Feed on

I’ve been reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, an eater’s manifesto. Anyone who read The Omnivore’s Dilemma won’t be surprised by Pollan’s suggestions, summed up simply as Eat Food (whole foods, not processed food-like substances), Not Too Much, Mostly Plants.

I’m not there, but I’m working on it. I don’t eat fast food. I eat limited processed/junk food. I’m upping my plant and whole grain intake.

Then this week’s business travel happened. Tuesday’s dinner came from the snack aisle at Walmart (thanks to Mom for telling me how to spell this. I’m clearly not too familiar with the nation’s leading retailer!) due to road troubles. Wednesday I had only mini-muffins and fruit to eat at breakfast, only cheese cubes and dessert for lunch, and our dinner was comprised of hors d’ouvres at Casino Night. They had chicken, beef, and pork. Very inviting. Clearly, our Indianapolis office is not brimming with vegetarians.

Thursday was more of the same. Mini muffins and fruit for breakfast. Cheese cubes and watery iceberg lettuce for lunch. And I got home too late to eat the home-cooked meal my mother-in-law Evie made for me. So far as I can tell, I ate one real meal (a very late second dinner Wednesday night) in a 60-hour period. The rest-seriously-could have all been eaten off of tooth-picks. A big yuck to that.

On the other hand, the trip itself was a pleasant surprise. I forgot how much I enjoy mingling with most of my coworkers and what a funny, invigorating crew they are. I was up until midnight hanging out the first night, and went to an even later 1:00 a.m. the second. With email to check and morning sessions that began at 8:00 a.m., that didn’t leave much time for sleeping. Thanks to the new Laura Mercier highlighter I have, I don’t even think you could tell how sleep deprived I was.

Better still, I got home to a baby who was cute as a button, talking up a streak, and did not seem to realize I had been away. He wasn’t unhappy to see me, but he didn’t register any particular surprise or happiness either. And why should he? I don’t think babies Simon’s age have any sense of time, and he was with people he loves and has a good time with. All of which means I have no real excuses for not exercising my newfound freedom. A prospect that is equally exhilarating (I can do more of what I want!) and terrifying (What do I want?).

I’m beginning to realize that motherhood can create a cocoon that is limiting but also reassuring. It restricts you, but also gives you an excuse to restrict yourself–sort of an emotional swaddle. In an odd way, I am beginning to understand now how newly released prisoners must feel. Freedom. Terrible, terrible freedom.

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