Regarding “Diet”

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I put the word “diet” in quotation marks, but maybe I should have put those around “regarding” instead.

Regarding our diet, with regard to our diet. Too often in the English language we’ve made “regarding” synonymous with “about.” It isn’t that there is anything wrong with using the word as such, but the word must sometimes be more than that. To regard our diet, to consider it, to eat thoughtfully and give those thoughts sober foundation.

I don’t care what you believe and know to be true about how you have to eat and why you have to eat what you do; your body is your body and your body type is your body type, and I have no insight into what can only be learned by your body, nor does anyone else. What I know is this: Whatever we do with our diet, we must regard it, we must consider it.

Aside from what one might take from faith, there are few things more important than what we put in our bodies. All of those things we want to do and be are better built when we soberly consider what we eat and drink.

And what we do put into our bodies is often largely dictated by how we use that word, “diet.” Our interactions with that word are partly based on what pronoun we use to precede it; do we refer to “our” diet or “my” diet–or even the more abstract version of the word, which is not preceded by a pronoun at all–or when we use it, do we refer to “a” diet or “the” diet?

There are few words in the English language that are more confounding than this one because few words mean such different things when used differently.

“Your” diet, “our” diet, “my” diet–or just the simple, universal form or the word without a pronoun, simply “diet”–are very important things, and they deserve the sober regard I’ve spoken of. “A” diet, on the other hand, can be something that totally clouds the focus of that regard.

First of all, I’m not down with regimens you follow for a short period before going back to your typical eating habits. To me, that would be like saying, “The way I generally eat is poor and has caused problems, so I’m going to do this quick fix and then get back to my normal (poor) ways. It might be different for you, but that’s pretty much how I’ve always thought that would feel for me. I don’t get it, and I don’t think I’d be trying to eat in the healthiest manner if I lived like that. If something is good for me, shouldn’t it be something that I want to do all the time? If I do something for six weeks and feel better and get good results, why would I want to go back to my old ways?

The central aspect of that last question has to focus on whether or not something makes us feel better. Results are one thing, but how does what you eat make you feel? If our food doesn’t make us feel good, isn’t that a decent indication that there’s something wrong? Doesn’t the why of that question alone indicate that there might be something wrong about eating food that doesn’t make us feel good?

I’m a bartender, which is a job that never ends. One night a man noted the non-stop high pace of my work, and he asked me when I got a break. I told him that I’d been doing it for 23 years and I hadn’t gotten one yet. That’s hyperbole of course, but it’s pretty much like that. From the time that I step onto the shift until that last of the night’s closing duties are finished, there is always something that needs to be done. What’s more, unlike many jobs, it will all be done before the day’s end. I have a 150-200 square foot purview, and at the end of the night it will be up to me to make sure it is all ship shape for the next guy.

One of the often overlooked aspects of working at such a profession is that I’ve learned to be considerate of what I eat. I need energy, and I need a happy gut. I’ve learned what works for me. I have few staunch rules (No cheesesteaks or southwestern egg rolls before a shift are two that come to mind.), but my body has just learned to need foods that work toward those two ends.

That is the basis of my diet. I am not on a diet; rather, I have a diet, and being thoughtful about it means that I don’t need to go on a diet.

These thoughts, again, feel incomplete, my friends, but it feels like that’s a good place to sign off. I’ll be back with more on this in a couple of days. Hope you’re healthy and well. Until soon.

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