Having wandered Mexico for a month, I’ve faced a greater challenge in resisting the harmful elements. I naturally refer to the toxic carbohydrates, emphasizing toxic, as not strictly all carbohydrates I consider such, mounds of the latter already part of my daily intake even before arrival - for the better, or for the worse.
But the increased exposure to the toxicity really makes me question my trigger points. The power to resist comes at greatest ease with something you don’t have.
It’s what I’ve repeatedly underlined: the surest way to avoid something is by strict physical elimination. Don’t tempt yourself. Don’t rely on discipline. Eliminate from access.
For half my life this has proven effective: I’ve eliminated the toxicities from my field of access by whatever means - and thus maintained an overall physically tractable conditioning.
At home, don’t stock what I don’t wish to ever invade my system; and out, avoid the culprit meals. Forget moderation. Adhere to the principles.
The mentality has come to define me. Swell. But what of those parasite elements that ultimately pervade?
To most I’m ill-disposed regardless: these warrant no apprehension. I wouldn’t eat processed foods out of sealed plastic bags or cardboard boxes if an entire factory crumbled over me. I wouldn’t drink sodas (or most processed beverages) if they paid financial dividends.
But what of those toxicities that might trigger a weakness? Or a soft addiction? Therein lies the greatest challenge. And in the power to reject those, when readily at your disposal, therein lies the real power!
Here at Mexico, the traditional culinary staples, general health considered, are fatal. And the general populace doesn’t sport an admirable physical condition.
Although nowhere is that the case, here it appears plain detrimental, disproportionally more so than the myriads of countries I’ve observed - comparable to the neighboring US. And still … Mexico retains a soft spot in my heart.
Tacos, tortas, tostadas, tlayudas, quesadillas, sopes, chilaquiles, mixed with their ordinary spices and consumed with sufficient frequency, cause my body to gradually deteriorate. Though before reaching a critical point it raises an alarm in the veil of a few-day fever and illness.
It’s the same story every time, and I’ve already suffered the phenomenon just two weeks in … and at what I considered very modest consumption of the poisons.
Hereabouts they serve tortillas on the side with many a typical meal, without hardly ever advertising the fact: many tortillas.
Sometimes tortilla chips appear instead, sometimes large sums of white bread, but mostly tortillas in exuberant quantities … accompanied by varied spices of varied level of spice, to none of which am I entirely impervious.
When more or less physically put, I try to avoid traditional restaurants anyway. I try to eat at home.
But otherwise, I may or may not recall to instruct that tortillas not be served. And if they arrive, I may or may not summon the discipline to avoid them, or to even limit the number consumed.
I might devour the whole tortilla canister, be especially the primary meal wanting in quantity. This is particularly problematic in the days prior to my routine Mexican food-illness.
But since, I become warier. The illness, mixed with the exhibition of plump figures parading around, mostly brings me to my senses. The mere idea of not being able to view my abdominal muscles already fills me with chills.
I suppose it’s thanks to the combination of an ultra-sensitive biochemistry mixed with moderate narcissism that I manage to exercise some control.
On the other hand, there are tasty and nutritious options to be found: rich salads in select eateries, general meat/rice/frijoles combinations (far preferable to the aforementioned), or the soups (caldos, consomés) of chicken/seafood and vegetables.
As I once spent the night in the middle-of-nowhere Frontera, Tobasco, by the neck of the Gulf of Mexico, some way-out-there street restaurant (as they all appeared), for a modest cost of an inexpensive meal, presented a gigantic Caldo, enough to satisfy four persons, with rice on the side, and what would’ve entailed a stack of tortillas I preemptively rejected.
For the first time ever, I didn’t finish a plate of soup. And I didn’t even touch the rice. Though for what it’s worth, even immodest quantities of boiled chicken and vegetables are unlikely to harm.
Where I was heading, before my numerous deviations, was this: avoid the bloody extras, even the free ones. Be mindful of the secondary and tertiary effects!
If served a cup of Americano coffee accompanied by a micro-sized cookie or caramel or whatnot, avoid the garbage.
Think not of the direct harm in that one measly bite. Think of the priming the ‘here-and-there’ attitude bears upon you. Society and the economy count on sugar-crazed citizens.
Avoid those ‘promotions’ like a virus: the soda/sealed-plastic-bag add-ons, the pie with the coffee, the free refills, the two-for-one deals.
In the best case, the promotions result in excess consumption; more commonly, in toxicity.
When feeling largely satisfied with your meal, yet could eat more, that’s precisely when you should stop.
My success/failure rate fluctuates madly with this one. Yet the force is very strong with the one who knows to stop.
Free coffee refills … If you find yourself desiring a second coffee cup within even an hour’s time frame of the first, you’re an addict.
Though I don’t seek a refill, I wonder if I’m an addict? These days I have been craving more coffee than customary.
Concerning those free-beverage promotions: you know your interests are wanting when your meal includes a chemical or sugar-processed beverage, yet charges extra for plain (or mineral) water. Reject.
Buy one tiny fruit at a fruit stand if that’s all you need. Purge the mentality to economize in greater quantities or to appease the fruit-stand owner … not when the latter results in excess.
Most fruits are sweetened and foster sugar dependence anyway. Eat fruit sparingly - my humble advice. Opt for vegetables.
Or pop those vitamin pills, if that’s your thing. I guess it’s preferable to malnutrition.
Again, don’t finish your meal if sufficiently fed.
The strategy possibly challenges that which you’ve been drilled as a child, but your corporal well being should take precedence. The rest, having already been served, is a sunk cost. If only I always adhered to this guideline …
As you tour culinary locales, little kiosks of innocuous free samplers might abound in grains, spices, seeds, caramels, sweetened nuts, etc … or tequila tastings, if you’re at a place called Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico.
My advice, however ‘harmless’ some of the samples might appear, you already guessed: reject everything. Mind over body.
Just reject free stuff - hardly ever free, secondary, tertiary effects considered.
Same applies to free trials of subscriptions or services.
That’s enough rambling for a good part of one morning.
Questions, comments? Connect.