by: Cashew Harding
Rarely does one think of a sailors life-style when one thinks of Los Angeles. It isn’t ingrained in the overall civic culture like, say San Francisco or Baltimore.
But under the ultra white-hot flash of the media empire that is LA, floats the busiest port in America. The Wilmington/San Pedro/Long Beach harbors bring in commercial fleets all day and night from Asia that are carried up the Harbor Freeway by trucks to the hub of downtown LA, and sent scattering across the country via wheels or wings.
…but those urban docks have a sterling silver cousin up on the Westside, Marina Del Rey, and I spent a few years living on my sailboat and mixing with the live-aboard community of salty dogs and rusty nails that call it home. While MDR is more known for condominiums and celebrity-owned yachts, there is a huge amount of dumpy boats and dilapidated vessels that thousands of unique characters spend their days drinking their government checks away.
I guess I could have been one myself, but I always felt too young and wet behind the ears….at least compared to Beau, the Irish pirate who literally had a peg leg. Or Dusty, the old school South Bay surfer with Tourettes whose PCP-inspired epithets echoed across the quiet docks in the middle of the night. There was Rob, the tough Jim Morrison-obsessed OG cholo who made his way from Pico-Union to skate the scene in Dogtown the next street over.
There are more, but Ill throw a couple character studies of the two coke dealers on my dock: Jason and Taylor.
Taylor came out of nowhere and moved in on the 32’ sailboat bowside to mine and was immediate trouble. He was straight up Venice Beach white trash and I didn’t like him. He was always nosy, where as I have a side of me that likes to be left alone in my place of residence. Living on a boat gives you the solitude to read and create and I did a lot of that, but Taylor came around almost every hour knocking on my hatch, asking ‘for a light’ or to sing a Nirvana song, or something.
One day after being gone for a week, Taylor all of a sudden came back with a huge bloody bandage on the back of his thigh. His story was believable at first: He said he got it while he was away in Hawaii by falling asleep on the beach after surfing. Apparently he scraped his thigh on coral leaving flesh exposed and as he slept, a mosquito or a critter of some kind crept in and laid some larvae under his skin. Seemed believable to me until a couple days later he took the bandage off and the injury was the size of a golf ball with a tear in the middle, red and frayed. A fuckin’ gunshot wound!
There was a round-the-clock cycle of his customers coming around and neither I, nor my neighbors cared for it. Broken-toothed stoners, underage Westside gangsters, and just bad junkies coming around. They stayed up all night, high on meth and made my early mornings miserable. They scared off a girlfriend of mine once by bringing an aggressive pitbull who didn’t like her on the docks at 3am, waking everybody up in the process. This was the last straw for me. But for the dock residents, tt wasn’t until an inboard engine was stolen off a handicapped live-aboards boat while he was in the hospital that we all banded together.
Ryan, my starboard neighbor, was an underwater repairman for Paramount Studios whose own terrier was being bullied by that same pitbull. One day while Taylor was away, he drilled eight holes into the hull of his boat and within hours it sunk and was being dragged out by the coast guard. There was a warrant out for Taylor, so when he came home not only did he find his home being towed away, but several LAPD officers waiting to take him out.
Jason was a different story.
Tall, overweight, Republican, and a total sweetheart. He moved in on our strip after the whole Taylor debacle and was waaaay more low-profile. He enamored everyone with his generous behavior and was immediately well-taken by the dock.
For instance, I had come back from my wedding in Costa Rica and my wife and I decided to have the LA reception on my boat, though I no longer lived there. He felt so bad about being out of the loop in my personal affairs, he rented a high-powered watercraft cleaner to shine up my boat for the party and assisted in everything, from handing out hors’d oeuvres to helping the elderly guests up the dock ramp. Charmed our families, the whole bit. Then, when it was time for the kids to play in the evening, he busted out with his primo Columbian cocaine and set it up on my table. And I don’t mean like a taste for everyone. I mean, like Scarface. A huge pile and railed up lines the size of Brazilian caterpillars!
Several months later, we got a horrible phone call from Rob, the Doors vato, who told me Jason was found dead in his boat. An overdose. The boy was just too big to be messin’ with that much toot. Huge loss. Big heart.
As far as waterfront property in LA, people think Santa Monica, Malibu, Pac Pal, whatever. But the boat lifestyle in Marina Del Rey is easily the most colorful and vibrant. Regardless of the portrayals I just carried out, it can be the quietest corner of the city. A well-kept secret of low-rent and spectacular So-Cal living. My sailboat, the SS Nipple, still remains my Westside getaway. Where I can be alone and daydream, or I can bring my family and let it all out on a sunny afternoon.
I’m not sure why I even read music reviews anymore. I think there’s a secret website somewhere containing about five phrases you’re supposed to draw from if you’re writing a music review, and the phrase I’d put first on my list of “If I See This Again Somebody’s Gonna Get Castrated” is this one:
“…nothing particularly new here…”
It’s this phrase (and permutations thereof), more than any other, that suggests to me that somebody is probably almost willfully missing the point of something. It’s one of those snarky blogger-phrases that just reek of presumed superiority (number two on my list is “self-indulgent,” because if you’re Making Something, who the fuck else are you going to indulge?). Digression aside, let me explain something, and maybe I’ll boldface it to make sure everybody gets it: There is nothing substantially new in popular music. There may be elements that are new to the genre, but that’s about as much as you can hope for. And that’s fine! I like it that way! The point is not necessarily to be innovative. The point is to be fun to listen to.
I mean, does anybody honestly think for a moment that before (for instance) Nirvana, nobody in the history of creative musical endeavor had ever thought of alternating quiet sections with loud ones? Ever? Maybe nobody had done it quite that way in that style of music before. I’d allow that. But that device had been around for hundreds of years before Kurt Cobain got to it, I assure you.
And let me just add that I emphatically do not want to meet anybody who sets out on some grand quest specifically to become a revolutionary. The one example that springs to mind of somebody who actively set out to revolutionize music is Richard Wagner. And although he was incredibly rare in that he actually accomplished what he set out to do, he was by all accounts a terrible prick.
What all this is leading up to, really, is a discussion about the band Secret Powers. Secret Powers is a band fronted by Ryan “Shmedly” Maynes, who was in the band Arlo (who I know I’ve mentioned before), although I first knew him from the Electrolites, his first post-Arlo band. Anyway, Shmed moved to Montana a few years ago (to my hometown of Missoula, by bizarre coincidence) and got Secret Powers off the ground with former members of other bands there.
The reason I brought up the “nothing new” issue is because I read a review of the Secret Powers album, Explorers of the Polar Eclipse—it was a glowing review, actually—that used that nauseatingly bloggy phrase to describe the album. It’s true that Shmed’s songwriting and production borrow elements from his favorite bands (among them the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Jellyfish, and ELO). But it’s done in such an obviously gleeful and celebratory way, and with such masterful craftsmanship, that to even mention it is to miss the point of this band. More than anything else, and all influences aside, the songs on Polar Eclipse are seamless exaltations of the pop form. It’s everything that’s good about a genre, all at once, done up in layers upon layers of keyboards, guitars, and multi-part vocal harmonies, performed by people who clearly love what they’re doing. To dismiss something like this as “nothing new,” even if it’s meant as part of a compliment, is to misapprehend the whole point of this style of music. It’s not supposed to solve mysteries of the human condition, or deconstruct forms, or plumb the depths of emotion. It’s supposed to make you enjoy being alive for three or four minutes.
If one wanted to oversimplify (and one does at the moment), one could divide melodic/harmonic movement into two types: 1) the type that surprises, and 2) the type that goes exactly where you want it to at just the right time. In my head, these are labeled as the “Whoa!” and the “Fuck yes!” categories, respectively. Secret Powers are good at both. I remember an Electrolites show a few years back where my fellow Get Set Go member, Jim, said something like “I can’t believe people don’t pay Shmed millions of dollars to write these melodies.” This accessible melodic emphasis is true of Secret Powers as well, and I was glad to see that a few Electrolites songs were reconstituted for Polar Eclipse. Especially “Counting Stars.” I could probably go on for pages doing comparisons and analyses and being offensively academic about it all, but I’d rather just say that Secret Powers is a real real good band and recommend that everybody get their album.
I think it’s time to bring my remarks to an anecdotal close now. I was re-reading The Salmon of Doubt the other day. It’s a collection of previously unpublished writings by Douglas Adams, on all sorts of different subjects, and it’s very entertaining. There’s a bit in his introduction to P.G. Wodehouse’s Sunset at Blandings that struck me as being particularly germane to this topic (oh holy shit have I ever wanted so badly to use the word “germane” in a sentence):
“…exploring variations of familiar material is what musicians do all day. In fact, what it’s about seems to me to be wonderfully irrelevant. Beauty doesn’t have to be about anything.”
Sure! P.G. Wodehouse’s stories are about butlers and comically deviant members of the idle rich. Secret Powers songs are mostly about girls and use chords common to the pop genre. But both transcend what they’re about and manage to be enormously entertaining examples of artists joyously practicing their craft.
(from left to right: Laurita, Sienna, and Laura)
all photos by Jessy Plume
behind the Love Rebellion Photo Shoot
To see all of the photos from this shoot click here
The Randies are:
Sienna DeGovia: vocals, bass
Laurita Guaico: vocals, guitar
Laura Cataldo: vocals, guitar
Tosha Jones: drums
At the Friendship Motor Inn
Saw the Light
To be released: Bye Bye Beautiful
This whole month you’ve been listening to featured Band the Randies on some of the various TRAffIK segments and now we wrap it up with a Q&A with Sienna and Laura.
TRAffIK: How did you come together?
Sienna: Laura and I met at Mr. T’s Bowl in Highland Park where we were both playing with other bands. Her friend was screwing my boyfriend at the
time and Laura witnessed me throw many a drink on that lovely little
ladies’ head. We started a band, recorded an album with a couple of
ill fitting bandmates who quit right after the album came out. Then
we met Laurita at the awesome Kiss or Kill shows where we we’re all
playing and hanging out on a regular basis. We recorded another album
toured our asses off and went of a major quest for the perfect drummer
who we FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY found in Miss Tosha Jones from Indiana.
TRAffIK: Length of time as a band?
Sienna: a billion years! no just kidding….about three years in our current
TRAffIK: Have you always been LA based? If not where were you previously?
Sienna:Yup we’re LA through and through…(the
good-east-of-highland-no-fake-titties kind of LA)
TRAffIK: Where does your name come from?
Sienna: Oh god, from the part of someone’s brain that is full of bad ideas.
TRAffIK: When you aren’t playing music what else can we find you doing?
Sienna: Eating mostly. Or playing with food.
TRAffIK: How would you describe your sound?
Sienna: guitar driven, vocal heavy, pop rock with killer harmonies.
TRAffIK:What is the song writing process like for your band?
Sienna: Someone wiill come in with the structure of a song, or the basic
melody or lyrics. Then we will work on it as a group until we all
like it. Sometimes we even finish lyrics for each other. It’s a very
TRAffIK: What is the recording process like for you?
Sienna: We like to record everything live and then go back in for guitar
tweaks and vocals. Right now the recording process has been
slooooooooow and frustrating because we depend on the kindness of
talented engineers and producers to donate their valuble abilities.
As times get tougher in the music biz and the world in general, free
studio time seems to get more scarce.
TRAffIK: Rumor has it you’ve been working on a new CD when will that be available
to your audience?
Sienna: We are hoping to release it in the next couple of months, so Spring 09.
TRAffIK: Has the making of that CD been any different than your previous ones?
Sienna:We’ve had more time to work out all the songs and to play them live in
front of an audience because we toured a lot before recording. Our
other two albums were very very rushed in that we were finishing the
songs in the studio and had never even played some of them live.
TRAffIK:What has been your most fun show to play so far? Why?
Sienna: All of the Warped Tour shows have been fun in that rock n roll summer
camp way. It’s just an indescribable feeling to be on tour with a
giant group of like minded people. You can begin to feel really crazy
for pursuing a life in music as the years creep by, bt then you do
something like the Warped Tour and you realize there are a lot of
freaky music junkies just like you out there . We also played a
great show in Missouri with a band called Ludo on our last tour. The
crowd was awesome and we are all friends so that was really
fun…..Some of my favorite shows of all time were the Kiss or Kill
shows when that scene was really tightly knit. There was always a
really fun and light hearted feel to the night. Everyone was there to
have a good time and support local music. No attitude, just good
(Since we at TRAffIK love Makeovers check out as the Randies restyle Ludo during last years Warped Tour)
TRAffIK: Worst Show?
Sienna: Too many to mention!!! I have stage fright that will rear it’s ugly
head for no reason at any given moment. I’ve played so many shows
just completely paralyzed with fear. ugh, it’s the worst.
TRAffIK: What is your favorite place to play in LA? Outside of LA?
Sienna: In LA I still like playing at Mr. T’s though I heard they may not be
doing live music there anymore…..We’ve played at the House of Blues
a couple of times and of course that is amazing. When we’re on tour
my absolute favorite place to play is The Melody Inn in Indianapolis,
Indiana. They put on a night called Punk Rock Night and there is
still a great big scene of rowdy music fans. I love it.
TRAffIK: Do you feel it is harder to develop a following in Los Angeles as opposed
to other cities? Why or why not?
Sienna: Yes, definitely. There are just too many bands in LA. You can throw
a rock without hitting a musician in my neighborhood and there is a
general “too cool for school” attitude that pervades every club in LA.
In other cities, people are basically happy and grateful that you
drove all that way to come out and play for them.
TRAffIK: What is the audience like in other cities? What areas have the best audiences?
Laura: Sometimes its the suburbs and the areas of the states that have absolutely nothing going on for the kids. As an indie artist it is better! They are genuinely so excited to see live music and we aren’t competing with a gazillion other events going on the same night.
TRAffIK: What are some of the elements that you feel make a great show?
Sienna:I think it’s all about energy. If the band is relaxed and having a great time that really comes across to the crowd. Some of our best shows have happened right after a nasty band fight too. As long as the band is really feeling something (even if it’s just rage at each other!) and not just phoning it in you’re gonna have a great show.
TRAffIK: What do you wish there was more of in Los Angeles music wise (i.e.
supportive fans, better bookers, more venues, more support, etc.)?
Sienna: How about all of the above! It’s really a sad time for LA and the
music scene because Indie 103.1 just went off the air. When Indie was
around there was at least ONE other option besides main stream
corporate crap radio, but now there is nothing but the internet. I’m
also hoping that kids will want to start rocking out again. I’m
really really tired of people being into bands that don’t know how to
sing in tune or play their instruments, let alone write a good song.
It’s gotten to the point where all you need is your grandma’s grey
high heels, a pair of mens socks, skinny arms, a snare drum that you
play with two cucumbers and you too can be the next indie-rock
darling! I don’t want to sound bitter, but it took me a lot of years
and a million shows to get to the point where I can say (with
confidence ) that I am in a great band. It burns a little to see a
newbie with quirky fashion sense and absolutely no talent getting all
the attention. But whatever.
TRAffIK:How often do you play shows?
Sienna: We have slowed down since we got back from the Warped Tour last summer
(trying to finish this next album at long last) but anywhere from 3-8
per month if we’re in LA, to one every night if we’re on tour.
TRAffIK: How many tours have you gone on now and what areas have you covered?
Sienna:I think we’ve traversed the US about 8 times now. We’ve done the warped tour 3 times and we have also done a bunch of mini weekend dates up to the bay area or out to Arizona.
TRAffIK:What are some of the misconceptions that you think bands that have never
toured have about touring (if any)?
Sienna: That it’s always fun. It can get really boring and really lonely and
really fattening. Or that people will be at every show you play. We
have literally played to zero people before. It’s so weird. You can
play a packed club one night and the next night just a few hundred
miles away there is no one at the show.
TRAffIK: What was your experience with booking shows/working with bookers and how
were the shows different if any?
Sienna: A lot of bookers don’t know how to work with smaller bands. They will
put a touring band on last after all the local bands at midnight on a
tuesday. That is just a recipe for disaster. Laurita has gotten
really good at fighting for what we need to have a great show as a
touring band. It sucks to have to push all the time, but that’s the
nature of the beast.
TRAffIK: Many bands used to (and may still have) the mentality that playing a
festival like Warped Tour would be their big break and officially put them
on the map. What was your experience with playing the Warped Tour stage?
Sienna: It’s always a great experience to be a part of the Warped Tour, but it
does not a star make. There are so many bands playing all at the same
time that it’s really a daily struggle for the little bands to get
noticed. You have to promote, promote, promote every day. It’s like
boot camp for bands. If you are a small band, you are driving
hundreds of miles every night, loading in tons of gear over hot
pavement every morning at 8 am, passing out flyers and hanging up
posters until you get your thirty minute set, playing, packing up and
then doing it all again. Every day for weeks on end. It’s very
physically grueling but artistically rewarding to be part of such an
awesome traveling group of crazy musicians.
TRAffIK: How did the opportunity to play come about?
Sienna: A friend of a friend of a friend recommended us to Kevin Lyman and he
put us on the Kevin Says Stage for three California dates. The next
year we asked him if we could do more dates and he said yes. The NEXT
year we asked again and he said yes AGAIN! Kevin Lyman has been
incredibly supportive to us over the years. I think he appreciates
that we do everything ourselves with no label support. We will be
forever grateful to him for everything he’s done to help us out.
TRAffIK: What is the lifestyle of a touring band? What sacrifices do you have to
make as a person?
Sienna: Basically you have to be willing to give up every human comfort and
security. Everything most people take for granted is put in jeopardy
by the touring lifestyle. Financial security, family relationships,
romantic relationships, education and physical and mental health are
all put under incredible strain while touring in a band regularly.
There were a couple of years where we were gone at least 6 months out
of the year, living out of our van. I had to sublet my apartment,
give up my day jobs, and try to hold together some semblance of a
social life while I was in and out of town. That was the worst,
because even when I came back to LA I had no place that was my own.
To tour a lot is hard. To tour a lot as an DIY band with no tour
support is nearly impossible. I don’t know how we’ve kept it up for
as long as we have.
TRAffIK: Do you feel bands from other cities have a different mentality than LA
based bands? If so how so?
Sienna: In general I would say there is a more welcoming feeling from bands in
other cities. Usually, just like the audience, the bands tend to
appreciate that you came all that way to play.
TRAffIK: Do you feel there is more of a support system for bands in other cities?
Sienna: Every town is different. Indianapolis has a strong supportive scene.
We’ve never really made a connection in Chicago….The smaller
college towns seem to have tighter knit music communities. New York
is just like LA; everyone is cooler than you and nobody cares.
TRAffIK: Is there anything that you know now that you wish you had known before setting out on your first tour?
Sienna: I wish we had focused more on the west coast first before setting out
on some of our bigger more ambitious tours. It was awesome to see the
country like that, but as a result we have some of our strongest fan
bases in cities that are 2000 miles away. It makes it really hard to
pop in for a quick couple of shows.
TRAffIK: What music do the Randies listen to on the road?
Sienna: Every one listens to different stuff. Laurita, Laura and Tosha are way more with it musically than I am. I tend to stick to the classics and not try anything new. Eventually you get so bored though that anything goes and you’ve run the gamut from Celine Dion to Megadeth.
TRAffIK: What are you listening to these days?
Sienna: I’m listening to early David Bowie. Laura: I’ve been listening to a lot of old Jazz & Blues Standards to Radiohead(can never seem to kick them)
TRAffIK: What are some of your band member’s (or band as a whole) influences (musical or otherwise)?
Laura: We have a vast array of influences, I know Sienna loves old pop and musicals, Laurita and I share similar PJ Harvey, Metal, Rock N’Roll, to Radiohead. For the most part I think we all share our influences dating back to the first time we heard a Beatles record.
TRAffIK:What are some bands that you think did things right…or that you look up to?
Laura: I have always admired Sonic Youth…Fugazi, Nirvana. Um, Katy Perry for having her face wrapped around her tour bus last summer. You gotta be pretty strong to live through that one. People that werern’t afraid to go against the grain.
TRAffIK: Are there any local (or other independent) bands that you are really into?
Laura: Haven’t really been able to get out much…but I have seen a few M.Ward shows and I really love his songwriting.
TRAffIK: What do you feel are some of the current challenges of being an independent band/artist?
Laura:Its a lot harder to get your music out there without the security blanket of advertisement, airplay, and the ability to be on the road 2-300 days outta the year to travel the world and get your music heard.
TRAffIK: How do you feel about the current condition of the music industry?
Laura: It’s losing ground in this economy. Also the way technology is changing so rapidly between digital downloads and CD’s. What’s going to come after downloads?? maybe music will be up at some satellite somewhere and it can literally be transmitted to “soundtracks” in our heads.
TRAffIK:Your first video for “Thought I Could Change” earned you the spot of a Featured Video for a month on FuseTV, how did that come about?
Laura: We won a contest on Sonic Bids, its a website that helps Indie artists submit their epks to different festivals, and opportunities out there for artists.
TRAffIK: What was the experience making that video?
Laura: It was the best time EVER! We were all so excited to be there that day. It always helps when you have an amazing Director (Jesse Grce) and crew.
TRAffIK: How did the idea for it come about?
Laura: Jesse actually came up with the concept and shot it.
TRAffIK: What was the experience like shooting your video for “Freezerburn?”
Laura: FREEZING cold! That is real ice on the walls and we are in real running freezers. Our friend Robbie Stauder is a “documentary” film maker- his idea to shoot this video was to literally put us barely dressed into an ice box in Deer Park on Long Island. It was pretty cool,the behind the scenes experience was almost like being on an episode of the Soprano’s and what its like to be in a real “meat market”.
Here is The Randie’s video for “Freezer Burn“
TRAffIK: What are the Randies listening to right now?
Death Cab for Cutie - “Transatlanticism”
M.Ward - “Never Had Nobody Like You”
Radiohead - “Nude”
Kings of Leon - “Charmer”
Faith No More - “Epic”
Smashing Pumpkins - “The Beginning is the End is the Beginning”
Eagles of Death Metal - “WannaBe in L.A”
Fugazi - “Blueprint”
And You Will Know us By The Trail of the Dead - “Mistakes and Regrets”
the Bronx - “White Guilt”
Loretta Lynn - “Van Lear Rose”
Queens of the Stoneage - “Another Love Song”
Yeah Yeah Yeah’s - “Maps” (just really love this song)
The Randies - “Bye Bye Beautiful”
Losing a Buck Twenty Five is a weekly column that will document Cinderella Undercover’s quest to lose 125 lbs. You may also keep track of her progress at http://www.weightitout.com
Reinventing the Wheel
by: Cinderella Undercover
Nearly two months after my initial meeting with my trainer, and after a month of working out with her, it is now time to fully solidify the other portion of the diet and exercise program—the diet.
Most people on a rigorous weight loss program have to stick to a low calorie, low fat, and balanced diet– which is hard enough with a busy schedule that leaves room for little else besides fast food—but add a few medical maladies and you have a daily struggle with food that seems hopeless.
Because I have a digestion disorder known as Candida, and a medical condition which causes hypoglycemia, I have to be more concerned with what I eat than the average dieter.
Candida is a digestion imbalance of the yeast and good bacteria that aid digestion in the stomach. Without a balance, the yeast infects the digestion tract and prevents absorption of nutrients; spills toxins into the blood stream infecting other organs; and causes the sufferer to gain weight and crave sugars and starches on which the yeast feeds. Candidais most often caused by prolonged use of antibiotics, or large consumption of foods which contain large portions of the Candida albicans—such as breads, wine, beer, and other fermented products.
At age six, I suffered from cold and allergy symptoms that were caused–unbeknownst to my pediatrician–by pinched nerves from scoliosis. I was put on a heavy regimen of antibiotics for two years, after which I gained weight immediately. I remained a chunky kid into puberty where it was discovered I had another medical condition that caused hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia—or insulin resistance– is a condition where the body produces too much insulin.
Insulin is produced by the body to eat any excess blood sugar that has not been burned by activity. With hypoglycemia too much insulin is produced and stores sugar as fat. The blood sugar—the gasoline of the human body engine– remains low, causing hunger and fatigue. Eating foods high in sugar on the glycemic index causes the insulin to be produced in greater quantity, overworking the pancreas and thereby making senile diabetes more likely. Hypoglycemia requires frequent meals—about every three hours–made of balanced proteins and carbohydrates to maintain healthy blood sugars that keep the body functioning properly.
So where does this leave me? As far as food is concerned, the diet seems a bit bleak. Because of the Candida I cannot eat any foods with wheat (gluten), yeast, sugar, or fermentation—this means no breads, no wine, no beer, no nuts (except almonds); and no inorganic vegetables or meats. Dairy and fruit, because of their sugar content, are also limited to one serving a day. Because of the hypoglycemia, I have to eat constantly! Who has time for all of this?!
Having to constantly think about what to eat, what not to eat, and when to eat is utterly exhausting! Why do I have to have such regimented diet when others can just cut some calories?! My love/hate relationship with food is so exhausting that sometimes, I just say: “Screw it! I will eat whatever I want!”
I realize, however, I cannot have this attitude at this stage of the game if I want to actually lose weight, keep it off, and live a long, healthy life. I have to embrace my freakish diet needs if I truly want to become a fit, healthy person with a healthy weight. Everyone has his or her own crosses to bear in life, and this is mine—and it could be a lot worse, I tell myself. But, there are many, many days when I lament having freakish maladies that make me less than “normal.”
One such day, I was vociferating my disdain for “being different” and having to follow a diet that wasn’t “normal” when my nutritionist stopped me. She reached into her attaché, and pulled out a laminated sheet with the picture of what looked like a caveman on it. On the opposite side it showed in a cartoon, the progression of man from his cave dwelling days on up to his days behind the computer with a fast food drink in hand. The progression of man showed how man has gotten distinctively fatter over time, and finally obese due to our diet and inactivity.
My nutritionist raised the picture to show me and said “You see this guy? Anything he had to eat, you can eat—anything he didn’t, you can’t.” Great—I was going to eat like a caveman. I pictured horrible feasts of virtually raw bison—and, for the record I hate beef, so its cousin didn’t sound so appealing either. I sighed with disdain.
She went on to explain that man’s digestion—nay, man’s whole body system—has not changed since his early days, about 10,000 years ago. We as humans are not made for processed foods, chemicals, and preservatives. We are made for meat, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. We are not made for dairy, and sugar, and alcohol. We are made for water, and lots of it. She also explained that the caveman worked all day physically and awoke with the sun’s rise and slept with its set.
I looked at her with disbelief and slight disgust. No cheese? No Diet Coke? No Grey Goose? I tried to convince her that early man did in fact ferment potatoes and grain to make vodka for martinis—she was disinclined to concur. How was I supposed to eat nuts and berries and meat and go to sleep at sundown?! I couldn’t—I can’t! Sigh. We compromised.
I am to get at least eight hours of sleep each night and must work out each day. I have to eat five, three hundred calorie meals a day, made of lean protein and green veggies—two of which also need to include a serving of legumes. I can have dairy, fruit, and a whole grain once a day. I can drink organic green tea, and water—and that’s it—alcohol very, very sparsely.
Although this diet seems limiting, cumbersome, and hefty, I am somewhat relieved to know that I am not the freak of nature I thought I was—just a victim of man’s ingenuity, convenience, and gluttony gone awry—for 10,000 years!
In this modern world of convenience and comfort foods, this diet will be difficult to maintain, but I look forward to looking and feeling as nature intended—and after all, I’m keeping in mind that I am not reinventing the wheel—just myself.