Cheesesteak, I Love You but Tonight I’m Gonna be with Rutabaga

17 01 2012

I’m not sure when it started…my love affair with food. My maternal side of the family is Italian. My grandmother came to this country when she was 8 years old and all the Italian customs and traditions came with her. During the summers, when I was a kid, we’d be at my grandparents’ house nearly daily. Everything centered around food. During breakfast we’d talk about lunch and at lunch we’d talk about what we’d be having for dinner. The day was built around meals. Food was love. I could taste my grandmother’s love for us in her cooking. I’ve always told her that. Love truly is an ingredient, and there was no place on Earth where I could taste the love more than at Grandma’s house. Everything was done Italian style with huge heaping portions. We would have so many courses at holiday dinners, that it is really unfathomable now looking back on it. My dad would always proclaim, “there is enough food here to feed an army”. And it wasn’t an exaggeration. Still to this day, if you sit down at Grandma’s table, you will be force fed long after you are full. The woman, God bless her, does not take “no” for an answer. So food has always been “love” to me.

Food has also been a reward for a job well done. I have thought of some really ridiculous reasons to celebrate over the years just to get my hands on a cheesesteak.

It’s been a soother for disappointments. And it does make you feel better for a little bit until the realization that you’ve eaten your cheesesteak (double meat, double cheese, mushroom cheesesteak hoagie with mayo) and the half of your daughters’ sandwich that she could not finish. Then the real disappointment sets in. Try as we may, disappointments cannot be eaten away.

It’s been something to do to fight boredom. 75 minute commute home in the car, better stop and grab a burger (meal) to hold me over until I get home and have dinner.

It’s been a calming influence before retiring for the night. Feeling bad about all you ate today? How about a nice big bowl of ice cream before bed. Or two bags of frozen gummi bears?

Food has always been there for me. Until I got sick with a staph infection. For more than a week, I wanted nothing to eat. My body didn’t crave a thing. I had no energy to do anything but lay in bed. Suddenly stuffing my face wasn’t so important. At points I thought death was a possibility. That can wake a person up from the slumber of their life.

Looking back on it all, I was living to eat. That was my crutch. It was and is still my addiction. In good times and bad, there was always food to look forward to. And don’t get me wrong, I still do look forward to it. I still love it every bit as much (and too often I love it too much) but I’m really trying to eat to live now. I know that if I want my body to work for me I need to put good things into it. A plant based diet is really working well for me. It’s not a thing where I would ever look down on anyone for eating a different kind of diet. I mean if I could still eat the way I did and be completely healthy, I would. It’s not about saving animals or the world (although there are extra benefits that I am happy about and make some of my sacrifices more meaningful to me). But it’s really all about saving me from myself. That’s why I’m doing it. My choice to continue eating like I had been is literally a death sentence now.

I’m a bad learner. For years life has been trying to teach me something I did not want to learn. It was trying to tell me something I did not want to hear. It had to turn the volume way up until I finally got the message. Now it has my attention.

What is life trying to tell you? Are you listening? Will you be a better listener than I have been?

It is never too late to become the person you are destined to be. It starts with a single step. We can do it together.

When you get going you will see that a beautiful journey awaits you.



6 responses

17 01 2012
Don Harer

Johnny I have to say I have faith that you’ll be able to pull this off. As I try to lose weight I’m going to be looking over here for my dose of inspiration.

17 01 2012

What a pleasure to meet you last night. I’ll be visiting and remembering the good ol’ days. I’m sure at some point you have something there for us grass eaters. 😉
Thanks for checking my page out and for the well wishes. Good luck to you.

17 01 2012
Don Harer

You know I have to have something now that I have a veggie lover visiting haha. The challenge will be no chick peas.

17 01 2012

Haha! Exactly.

18 01 2012

I find myself sitting at dinner oftentimes thinking about what dinner will be for the next night and then thinking about what I’ll have in the morning and how I can’t wait to have a fiber one bar. Food is love . . . and often everything else as you describe. It’s amazing what we don’t have to think about in our lives when we are so fixated on food.

I give you a lot of credit for what you are doing. It’s so true – sometimes we don’t listen to our bodies until the volume is so loud, we’re unable to turn away.

Thanks for continuing to post – it’s like reading a page of my own life in many ways 🙂

18 01 2012

Thanks for continuing to read!

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