You Aren’t What You Eat

Life always finds a way of bringing your heels down to earth if you’re getting a little ahead of yourself.  Good thing, too, although last night was a little scary.

Enjoying one of my favourite tv programmes, along with that little feel good factor of a fine night for my football team in a crucial game, and the ego boost of someone complimenting my writing style, I was perhaps letting things go to my head instead of seeing things for what they are, temporary distractions from everyday life.

I fixed a little snack of wholemeal bread and olive spread.  Might sound very healthy but between that were some chips – from the oven, mind.  As I munched away, thinking how good I was rather than how good life was at that moment, I had a bout of the hiccups.

Silly me, eating too quickly.  I tried the normal things like holding my breath and sipping a little water, all to no avail.  Then the hiccups became more intense and I could feel my chest tightening up.  I began to panic, tears began to fall, and began to feel dizzy, wondering if it was the end.  Killed not by my own mind but by a chip butty.

After a few deep breaths, and some calming techniques I picked up down the years, eventually the hiccups and the discomfort passed.  It was a scary few minutes, though, and a salutary lesson that things can go right or wrong at any given moment in the most unlikely of circumstances.  Slightly older today but a lot wiser I hope.

Now it’s often said by friends, people on tv, everywhere, that “you are what you eat”.  Therapists also stress the importance of buying ‘feel good foods’ and looking at the GI Index before getting anything.  Sorry, but I’m not buying the Financial Times for advice on having a bag of Haribos.

Is it necessarily true though?  Things may be different in my case.  I wouldn’t class myself as vegetarian per se, but I don’t buy red or white meat or fish, though I may have a bacon butty or chicken chasseur when dining out.  My daily diet, therefore, won’t be as typical as many others.


First up, though, I don’t eat well, full stop.  I only regularly prepare an evening meal, the rest of the day filled with snacking.  The food I buy isn’t particularly unhealthy, mind, the odd chocolate treat mixed in with the pasta, eggs and fruit & veg.  It’s more to do with irregular food patterns.

What I have found, however, is that when I’m feeling good about myself, meals will be prepared properly.  I’ll take time to cook the ingredients well and make sure it’s the right mix of healthy and tasty.  The dishes are done straight away, too!

When I’m feeling down, and it feels painful to get out of bed with my body feeling almost as dead weight as my mind, the cooking stops.  As does the eating, up until the point when my body’s almost screaming “You HAVE to put something inside me now.”

The food then, by and large, comes from a tin, a packet, or the bread bin.  It has to be simple, quick, with no thought given for taste buds or the GI Index.  Get it down you, get back to feeling truly loathsome about yourself.

It seems to bear out the cliche, my dietary habits.  I would suggest, however otherwise.  It’s not what I’m eating that affects my mood by and large, although I’d be daft not to acknowledge there’s a degree of truth to it.

It’s much more, in my instance, that it’s my mood affecting how I eat.  If my head-space is in a good place, the muesli, multigrain bread and walnuts will appear.  Right up until the point where my mind steps over the cliff and into the dark abyss, when the crisps, the chocolate, the Pepsi, the so-called comfort foods take over.

If the human mind is complex, the way our bodies are fuelled are equally as complicated.  We aren’t what we eat.  We eat because of who we are.   And I don’t need Dr. Keith rummaging around my stools to realise that.

Now, where did I leave that chip butty? …..

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