Monday, February 22, 2010

We Are What We Eat (Oh, the Horror)

For several months last year, with my physician's warnings about rising blood sugar dangers ringing in my ears, I had cleaned up my act. I'd deleted a good many carbohydrates from my diet, saw my weight begin to drop, my blood sugar return to good levels. Felt good.

A trip to China and the Christmas holidays saw me regress a bit, and the evidence was clear. My waistline and blood sugar levels began to swell again, though I didn't return entirely to the previous ghastliness.

So I cleaned up my act again a few weeks ago, saw some real progress, and felt much, much better. I always do feel a lot better when I eat well and exercise well. Long walks, cross-country skiing, meals of vegetables and Rye Crisp, and once again, presto chango, I started feeling spry again.

But today at lunch, I happened by the cafeteria at the government center while running an errand, and a provocative cheeseburger reached out, grabbed me by the neck, and forced me to eat it. I felt quite helpless about it, with a mixture of carnivorous defiance and guilty pleasure. Meat has become lessen appealing in recent years, and beef in particular is now rather rare for me. But man, that cheeseburger had my number today.

Now, an occasional cheeseburger won't kill me, it's true. But I"m quite puzzled at this common human behavior--doing things we know are bad for us, that we know will make us feel bad——despite all evidence and logic that tells us to knock it off. I suppose nearly everyone has certain self-defeating, self-repeating habits, but I sure do wish I could throw this monkey off my shoulder for good.

I knew while eating it that the burger wouldn't sit too well in my stomach this afternoon, and sure enough, a once-familiar, after-lunch grogginess is already beginning to set in.

In the spiritual world, it's known as "digestive karma," and was first mentioned in one of the Buddha's lesser known sutras, known as the " Sutra of High-Density Lipo-Proteins"" Another lesson from that sutra reads:

"Verily I say to you, Ananda, he who hides the fresh onions with melted cheese will soon find himself reincarnated into another life, where he shall once again face the choice of cheddar vs whole grain. Choose wisely, Ananda."

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