Ultraq's Final MooCow

Bits and pieces by Emanuel Rabina

Healthy eating

"With great power, comes great responsibility." Now if only something just as cool can be said about greater/increasing age. No, I haven't started feeling the pinch of the years on me, but some of my friends definitely have, and it's their conversations on things like nutrition and fitness that make me think it's having an effect on them.

As we creep towards (or in the case of my older friends, pass beyond) a point that is equidistant with both 20 and 30 years of age, I've noticed they have an ever-increasing need to talk about their diets or their choice of food, or the number of kilometres they can run. Not that any of these things are particularly bad - putting healthy food into your body is always a plus, as is testing the heart rate - but they never really talked about these things before. It's like a switch has gone off in their heads that, now they have to tick a different age group tick box on surveys or censuses, an extra and conscious effort has to be made to cling to youth.

The Healthy Eating Pyramid
Topics of conversation

Suddenly, everybody is an expert in kilojoules, carbohydrate intake, the types of vegetables to eat, and the perfect weight-to-repetitions ratio on certain gym equipment. Should they be worried? Maybe. Should I be worried? Most likely yes.

A majority of my friends are of your white western-civilization type, whose chances of reaching a very old age increase with every year and every advance in modern science. Whereas I'm from a country where the average life expectancy will see me through my 50s if I'm lucky. But either through genetics or culture, despite being almost half-way through my natural life, that switch in my head hasn't gone off.

I feel no extra compulsion to eat any more healthy than I have already been doing, nor do I feel the need to supplement my existing activity with trips to the gym. I'd like to think that I have pretty good tabs on my body; that I can understand the signs of a past weeks worth of bad food or of not getting enough sleep, than I can predict how my health will fare in the following days when I'm struck with illness, and that I know the distances I can run or the number of stairs I can climb before collapsing on myself (hint: it's not a large number).

With good weeks in terms of the above, I tend to reward myself with a trip to McDonalds or a large thickshake (if I haven't had either in a while). Today I decided to have an ice cream after lunch, but made the mistake of underestimating the size of the scoops of ice cream when I ordered a double. The result was huge and looked to topple any moment if I didn't keep a close eye on incoming people or gravity.

Breyer's Vanilla Caramel Brownie flavoured ice cream
We all scream for ice cream

Once I made it back to work and to my desk, I relaxed and thought now I can enjoy my ice cream. Yet just as I started to, all I could hear were voices of my friends talking about bad desserts, or the number of calories that might be in this ice cream. One voice, that of my diabetic friend, was rather prominent. I imagined her looking at the ice cream saying "Oh my God" in that "what the hell are you thinking" manner, and shaking her head as if I hadn't learned a vital life lesson.

Since when was eating ice cream supposed to suck?