Yesterday, all my coworkers could talk about was the anticipation of their BBQ lunch that they had hyped up between daydreaming aloud with each other (and likely personal internalized hype) about how wonderful this meal on a pedestal would be for days prior to the event. This is the “best BBQ” around. “Rebecca can’t have any though.” Um, no, I CAN have anything I please, but I CHOOSE not to participate in Carnism. Get it right.
From the outside looking in, they all appeared so giddy and happy once their food arrived. There was loud excitement around the table prior to the start of the meal. As soon as it began, the noise escalated and then began to start slowly tapering down as the minutes ticked by. I stepped out to go to the gym for my lunch break.
When I returned after their meal had concluded, there was deafening silence. For a moment, I thought they had all left the office. No, they were still there. Moving slowly, not so loud or giddy now. Sedated. Full. Overstuffed. Drugged, it seemed. There were so many leftovers, but no one seemed to want to take them home. The lingering smell reminded me of stomach acid and poop. Several coffee pots and a Starbucks run later, and I overheard words of regret like, “pain” and “stomach ache” and “feeling horrible.”
I’m sure not everyone was that bad off, but I couldn’t help but notice the majority of the fatigued and pained responses. It reminded me of the cycles of binging, which I too have battled. Even vegans and raw vegans can be challenged with this psychologically and physically addicting game involving high fat, salt, and processed fake foods. Yes, game, as it’s a game we play with ourselves mostly in our own minds about building up the excitement and anticipation for “naughty” comfort food (often connected to emotions that always seem fonder in hindsight) and then upon indulging, feeling immediate but very temporary minutes of pleasure, followed by hours, if not days, of pain and regret.
I can already see how this plays out the next time too. All the hype, meal on a pedestal, our imaginations running wild with anticipation and desire for the impossible fairytale satisfaction. Even worse, is the denial game that takes away responsibility from the food as the cause of the pain and regret, and instead comes out as blame, bitterness, and projection onto others in forms of needless aggression or overall lack of compassion. Hurt people hurt people, and are generally quite ego-driven and sensitive to imagined personal slights. And the cycle continues… until the next brief comfort fix to take away the pain for all of about 5 minutes. Repeat this cycle enough times (or three times a day or more), and that’s how diseases are conceived.
I won’t even go into autoimmune responses in the body which are causing that immediate fatigue, brain fog, and digestion shut-down following a toxic heavy meal. We call it feeling satiated or comforted. Our body calls it fighting itself desperately to survive the newly introduced toxic load.
Our office building a/c isn’t working properly today and it’s not ice cold in here. It’s about the same temperature as my house with windows open in the shade of this hot July in Texas. To me, it feels perfect and normal. To the BBQ hung-over folks battling hypertension, it feels like “hot flashes” or “being inside an oven.”
And the really wicked part is, I find myself not having much sympathy, even though I’ve made those same choices before in the distant past. I’m just thinking, “yep, that’s what happens.” And “I hope you learn and don’t choose suffering anymore.” And I remind myself that “not everyone wants to learn or change, and I must accept their choice to cause suffering to themselves and others.” It’s a hard position to be in… wanting so badly to save everyone by forcing life-saving information on them, but I can’t make them choose or control them. They must save themselves. Just as I had to save myself. Am I better than them because I did? No. I’m just not suffering is all. And it hurts me to see others choose suffering and feeling helpless, but I don’t feel much sympathy for the not-so-random consequences of choice.
I’ve eaten two melons so far today. I plan on at least one more, plus a large hydrating non-sweet fruit and greens dinner salad. I look forward to my 4th day in a row at the gym on my lunch break, and then the 5th one tomorrow after a morning of young coconut water island. My choices make me feel alive, hydrated, healthy, and happy. I wish others the power and strength to realize their control and choice to feel like this too. I want to give this to everyone, but they must decide to give it to themselves before I, or anyone else, can even begin to help them.