour until I went and had some carbohydrates, which for some reason just instantly made me feel better.
That said, a bit of fat seems to help make meals satisfying, probably because it’s high-calorie. It also makes a good flavour enhancer. Fast food is no accident: a bit of fat on stuff makes it generally more appetising.
Maybe a totally fat-free diet is healthier, but it’s not something I’m willing to undertake at the moment. I’m also not running around in circles in panic at the unhealthiness of my current diet. I think I’m doing fine.
I used to buy into the 80/10/10 diet, a low fat raw food diet mainly consisting of fruit and vegetables. I think I *still* buy into it in the sense that I think it is probably the optimum diet for all humans at least on a theoretical level. (I am open to being wrong on this too).
The trouble is that theory and actual individual humanity are two different things. There are a lot of reasons why the supposedly healthiest-for-everyone 80/10/10 diet so far hasn’t worked for me as an individual human being.
One is because it’s expensive. Sure I probably could work out a way to get the money, but I don’t care that much.
Two is because fruit is so low calorie that I have to eat a mountain of food to be able to stay satiated. There are ways of making this easier with certain kitchen appliences and so on, but I don’t have the money for those things either. I don’t like spending ages eating and I don’t like feeling hungry.
I think I could probably agree with the theoretical reasons why cooked food is bad. Cooking destroys nutrients, creates toxins, yada yada. I think it’s probably pretty certain that all other things being equal, a raw foodist will live longer than a non raw foodist. But you know? I don’t care that much. Probably because I know that food isn’t the only thing that keeps you alive. While I believe in the power of diet, I don’t take this physical existence all that seriously. There’s only one thing that can kill you in my opinion and that’s having a physical body and living in a physical reality. Physical things get broken. Luckily we’re actually not physical, at least not entirely. The physical world is an illusion, we create what we believe in, and we come back after we die, so, whatever really.
I do have the lingering intention to do raw food right at some point so I totally maintain my right to go back on this in future. Not that I’d be contradicting myself because my main point here is that I don’t care enough (right now). Hey, I wrote an article a while back about why it’s okay for me to eat honey as a vegan, and since then I haven’t eaten honey once. But if and when I do raw food I want it to be about my wellbeing in the present moment, and not about what’s right or wrong or what’ll make me live longer in a mentally constructed future. I don’t give a damn about right and wrong. Most of all, my diet choices are about me.
So those are all the things I used to exclude from my diet but which I don’t now. What do I still exclude? Animal products, gluten, coffee, and bananas. I also avoid artificial additives in general and certain additives such as the above-mentioned aspartame I make no exception for.
I feel absolutely awesome avoiding these things and I think making the choice to avoid them was very empowering for me. I’m less serious about most of these things than I used to be, though. Live and let live.
Addition as of 13/06/2013. I eventually did give up both tea and cola due to the effects I noticed they had on my body. Tea came first; it was easier because substitutes like rooibos and yogi tea worked very well. (I even found a green rooibos which is almost eerily similar to normal green tea).
Cola was much harder, but I eventually had to stop because I was noticing myself feeling ill roundabout when I was drinking the stuff.
The only really bad ingredient in Cola is phosphoric acid. I am searching for a phosphoric acid-free substitute as of this moment.