Friday, September 30, 2011

Materialism


My dad isn't the kind of guy who likes to collect stuff. He'd be happiest if he didn't own anything at all. One day last summer, he explained his minimalism to me. When most people see something desirable, they think, "Wow. There's something attractive. I would be very happy to own that object!" For him, if he sees something desirable, he thinks, "Wow. There's something attractive. I'm happy to know that that object exists." He tries to remind me to be happy in the knowledge that something good exists, so that I don't need to actually buy it. When first offered the opportunity to buy a Chromebook, I desperately wanted to get my hands on one, but he talked me out of it. He reminded me that I can appreciate the existence of Google's creation without actually purchasing a second laptop.

Even though he has talked me out of a Chromebook and many other purchases, in one specific arena, I was never content with just knowing something exists. When it comes to food, I couldn't just see some yummy treat and walk past. I always had the overwhelming urge to stick food in my mouth, like a little kid in a candy shop. The evidence always pointed to me being lactose intolerant and I occasionally thought about becoming a vegetarian, but I always refused to stop eating any type of food. I didn't want to limit my options by going meatless or dairyless, because then what would I do if I saw a really yummy looking cheeseburger? I wouldn't be able to say no. 

A few days ago, I realized that I needed to make a change in my diet. My stomach was constantly hurting due to my switch to dorm food. Something I read recently about gluten-free diets convinced me to give it a try, just to see my stomach's reaction. For a little over two days now, I've been completely gluten- and lactose-free. My stomach's feeling a lot better, but that might just be a placebo. I'm going to keep eating this way for a few weeks and then I'll evaluate my dietary situation. In some sick, twisted way, I hope going gluten-free doesn't help me, because I could really use some cinnamon toast. 

But whether or not I decide to reintroduce gluten into my diet, this diet is forcing me to learn my dad's materialism lecture first hand. Just because I can't personally indulge in a chicken sandwich or spaghetti with meatballs doesn't mean that I can't appreciate the existence of my favorite foods. I can still be a foodie without eating everything in my grasp, and maybe I'll even forgive myself for becoming one of those despised picky eaters. 


So let me sit here and appreciate the existence of this beautiful grilled cheese from Deluxe. I can lean in close to smell the cheddar then wrap my hands around the sandwich to feel the squish of the buttery white bread. I will see and smell and touch this sandwich, but I don't need anything more. I'm content that it exists. 

2 comments:

  1. Well I remember some pretty yummy gluten free cupcakes you posted a while back... seems like you will find great things to make even with these limitations...although those had mint whipped cream as I recall. Lactaid make whipping cream?

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  2. Bea, I use your dad's approach whenever I see a penny on the ground. I think to myself that merely seeing that penny and knowing that it exists will bring me good luck. I don't need to pick it up. I can leave it there for someone else to find. xo, K.

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