Monday, September 17, 2007

Killing Me With Kindness

In the past couple of months I have been trying to eat a lot healthier. While I’d like to lose some weight, my primary motivation is just to take care of myself better. So I’ve been increasing the fruits and vegetables and whole grains in my diet and completely cutting out junk food. What do you know? It works! I do feel better!

The only problem is I am trying to eat healthy in Louisiana. Anyone who has tried to eat healthy in Louisiana knows what I’m talking about.

In the many years I spent traveling around the country with my band I had the opportunity to sample the cuisine of nearly half the states in the U.S. I am convinced that if I lived in Michigan or Indiana I would not have that much trouble eating healthy. It’s not that these regions are particularly known for their health food. It’s that they are not known for food period (or at least any of the food in which I am interested). Now this is not a slight to any of my friends or readers from those states. It’s just the food down in the south, particularly in Louisiana, is just so dang good. Louisiana doesn’t have the highest rates in heart disease and cancer because life is just so stressful down here. It’s because of the food:

Smoked sausage, fried catfish, shrimp and crawfish etouffee, gumbo, bread pudding, fried chicken, barbeque… and the list goes on.

There is a saying down here – “In most parts of the country you eat to live, but down here you live to eat!”

Eating healthy down here is definitely swimming against the cultural currents. Just in this last week I have turned down cake, barbequed chicken and ribs, jambalaya, and donuts—food offered by kind friends who just wanted to bless me. I have come to realize that it is the kindness of others that is killing me as much as anything living in Louisiana. So I am having to not only try to eat healthy but to turn down the daily acts of culinary kindness shown to me by my friends. Every time I turn down a friends offer off food I feel like a jerk, like I don’t want to participate in community on the food level, or like I’m being some kind of food snob.

I’m sure I won’t resist their kindness forever.

I can’t, the assault is so relentless!

But for now I will live healthy and feel like a bit of a jerk.

That’s it for now because I’ve got to go eat some carrots.


Chris Tyler said...

I applaud your willingness to eat healthier. Indeed it does make a difference to eat more fruits and veggies. I can certainly sympathize with you. I was, about a month ago, on the right track, eating well and working out. I had a lot more energy than I do now. But now with a full time job and a full time college schedule I literally do not get home until 7 or 9 at night and I'm drained. It's so much easier to pop in a pizza or any unheathly food than it is to prepare a healthy meal. I am, however, going to start buying healthier snacks and juices and work my way up, because I want to live a longer life. But a little bit of advice for ya, since you do live in Louisiana, it will be nearly impossible to avoid the culture based foods. I've found it easier to just eat the food, but limit my portions. Anyways, loved the story.


jeansonne said...

And I was thinking we were going to get to grab some cuban sandwiches soon. Perhaps you could just go and sit with me?

Anonymous said...

Tell me about it Stud!

steven hamilton said...

i feel your pain...we just got back from serving down there with mercyresponse, and we had crawfish etouffe, po' boys, beignets, etc. the food there is spectacular.