Tonight’s dinner was soup & salad. Again. But lest you think I am living a life of asceticism, let’s compare and contrast what I might have eaten for dinner 2 months ago. A very typical dinner for us was roasted chicken. When done well it is undoubtedly one of the more delicious foods out there. The meal might have consisted of salad, chicken, brown rice or roasted potatoes, and broccoli or green beans. That sounds healthy, right? I think so too. I can eat half a chicken, no prob. Most of my calories would have come from the chicken. The potatoes and green veggie would probably have been seasoned with garlic, lemon, salt & pepper, or something similarly simple. They would have been side dishes, meaning the obligatory other things on the plate so that we don’t look like animals. Add in a glass of wine, and there would seem to be a decent variety of, you know, stuff. Animal, vegetable, mineral, the food groups well represented.
Tonight we had vegetable bean soup & green salad. I took inventory of the meal’s components while admiring the colors on the plate. Represented were no fewer than 6 lettuces plus arugula; 3 members of the allium genus (leeks, garlic & red onion); 2 umbellifers (carrot & parsnip); 2 brassicas (cabbage & kale); 2 solanaceae (red peppers & tomatoes); 1 legume; avocados, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, figs, mustard seeds & balsamic vinegar. Wow! How unbelievably lucky am I– are we– to have access to all this? And clean water too… it’s all a gift. I’m starting to feel like a Cafe Gratitude menu.
Recently I was confronted with what I thought was a rather cynical rebuttal to my groovy meal plan: It’s just not possible for everyone in the world to eat this (good, organic) food all the time. The implication being that it’s not worth bothering, since it’s impractical on a global scale. We may be well past that tipping point where organic agriculture is capable of sustaining the Earth’s population. Is that a good argument to continue to pursue gluttony? Should I therefore consume greater quantities of less nutritious calories? I was also confronted by someone who said, “I could make a case that veganism isn’t all that healthy.” Sure, but not as great a case as I could make that what they’re likely eating is less healthy. And for crying out loud, I’M NOT A VEGAN!
A note on moderation: If I could do moderation, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. It’s like those potato chips that came out a few years back that were basically indigestible and caused really embarrassing side effects. They suggested that you only eat a few. If I could eat only a few potato chips, I wouldn’t be buying fat-free ones now, would I? Jesus… (By the way, I never bought those potato chips.) So for now, I won’t be eating any of the things that I said I wouldn’t be eating.
Tomorrow I will go back to work after a 6 week hiatus. I’m looking forward to it. I work with great people, both my colleagues and patients. Most of our patients come to us as a result of cardiac or vascular disease, diabetes, or chronic respiratory conditions. In other words, problems that were likely preventable. Often our patients are very grateful for our care and thank us with boxes of See’s Candy. To be honest, I think it’s overrated, but I generally eat about 4 pieces per shift. No, really, that’s why there’s hardly any left by the end of the shift. Sorry. And I know, it was probably meant for you hotshot “Heart Nurses”, not for little ol’ me. Don’t worry. From now on if someone comes in with a box of See’s or doughnuts, I’ll just look at them, smile sweetly and then say, “What the f#ck is wrong with you?! Are you trying to kill us?? Take this poison that likely got you into the mess you were in and throw it right in that red bin there– the one marked ‘Biohazard!'”