Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Binge/Purge Cycle

Sox, who passed away late last year due to horribly metastisised lung cancer misdiagnosed as pneumonia. He's both healthy and happy in this picture, however annoyed he may look.

So, February 1st, 2nd and 3rd I was caught in a binge/purge cycle. I wanted salt, I craved it and I ate cooked foods (though I wouldn't call it a binge on the level of most with actual binging disorders; I'm talking maybe 1/4 a loaf of bread and some Earth Balance, then refried beans and Triscuits), but it never gave me the satisfaction I was looking for. So I ate more until I figured, "fuck it, I've already ruined today." (Yes, I know, that's a major sign of eating-disordered behaviour - expecting perfection and sabotaging yourself in a more obvious way, for me vomiting aka purging, when you can't live up to it.) Bread, beans, toilet. Bam. Just like that.

And it made me start to wonder: is raw foods really all that good for me, if I react this way every time I don't follow exactly the instructions? I had to ponder that one for a while, wondering if maybe I should try to comfort-ize myself with cooked foods instead, so that this doesn't happen.

But I came to this conclusion, and for me it's absolutely true: if I went back to cooked foods now, after tasting raw foods in all their glory and feeling amazing and actually not feeling guilty about feeding my body what it needed (!), I'd go right back to the starving/fasting cycle I experienced. Because it would just be too much for me to take. There's something to be said for introducing someone right into raw veganism when they're ready to start fighting their eating disorder - it's all safe foods. All of it. Even raw nuts and seeds are safe foods, after a little, because you see people talking about how they ate such-and-such raw dessert chock full of nuts and you figure, hey, they look healthy! Like I've said before, it's mind-bogglingly stupid that the eating disorder clinics - especially those for teens - force all of this upon such delicate, sensitive minds as those women and men with eating disorders. (And it's also a fucking crime that I still think of eating disorder clinics as only for "thin" people. Of course, we usually just call the "clinics" used to "cure" BED "fat camps" or "weight loss centers". Fuckin' A.)

And I came to another conclusion. If you're not starving yourself - if your body is getting all the nutrients it needs and you feel good and you get out of bed easily in the morning and you're not diabetic* etc. - then the diet is working, at least for the time being. And I might note, I've never seen someone on South Beach for decades, but I have for raw veganism. I'm not starving myself; I'm eating what I want, when I want, for the first time in my fucking life. I'm happy about myself for the first time in my fucking life - sure, I have my days, but they're much better than they ever have been.

All in all, I figure it comes down to the fact that I was eating a lot of chard (not good for iron absorption) and not a lot of other dark green leafies and not taking a multi (only B12), so I was probably edging back into anemia - which has nothing to do with my veganism (I was never anemic when I was eating enough on veganism, my tests were all fine), if you want anemia then the best way to get it is anorexia or something close to it - and I've upped my intake of pumpkin seeds (approx. 20% iron for 1/4 cup), which I eat with raw agave nectar or maple syrup and which I do not feel guilty about at all.

After all, it's a safe food for me.

I feel kind of weird, though, about having to designate foods as "safe foods", but there really is no other way for me to not relapse every time November 17th comes around. I know a lot of you are going to be asking: so are you really in recovery if you're restricting your food intake so drastically?

Well, on the semantics front, it's not "drastically", considering that, as an ethical vegan, I eat everything that I did when eating cooked foods, it's just that I eat them either sprouted or raw. And then I ate maybe four things less than most omnivores - meat, dairy, eggs and bee products. 'Cause really, no matter what flavorings you put on them to make them taste differently, they're plant flavorings and I can get them easily without wasting them on something that inherently causes pain.

On another front, there's the fact that, again, I am not starving myself anymore. (Well, not willingly - I forgot my lunch at home this morning. Good thing I'm going home early!) There's the fact that, with raw foods, I do not feel guilty about eating - either for pleasure or to sustain my body. Sure, I still have some slips - as this and the last post shows - but I'm not doing as badly as I was. I'm doing much, much better.

Would I be doing better on a cooked nonvegan diet? Hell no. I'd be going against the ethics that are the very core of my soul - it's wrong to hurt someone just for pleasure and no one is here to be what is, in essence, a slave - and as a result I'd be completely neurotic and probably go wildly into my binge/purge cycle. Like I said, tried it with cooked foods, can you imagine what would happen if I dashed my ethics to the wind, too?

And if I'm not doing well, there's no point in doing it. That's the crux of the matter.

But then, I am an ethical vegan. And despite what the ever-sexist PETA says, veganism is not a diet.

*I just feel the immense urge to shout this whenever I go into a size acceptance thread. Raw veganism can cure diabetes - really, and it doesn't matter a whit if you lose weight or not. Go to and watch the trailer there (documentary's not out yet), though they're also fucking fat-haters. Argh.

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