Thursday, November 09, 2006

McDonalds and Me

As many who know me, or who read this blog know, I've been on a health journey for the past few years. Of course, compared to many I am very much a novice. As of this writing, for instance, I have no plans to give up artificial sweeteners, but I do limit and vary what I use. My favorite by far is not even an AS, but is a natural product called stevia. Unfortunately, it only is good for things like drinks...and is hideous in cooking. Fortunately, homemade low carb meatloaf does not require Splenda or stevia or anything else like that, and neither does a nice vat of vegetables. You get my drift.

I had this epiphany one time. I don't remember if it was in my pre-sugar free/caffeine free/low or smart carb days or my post-sf/cf/lc days. But this memory lurks:

I was in the drive through. I HAD to have a snack (this is a good indicator that it took place BEFORE I got my hypoglycemia under control). I looked in the rear view mirror and in the car behind me was a very chubby woman. Then I realized, I looked very much the same, and I wondered...and I pondered...and I changed. Last time we went through the mcd's drivethrough we got a round of pies for everyone. It was after Church, late and the kids were hungry. We do that about four times a year. So, not that big a deal. And what did I get while we were there? Nothing. That's right, and I also lived to tell about it. I actually survived with a growling stomach for the forty minutes it took us to get home.

So why couldn't the rest of the family also survive, you ask? Well, for one thing no one else is overweight but me, and for another, we wanted to put the kids right to bed as soon as we got home. You know the drill if you have kids. It was just one of those days.

I just finished reading the book: "Don't Eat this Book" by the guy who did the "Supersize Me" movie. Now I want to see the movie.

For some reason, even the water at Mcd's tastes like fat.


Meg said...

Mickey D's, ewww. Can't even remember the last time I was there. I'd be interested to know how you manage fasting on a low-carb diet; I know you have hypo-glycemic issues (diabetes?), but my priest is so sure that fasting will cure all weight problems that he has really only blessed me to eat fish. That's great for lunch and supper, but breakfast does pose a problem, KWIM?? How do you handle this? (I could stand to lose 100+ lbs, all gained since becoming Orthodox, so I'd really like to know.)

Amy said...

I've seen the movie, read the book, and also the book Fast Food Nation. Most recently, I'm reading The Omnivore's Dilemma. Supersize Me is a good visual of the whole McDonald's thing. My thing is, though: I go there sometimes, usually to meet with friends. When you homeschool, and have older children, and it's cold outside, and between four women have 11 children, where else are you going to go? So, we go in the afternoon and get the yogurt parfaits or ice cream or whatever. To me, it's a better alternative than not meeting at all. Now, none of us has health issues besides a few of us being overweight, otherwise it might be a different story (although we would probably still go, and just not eat anything, which McDs doesn't seem to mind).

alana said...

Dear Meg,

my priest says that following the diet my doctor gave me IS my fast. I have struggled each and every fasting period, wanting to be some kind of super-christian, and do both/combine them/find a way to make it work...but it never does. I get sick sick sick.

But that's up to your priest. I recommend a vociferous doctor who is pro-low carb. I heard a priest say once that no one NEEDS meat and I silently wished he could live in my body for a few days. IMO, No one NEEDS potato chips, soda, candy, etc.

Fasting makes me gain weight, bloat up in the abdomen like I'm pregnant, feel general malaise, have hypoglycemia, panic attacks and increased fibro pain. If this is God's will then God is MEAN, and I don't believe it for one minute.

Oh, I also have allergies to nuts and peanuts and carry an epi-pen for that.

If not eating what everyone else is eating at common meal every Sunday, if skipping the food at birthyday parties, baby showers, superbowl parties etc. and always packing and bringing my own stuff and cooking separate meals for myself is not a fast and a discipline, nothing is.

IMO, and with the support of my priest, that's fasting. And I do it every day.

Luz said...

I loathe McDs, the smell makes my stomatch church. The fact that I'm a vegetarian doesn't help of course! Last week we had a monsoon and my friend hauled me in altho I would rather have got wet and as we stood drinking two of the worst coffees in the world I looked up and saw ORGANIC MILK on the menu. AAAaaaaaaaaaaargggghhhhh... the place smells like a big vat of fat but they sell organic milk.

Luz said...


I gained a lot of weight (50lb - I think, not good at pounds) when I was very depressed and the combination of depression and lupus meant I was in the house all day eating and getting NO exercise. When I got back to 'normal' I found (and am still finding because my weight isn't normal yet) that if I eat and fast as if I was at a monastery AND walk absolutely everywhere the weight is coming off. I don't have any medical conditions so I only ask myself "would they eat this in the monastery?" and "how much of this would they eat in the monastery?" My experience of monastery food has been good of course and I hope I've lost the weight by Lent as I don't see myself doing well on 2 bowls of gruel and one of veggies :-)

Theodora said...

Meg's dilemma raises a big question for me, namely what *do* you do if your priest is unable/unwilling to understand? This is hypothetical in my case, since I don't have any particular issues for a priest to have to understand; I'm asking about the concept of Authority.

When Authority is just plain dead *wrong*, making an actual, genuine, non-malicious mistake that will result in harm to the person who follows the Authority, what does one do?

Alana's advice is obviously right for this particular issue, but what is the general principle? said...

Just noticed your comments about not being able to cook with stevia, which I acknowledge is just an aside to your point. You can, however, cook with stevia, but the problem is that it doesn't cause yeast to rise the way that sugar does. So you need to substitute with a thickening agent in most recipes. Apple sauce is one option, but there are many others. If you're interested, check out, a non-commercial resource with more info about cooking with stevia.

Tabitha said...

Well, I'm no expert, but I would guess the problem of Authority needs to be met with Authority. For instance, do your research. A priest is a theological/spiritual expert, not a medical or psychological or whatever expert. Generally, when given the necessary information to understand the situation, a loving Father will make the right call. Doctor's letters, brief medical summary from reliable internet sources, photocopies of relevant information from works on the subject could all be useful. There is no reason why I should expect someone who has never experienced my problems to have an intimate understanding of what it is like. If the priest still does not seem to "get it" then perhaps it would be wise to humbly and respectfully ask that he consult another authority: his dean, his spiritual father, a priestmonk, a bishop. If he refuses to do so then you are faced with deciding whether to trust that your priest really does know something you don't or whether you really know something he doesn't. If the latter is true and he refuses to research, then I guess it is time to consult those alternate Authorities yourself. Be very careful of this one, I don't imagine anyone likes it when people go over their heads! Generally a non-malicious mistake will be resolved with appropriate information/authority.