Eastside Road, September 1, 2011—AFTER ALL THE DINING accumulated in the last few days — some of which I've yet to comment on here — it's time to return to routine. Today was the first fast day in over a week. As constant readers know by now, our weekly fast is relative. Since it's important to start off with a good breakfast, we begin fast — resume fast, now that I think about the root meaning of “breakfast” — after that meal.
But breakfast here is routinely pretty slender: for me, a slice of toast with a thin spread of honey, and two bowls of coffee with foamed nonfat milk. On fast days, the only other food I eat is a small handful of mixed almonds and cashews with a couple of cups of tea at six o'clock or so, while we watch the news.
We began doing this last December, partly to keep weight down, mostly for a little discipline, and to remember that many people in this world, perhaps most people, regularly go to sleep hungry. At first we had a baked potato for dinner on fast days, but we dropped that after a couple of months. Now it's just toast, coffee with milk, and nuts with tea. Water, of course.
It's amazing how readily one adjusts to the routine. Today, for example, we spent an hour in the gym; I walked and ran and swam; and I don't feel any hungrier than I usually do on a fast day. But I always think of my cousin Ruth, who used to be pretty hefty. Last time I saw her, years ago, she'd slimmed down quite a bit. Her sister explained that she'd joined some kind of cult, and that among their practices some involved eating: for example, they don't eat if they aren't hungry.
So many people in this country eat whether they're hungry or not. And of course they put down lots of beverages. Artificial sweeteners and corn syrup quickly go to fat. Various food additives, I'm convinced, alter the body's natural appetite perception: maybe we don't even really know if we're hungry or not any more.
We eat very little manufactured food. Sure, there's the occasional hot dog at a ball game. I drink maybe six beers a year. Our bread comes from the bakery; our pasta's almost always whole-wheat. At six feet tall, I weigh between 172 and 176 pounds, and I feel great. And I enjoy my food and drink, as you know, if you've browsed here before…