The past few months have been frustrating. I haven't been blogging my food intake because I was feeling a little too exposed, and at the same time my food intake recording has become quite sporadic. I have still been more mindful of what I'm eating, but I've been letting little things slip more and more.
I started working full-time in January, which means I now work two 12-hour day shifts in a row, followed by two 12-hour night shifts in a row, followed by a recuperation day, and four days to get ready for the next set of shifts. I had a perfectly laid out plan for my day shifts. I would prepare a couple of "frozen dinners" of my own making, out of leftovers from my day to day dinner preparation. I'd have a quick homemade egg-n-English-muffin thingy for breakfast, some oatmeal and almonds on my breaks at work and a salad with soup for lunch. The trouble started when pre-made meals were overwhelmingly tempting to DH, and my work meals would disappear whenever he felt the need for a midnight snack. I'm not someone who enjoys conflict, so the first time it happened, I told him he needed to give me some cash so I could buy food in the hospital cafeteria (ugh!) if he was going to eat my meals, in addition to meals that I had made in advance for the rest of the family to have while I was at work. The re$our¢e$ I used in preparing those meals has to be worth something (or so I thought), but apparently it was my "own damn fault" for making them in the first place. Apparently there can't be any restriction on any food in the house, if there's food, he has the right to eat whatever he wants, whenever he wants. (It also explains the mystery behind why, when I'd make a casserole or soup or anything in the morning for dinner that evening, half of it would be gone before the meal was served, despite his adamant denials to the contrary.) So much for The Myth of the Supportive Spouse, both in terms of my weight loss and working-full-time goals. *eyeroll*
In the meantime, about a month and a half ago, DH has decided to eliminate ALL animal products from his diet (except the ones he really really likes, which can vary from one day to the next, can I have another *eyeroll*, please?) thanks to a book bearing the title Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes. Barnard's premise is that adopting an organic raw vegan diet will induce weight loss (which most people who have Type 2 Diabetes need to do anyway) and control blood sugar, ergo "cure" diabetes (Type 2 anyway). Being a nurse, there's no huge A-HA! moment in this information. But of course a person is going to lose weight if they eliminate a couple of major food groups (meat and dairy) from their food repertoire. No big surprise there. Is it sustainable? I suppose it really depends on a person's values and the rationale behind adopting that lifestyle. If it's merely to drop a few pounds and get blood sugar under control, sustainability is highly doubtful, because there are several different ways to achieve that goal, and if your core values do not match or come close to those of lifelong organic raw vegans (animal rights activists like Dr. Barnard, for one - not that there's anything wrong with that), then if you're like most people, there's no deeper ethical motivation to maintain that lifestyle. The other premise that Barnard apparently espouses is that dieticians don't know anything about nutrition. Rather, they are, in his considered opinion, tools of the various marketing boards attempting to pimp their products into our food chain. I find that characterization demeaning and insulting, because the dieticians I know are nothing like the stereotype he portrays.
Then there is the smugly superior attitude, a sort of holier-than-thouness that permeates DH's newly organic raw vegan personality, as if he's been recruited into a cult like the Moonies. Suddenly, it's as if everything I cook is tainted and unclean. Everything I serve my family is judged and criticized as being imperfect. If I point out his hypocrisy when, for example, he drinks a huge glass of milk, that's my fault too, because I'm so "unsupportive" and "too cheap" to buy rice milk or almond milk or soy milk, instead of the "antibiotic-laced garbage" that's been pimped to me by the milk marketing board, and if I were "properly educated" I would know better than to serve "that crap" to my children. If I resist or question anything to do with veganism, I'm being hypercritical, or I'm "obsessed with finding fault", or I'm "not open-minded" about veganism. Those thought-stopping phrases remind me all too clearly of cult indoctrination practices. The more I resist, the more deeply entrenched and stubborn he becomes about it. The more open I am toward it, the more it will be imposed on me against my will.
The problem I'm having with this decision is that I don't want that lifestyle IMPOSED on me. I have absolutely NO interest in it. I've been told that I have to prepare organic raw vegan meals for DH (in addition to vegetarian meals for one DD and pesco-vegetarian meals for the other DD and high protein [read: plenty of meat] for our body-builder DS and whatever it was that I was planning to prepare for my own meals [at home and for my 12-hour shifts at work]). It's one thing when it's your children who decide they don't want to eat meat, and I've developed a small repertoire that's mostly adaptable to vegetarian meals, and I'm perfectly ok with eating those when I don't feel like cooking several meals for one meal. I've got a food budget that I can live with and space in my cupboards, freezer and fridge that can accommodate some vegetarian choices. However DH wants to clear the entire home of anything that falls outside the very strict boundaries of organic raw vegan fare, and I have said NO, absolutely NOT, in no uncertain terms. I refuse to add another complex layer to the complicated culinary load that I already carry. He wants me to prepare meals for him that he can have while I'm at work. My reply to him was abundantly clear: If he wants to be an organic raw vegan, he's going to have to buy the food he wants and take the time to learn to prepare it for himself. Being the master of guilt induction that he is, I was accused of being "selfish" and "not very supportive". I wanted to tear his effing eyeballs out.
I grew up in a very strictly religious home. There were no gray areas, only black and white, only right and wrong. "Compromise" means sacrifice in that world, it means forgetting about what you want, and doing what you are told to do, even if it's something you don't want to do, even if it's something creepy, like keeping quiet about being molested by a member of the church. This vegan stuff, this absolutist mentality, is starting to feel that kind of "creepy" to me. This weekend I was forced to "compromise" in a way that felt wrong. I was invited to go out for lunch with DH, and when he got me in the car, he asked me where I would like to go. However, that choice offended his vegan sensibilities, despite the fact that there were plenty of vegetarian options he could have had, and he drove me to a vegan restaurant of his choosing, where there were ONLY vegan foods, no choices for anything other than vegan food. It wasn't a compromise, it was an ultimatum: If I wanted to eat out, it was vegan or nothing. That's not a true compromise, it's CONTROL.
Even our children have noticed a creepy personality change in their dad. They don't care for it either. They don't like having no choice in where we go to have lunch. They don't like seeing me frustrated when I make nutritious meals for everyone, only to have him scoff and turn up his nose because it's not acceptable to his ever-changing palate, and yet he's totally unwilling to roll up his sleeves and do some of the hard work in the kitchen himself... because he doesn't know how and doesn't want to learn how.
Does anyone have the name of a good divorce lawyer? I may be needing one.