theferrett: (Meazel)

Last week, I got the news that my cholesterol levels were off the charts.  And so, in an effort to change my eating habits, I have been choking down a healthy helping of fruit every morning.

Let me reiterate: I fucking hate fruit.

…Or at least I did.  My goal is to get me used to eating fruit so that I no longer perceive it as vile.  Because I have a Very Clever Brain that operates better on unconscious levels.  As long as I really hate fruit, my brain will short-circuit any attempts to disguise fruit.  Is my fruit in a smoothie?  Well, says my brain, it’s far too late in the day for a smoothie!  You’ll be full all evening!  Better have some nachos instead.  And, you may note, my slacker brain told me that it was too much trouble to make a smoothie early in the morning, thus cleverly pushing me off until I had a better excuse.

No, this is like exercise.  People kept telling me, “When you find the right exercise, things will be a joy!”  And it never was, so I kept bombing out of exercise.  The solution that worked for me was to acknowledge that exercise would never be fun, and yet I had to do it anyway.  And that worked.

So after ten days of chowing down berries, how’s this working?

The answer is, “Better.”  I can now eat berries while I am doing other things, like programming.  I do not enjoy them, but at least putting a fruit in my mouth doesn’t cause the full-stop panic usually associated with feeling a cockroach crunch between your teeth.  So I managed a little better.

I also tried oranges, Clementines, which were actually not bad.  The pulp still makes me gag, but when I was sick yesterday I ate four of them.  I also tried pomegranates, which made me gag, but that could be because of the strong taste and the seeds combined.

I am not yet in favor of fruits, but at least for some of my long-time nemeses, I am not as diametrically opposed.  This is greater progress than I anticipated in ten days.  We’ll see how it goes.

As for fish, well, we won’t talk about fish.  I’ve had salmon twice, and it was a meal.  The tuna steak is slightly better, but all this fish is fucking expensive.  God forbid you have heart problems and you’re poor, man.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

theferrett: (Meazel)

Empty fruitThe box of blackberries I just ate?  Was terrible.  A sour, seedy box of tartness that even Gini acknowledged was pretty foul.

Yet I ate them anyway.  To the cries of the Internet, who asked, “Ferrett, why don’t you eat good fruit in your quest to acclimate yourself to eating healthy?”

And the answer is simple: it’s another excuse.

The central problem with my snacking is that I don’t want to eat fruit, so I find excuses.  I was doing smoothies for a while, but the smoothies took ten minutes to make, and chocolate milk was thirty seconds tops, so if Gini was running late or I was lazy that morning or hey, Erin’s here, I gotta make three smoothies… I didn’t make the smoothies.  Because they were tolerable, but I didn’t want them in any sense except that I wanted to have had them.  Which is, in much the same way that I often want to have exercised, not nearly the same thing as actually desiring a smoothie.

I wanted the health that came with them.  Not the actual taste.

So as it turns out, fruit is often pretty nasty.  Which I honestly did not know.  I knew there was “rotten fruit,” but I ate so little fruit in the course of my life that I assumed that all strawberries were pretty decent – sure, there were some excellent strawberries that people would drool over, but in my mind there was a certain minimum standard of strawberriness that vendors held to.  Strawberries were like Hershey bars in that they all tasted pretty much the same.

As it turns out, there’s tart berries and sucky berries and out-of-season berries, and you can’t tell the fucking difference.  The blackberries Gini and Erin ate last night were great.  The blackberries I had this morning, which looked identical, were icky.

Yet I chowed them down.  Because “eating only good fruit’ would be another excuse.  I’m trying to enter a new world, one where I can eat fruit everywhere, and part of that bargain is that some fruit isn’t that great.

If I only eat good fruit, then my fruit-not-liking mind will go, “Well, I don’t have to eat those bananas.  They’re not good!  So I’ll just eat this Pop Tart instead.”  And lo, strangely enough, I’ll start finding all of these fruity weaknesses, and I’ll be back to escaping the Land of Icky Fruits.  (And remember, in the World of Ferrett, all fruits are icky, even those delicious ones you love.)

No, my friends; I must treat this fruit like Gini treats her marriage with me.  Is Ferrett always sweet and wonderful and good-tasting?  No.  Sometimes he’s foul and wrinkled.  Yet Gini bravely consumes her daily dosage of me, for this is not a one-time occurrence, but an averaged value.  Some days, Ferretts will be meanish, other days Ferretts will be delightful.  She sticks with me regardless, because I have some awesome benefits.

So, too, shall I struggle through the bad fruit. Because otherwise, it’d be all too easy for my very devious Gollum-mind to create another reason not to have them.  Fruits are good and bad, and sometimes I’ll have bad ones, and I’d better learn to tolerate those tart little fuckers, too.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

theferrett: (Meazel)

I set a record at the doctor’s office yesterday.

“In twenty years of studying blood results as a certified lipidologist,” he said, “I have never seen cholesterol results as high as this!” At which point he started to recite numbers that sounded like the Dow on some record-breaking day.

“Uh, I knew my cholesterol was high,” I demurred.  “…But I was hoping to reduce it through diet and exercise?”

“We could send you to Auschwitz and these numbers wouldn’t drop enough for my comfort,” he said.  No, really, he said that.  The doctors at Premiere Physicians are nothing if not characters. “There’s something about your body chemistry that’s off.  No, no, you need statins.  Now.”

So here we are at a crossroads in my life.  On the one hand, I’m not overly worried.  My stress test and ECG look, and I quote my Auschwitzian doctor, “Great.”  I’ve always had high cholesterol, as does my family, and we’re pretty long-lived.  If my body produces such vast amounts of cholesterol, I’m reasonably confident that it’s probably designed to absorb amounts of it, since my body and my family have proven remarkably resistant to various things that are about to kill you.

That said, I remember my teeth.

The galling thing about my five years spent without front teeth is that I had warning.  I’d been to a dentist before who’d said that I had gum disease and should have my teeth cleaned periodically.  And I said, “Sure, yeah, I absolutely should do that,” and then forgot to hit the dentist for years at a time.  What I should have been doing was flossing like hell, using Listerine, getting a Sonicare toothbrush to ensure that my teeth were as healthy as possible…

…but that seemed like a lot of work at the time.  Flossing was clumsy, hard to do.  I hated the taste of Listerine.  So I went on, and then one day I spent $10,000 on surgery to have my wobbling teeth taken out. And spent several years, embarrassed and mortified and in pain, getting false ones back.

I could shrug and move on, but these days I take an extra five minutes every morning to floss and swish and brush, and it seems like such an obvious habit I’m aghast that I didn’t condition myself to do it before.  But I remember how awkward and clumsy and stupid I felt flossing, since I wasn’t much good at it, and I realize there was a hurdle I should have crossed.

The problem with me now is that I hate fruit.  I mean, fucking hate it.  I like fruit-flavored things, I like juice, but the pulpy nasty skin-shredded texture of fruit grosses me out.  And the taste of fish is like ocean shore rot in my mouth.

…but I also used to hate the taste of salad, and broccoli, and snap peas, all of which are now staples of my diet.  I just ate them.  And learned to like them.

What I need to do is just bear down for a month and eat a box of fucking berries every morning, and have fish three times a week.  I need to learn to condition my body to crave healthier stuff.  Which is why, the other day, I went out and got a box of blueberries and ate half of them.

I despised every bite.  Tried not to gag.  I know many of y’all like fruit, but imagine eating ants.  Imagine sitting there at a big ol’ anthill, scooping out a handful of wriggling insects and choking them down.  Then imagine not only eating ants until you were full, but eating ants daily for the rest of your life.

I mean, you could do it.  If you had to.  Which is what I’m doing now.  I’ve eaten fruit every morning now, and had fish twice, and both times afterwards I was ravenous for real food.  But I’m at a crossroads now, where I can learn to love a leaner lifestyle, and maybe be okay… Or go the route of my friend Steve, who had a huge heart attack and now has to approach food like it’s some traitor at the gate, checking every bit of content, for a bowl of ice cream could literally kill him.

I can ignore shit until my teeth fall out, or I can make a concerted effort to change shit, so… I’m gonna change shit.  These high levels might just be a quirk of my body chemistry, or they might be like my Uncle Billy, who’s had to have heart surgery before the age of 65.  I could hit the snooze button and wait until everything hits crisis levels, or, you know, I could try to be a rational human being.

So I’m gonna wince and cram down some berries.  And some fish.  And maybe, if I’m lucky, in a year that’ll be something I’ve come to enjoy.

Today, though, I’m nose-first in the anthill.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

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