Yesterday, I stopped off at a Wendy's to ...er ... use the facilities. It was like entering the Bog of Eternal Stench. I was nearly bowled over by the smell of rancid grease and preservative-laden food. When I recovered a bit, I looked around and realized that none of the patrons were affected by it. It seemed perfectly normal to them. And once again, I realized that once you cleanse your palate and your body of this kind of trash, you become aware of just how awful it really is.
Several years ago, I did this great gig in Minnesota ... in February. They put us up in beautiful lofts right next door to the rehearsal space. It was sort of the Opera Dorm for grown-ups, and the cast had lots of fun doing potlucks in each other's flats. The last one was a sort of "clear out your fridge" party, and one of my friends brought Hot Pockets, cut up into bite-sized pieces. They smelled pretty good so I decided to try one ... and spit it out into the garbage. It didn't even taste like food to me. (At that point, I probably hadn't had any fast or processed food for about two years).
My point is, you really can re-educate your tastebuds to prefer whole and natural foods, and less sugar. I personally have never conquered the satanic trifecta that is fat-sugar-salt, but I need a lot less of it to be happy. This is on my mind because at last, after three months in Florida, working hard on regaining fitness and the mental strength to concentrate on diet, I feel ready to cautiously introduce some changes to my diet again. And it's party inspired by Mr. Hot Pockets.
Mr. Hot Pockets lives here in Miami, and I saw him the other day. Actually, I worked with him just last summer, and there'd be significant changes to his physique. My friend has a compact, muscular frame, the kind where a few pounds and a little toning one way or the other make a big difference. He has never been fat, but he used to weigh a little more, and now he's looking positively sleek. He's doing Primal, Paleo's slightly more relaxed cousin, and I've been intrigued by these for a while. I first heard about Paleo because of CrossFit (many CrossFit adherents are also into Paleo), and it led me on an exploration of these very low-carb diets that eschew grains (even whole grains!), legumes, and processed sugar. The good news? Fat --- good fat --- isn't the enemy any more. Here, eat the chicken skin. Have a whole avocado. Slather on some coconut oil. EAT BACON!
This is an oversimplification of course, and not a full view of the diet or the lifestyle in its many incarnations. I encourage you to check out some of the links above if you're interested, and they link to many other books and sites. Personally, I don't think I'm ready to go whole hog (you should forgive the pun) and start foraging, cooking organ meats, and fasting intermittantly, but giving up grains for at least a week? That I can do. I think. Yesterday was grain-free (I did have some legumes), so technically today is Day One. So far, so good.
I was late to kickboxing this morning, but I joined in with gusto and also did my TRX class. Tonight I plan to go back and do a stretch/burn class. Yesterday, it was zumba and a great 75 minute yoga class all to myself, since no one else showed up!
I was late to kickboxing because since Daniel's death, I have just been a little spacey, and yesterday was the funeral in France, so that was all that was on my mind. I drove around all day singing "Danny Boy" and had a little private ceremony of my own for him. My voice teacher sent me a link to my favorite movement from the Faure Requiem --- "In Paradisium", as ethereal and promising as you could wish for, and it made me remember an incident that happened almost ten years ago, when my own father died. I was performing my favorite work of all time, the Verdi Requiem. It's a challenging work with a lot of solos for the mezzo; the last of which requires high, delicate singing after an evening of heavy lifting. But it's the most beautiful thing in the whole work, in my opinion: the Lux Aeterna.
We were in a hall that had stadium seating. When we started the Lux Aeterna, I happened to glance up into the audience, and I saw my father. Not a guy who looked like my dad, not a ghost, but my dad, right there in the audience. The next time I looked he was gone, but I knew he was still there, and it was very comforting. Now here's the weird part: after the concert, one of the choristers came up to me. I did not know this woman, and as far as I know, she had no idea my dad had died just a few weeks earlier. She said to me, "While you were singing the Lux Aeterna, you were surrounded by angels. And I saw your dad standing there. He looked very happy."
This is a recording of that very performance. I have done other, better performances since then, but this one will always be special to me. I now offer it in tribute to Daniel.