Slàinte

Those who know me are familiar with my laissez-faire/let it be attitude in regards to my health. I detest prescription drugs, refuse antibiotics, and generally focus on homeopathic or my own, made-up remedies for colds, allergies, flu symptoms, and hangovers. I am genuinely convinced that my body has the strength and wherewithal to defeat sickness in a timely matter–“timely” being operative, as my idea of the word isn’t necessarily on par with the rest of America. I am perfectly willing to, say, allow my raspy voice and stuffed nose go on a bit longer and wait with patience, as long as it means I can avoid taking Sudafed.

I detest Sudafed.

The human body has been made to withstand the elements, so I allow mine to do its thing most of the time. I’ve found, over the course of this incredibly in-depth case study, that I oftentimes overcome regular flu symptoms in a far shorter amount of time than my drugged-up cohorts. Yes, sometimes this means being bedridden for a day and sometimes it means puking my guts out for two days before I can keep some white rice down, but in the long run, I think it is worth it. Allowing my body the time it needs to heal itself is far more important to me than any workday, date, or “thing to do” I might have on the agenda.

And yet, I abuse my body. Sometimes, in ways I am ashamed of. I have eaten more than my fair share of McDonald’s chicken nuggets, have chosen to drink four beers followed by two Jameson-and-cokes and three glasses of white wine (DO NOT EVER DO THAT), and I don’t exercise nearly as much as I should. I eat meager portions, almost starving myself, at times and load my plate with seven pieces of pizza at others. I choose cereal over carrots as a midday snack. I ignore the rumble in my stomach until the moment I feel like I’m going to burst with hunger, and then I eat a carrot stick.

These are not healthy choices. So, where do my obsession with homeopathy and my utter refusal to eat correctly balance out?

It’s a contradiction in terms, I know. I am a junk food hippie. Which is not something I am proud of.

But how do I know when enough is enough? How ridiculous is it that I don’t take drugs “for my health” but also eat McDonald’s McGriddles sandwiches for post-bar-night hangover food?

I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that I need to find the balance.

My excuses are that I don’t have money to buy food, so I don’t eat (false). I don’t eat because I’m not hungry (good). I don’t eat because I can’t make a fully balanced meal (false). I don’t eat because I forget (true, but bad). I eat junk because it’s easier (bad). I “drink my dinner” because it’s more fun to drink on an empty stomach (so bad).

Now, I know some may think that I have a problem. Think what you will, but I think I’m better off recognizing my flaws and owning up to them. Yes, blah blah blah, I am high-and-mighty because I can admit I have eating problems. Whoopdedoo.

I think, though, that a lot of people have problems eating, and their problems are bigger than mine and stem from really ugly places. I have friends who don’t eat to fit into a certain size dress or to look good while having sex (whoa, raunchy) or who binge and purge because they think they have to uphold a certain standard or appearance.

Eating problems, disorders, can be a bitch. They are ugly and they take root inside of people with no intention of leaving. Many people are overtaken by self-image issues and popular culture ramblings.

I am not one of those people. I’m just lazy. I’m lazy so I don’t make good decisions when it comes to eating.

So, I guess I’ll have to work on that one.

Slàinte, everyone. To health. Seriously. Don’t just say it when you’re toasting with a Guinness or celebrating with your study abroad pals (though it does bring back good memories), but really truly mean it. To health. Slàinte.