How to Live In An Insect If The Dumpsters Have No More Carbs
Lorian: Have you noticed LÄRA removed the ‘raw’ from her list of ingredients, and now sells her bars as, like, ‘regular’ food? Do you think she makes more money because of this?
M: LÄRABAR is probably trying to be the next Chipotle or something. I haven’t eaten LÄRABAR in a few years. I used to eat them a lot, but now I just eat a handful of almonds instead. Is LÄRABAR an important member of your life? Are you sad Whole Foods hasn’t saved us all yet?
L: LARABAR was my candy bar of choice when I ate nothing but raw foods for a year, because it’s mostly fat and sugar and I love how oily they get inside their little wrappers. I like to imagine a woman named ‘Lara’ sitting somewhere in Colorado with a dehydrator and a Vitamix, handwrapping each bar with love and care, and thinking of her consumers as little babies. Now she seems like one hundred men in suits flying jets to talk about consumer products in carpeted offices before they meet their Seeking Arrangement dates. I have some raw cacao and coconut oil in my cupboard at home and I saw a cockroach in the bathroom this morning and thought, hmm. A few years ago, Will Smith made a movie about a famous homeless person in San Francisco and he walked into Borders in Union Square and asked my ex-boyfriend if they carried Plato’s Republic. I’m a big fan of Whole Foods because their dumpsters have fed me many times. Do you dumpster dive? Do you think Will Smith has ever walked into a mall and eaten Chinese leftovers from an abandoned plastic tray?
M: I have never gone dumpster diving, but my girlfriend and I talk about it. I live very close to a Whole Foods now so I probably should. I also work at a university so there is an endless stream of free lecture food. A few years ago I would go to a different event every night just to eat the free food. I gave up though because it was like all crackers, cheese, and cookies. I opened up my cricket flour this morning and added it to some yogurt. It didn’t really taste like crickets, but I’m not sure what crickets taste like.
The mill where I used to live had tiny cockroaches. I learned to accept them. Whenever they came in my room, I would pick them up and put them in a cockroach zone like the bathroom. My heartbeats felt good when I did not kill them. It looks like they kill insects for food consumption by freezing them. Supposedly, they feel no pain. That’s a nice thought. It’s weird to think about cricket feelings when I still eat all the meats. I don’t know.
Tell me more about eating abandoned food. One of the guys I work with in the Library said he used to go to this pizza place and eat whatever people didn’t finish. Also, what made you go raw? What led you to stop?
L: LOL ‘free lecture food.’ Feel like Trader Joe’s should be re-named ‘Free Lecture Food.’ I dumpster about 90% of my daily diet. I think when people think of ‘dumpster diving’ they imagine someone jumping in a dumpster like a swimming pool and sorting through rotten shit to find an apple. It’s not really like that. I mean, I’m sure it’s like that for some people, and maybe my dumpstering is privileged because I’m white and female and therefore I get away with things that others don’t because they aren’t white and female. I don’t have to worry about someone harassing me for sorting through the bags and boxes sitting behind an organic high-end grocery store.
People mostly just stare at me or offer to buy me food. Like there is this great pizza place on Haight Street called ‘Mythic Pizza’ and I go there on weekend nights, when it’s really busy, and take whatever is in the trash. People throw away whole slices of pizza. I just put my hand in the trash and I have like $6 worth of food.
So, the other night two guys asked me if they could buy me some pizza. I already had two slices of cheese pizza that I got from the trash. So I said, ‘Okay,’ and they bought me two more slices of pizza. So I walked out of Mythic Pizza with four slices of pizza. I gave three slices to a homeless couple and their dog, and ate the other. It was delicious. I do not understand why people won’t touch other people’s food. Your food has been touched many, many times before it landed on your plate. Waste makes me sad. Mall food courts are my favorite. You can eat all kinds of abandoned food and samples. It’s like a video game.
I went raw in graduation school when I read Enzyme Nutrition by Dr. Edward Howelll. I had very bad cystic acne. I saw a dermatologist who told me to take Accutane, and I’m pretty sure Accutane bought my dermatologist a car and a house and gave her lots of money to prescribe their drug. I always had a vague desire to die, but the Accutane made me Google bridges in North Carolina to jump from, and the suicide ideation was constant. I tried to kill myself in a Red Roof Inn after eating Pei Wei and watching an episode of Sex and the City on TBS. I stopped taking Accutane after that happened, and then I read Dr. Howell’s book. He talks about how the processing and heating of raw foods destroys enzymes and gives us an enzyme-deficient diet, which means our digestive systems have to work twice as hard to produce enzymes and digest food. We are very tired. We are bloated and sleepy. This is because we eat dead food.
I didn’t want to feel dead anymore, so I went raw. The first two weeks were hard, and then my cystic acne went away and my hair grew really fast and the whites of my eyes were very bright and I felt sort of high all the time. Maybe it’s stupid to say this, but raw foods helped a lot with my depression and getting me through graduate school. I stopped the raw thing because I graduated school and didn’t have two or three hours to spend in the kitchen every day. And it’s expensive. But a cool thing that happened was my mom started substituting lettuce for bread in her meals. She’s morbidly obese, and that small adjustment made her lose some weight, which made the whole raw experience seem worth it.
Have you ever tried eating nothing but raw foods for an extended period of time? What kinds of food did you put inside your body growing up? Are your parents fat?
M: Your response made me feel all the emotions. I felt very inspired. It made me want to put the whole world in my mouth. The next new diet will be eating raw pizzas out of dumpsters. I’ve been walking around all day singing about large pizzas.
Going totally raw sounds good. Whenever I cut sugar out of my diet my brain feels real good after two weeks. But building up to two weeks without sugar is difficult. If I stay up later than nine p.m., I usually end up eating the worst foods. The one thing holding me back from going 100% raw is the idea of cooking three hours a night. My favorite recipes are the ones you can eat as your walking home from the grocery store.
I honestly think I’m the “weird guy” at the Whole Foods where I shop. I go in every day. Sometimes I buy heads of lettuce and just start eating them as soon as I pay. Probably my most recent raw eating thing has been eating raw pastured eggs a couple times a week. They’re not bad. I like the taste of the yolk if I don’t eat it every day. Like my body is hungry for the egg nutrients. The best part is how quick it is to eat raw eggs. It takes almost zero minutes. But I guess I should warn everyone. ONLY EAT PASTURED EGGS RAW. You will die if you try to eat regular eggs raw. From what I’ve read you have to make sure the eggs come from pastured chickens which means the chickens get to walk around in the fields and stuff. Pastured eggs are the only eggs with have zero chance of having salmonella. They’re twice as expensive so might not be financially viable for some people.
My eating habits have sort of been unstable the last two months. Last winter, I ate almost zero processed carbs or sugars. I survived on eggs, fish, nuts, yogurt, hummus, and vegetables. I guess that’s the Paleo diet. It feels pretty dumb coming to that realization. Seems like only the worst people do Paleo. When spring and summer come, I try to only eat fruits and vegetables. This winter it’s been pretty garbage though. I honestly eat tortilla chips and hummus like three nights a week. FTW!
My parents have experienced various weight levels since I’ve known them. My dad was probably sixty pounds overweight at one point. When I was in high school they did the Atkins diet which is like Paleo except feels more insane. Now my parents are both in good shape. They do triathlons together. My dad always injuries himself. Poor dads. He fell of his bike and punctured his lung. It was a few years ago so it’s almost been long enough so we can laugh at him. For the most part, my family was sort of healthy growing up, but we ate pasta probably twice a week. Will pasta even exist in fifty years? I definitely had food issues. Like, if I have a container of something I will just eat the whole thing. Saving stuff for later doesn’t really compute in my brain. After I graduated from college, I remember buying a box of cereal and quart of milk then going to the movies. I ate the whole thing. I didn’t have a bowl so I just would put a handful of cereal in my mouth and then would take a sip of milk. I’m not sure where I was going with all this?
I saw on Facebook the other day you were running barefoot on the beach training for the NYC marathon?
L: I just asked the internet if you can eat eggshells and a guy named ‘Mark’ said, ‘Hi. I want to eat the shells to get the membrane. I will soak the ground up shells in lemon juice for a couple of hours to soften them and begin the breakdown.’ I think there was an episode of Wife Swap where the family ate raw eggs and raw meat. Seems okay.
Atkins is insane. I went on it when I was like, 16. I lost some weight but fell asleep in class a lot. I remember making ground beef with melted cheese on top as a snack. Didn’t that guy die of a heart attack? My dad is a binge eater and my mother has always been fat, and we grew up relatively poor in Ohio so there was a lot of Shit on a Shingle and Shepherd’s Pie. My dad will eat until he can’t move and then gets mad at us and says, ‘Why did you let me do that.’ I am like my dad, I want to eat myself to death.
I went to an Overeaters Anonymous group the other night and everyone there was a banker. I try to hold on to thoughts about consumerist culture and capitalism and Americans stuffing their holes, but food brings me to my knees. I wish I hated it. One way to hate it is to exercise, I think. Feeling your body in motion is a good rule because you can’t move very fast if you’re always full. I am training for this marathon in order to stop eating so much, and to maybe find another way to God without alcohol or sex or internet attention. It is nice to slam my bare soles against the sand when I am running, and to hear the emotion in my breath, and to think of nothing other than Go. I like the idea of your parents doing triathlons together, seems romantic and committed in ways that a lot of marriages aren’t, probably. I am scared of getting old and not being able to use my body anymore. Does that scare you?
I remember seeing a funny video of you running in sandals in the snow, is that how you get to work? Do you own a car and drive?
M: I don’t own a car and hope I never have to ever again. For two years I ran to and from work every day. I lived two and a half miles from work. The building I worked in didn’t have a shower so I would clean up with a washcloth and some Dr. Bronner’s soap. About a year ago I bought one of these wash bags and began washing my running clothes when I got to work.
Running to work was probably one of the most beautiful things I will ever experience. This is going to sound dumb, but it felt like an answer from god. Every morning as I ran, my brain had a conversation with itself and slowly I felt like I was figuring out the world. Unfortunately, I no longer run to work. About two months ago, I bought a house. It is only a mile from work, which isn’t far enough to run so now I just walk to work. I still run in the morning before work, but something is missing. The combination of transportation and exercise is gone. It feels less efficient to just run for exercise. I think maybe I need a new running goal. Maybe I will do a marathon. Or maybe I will revisit the idea of running across America.
I’m just remembering now that one of the reasons I started running to work was to train myself to run across America. The other reason I started running to work is because I saw Bill McKibben talk and I wanted to help save earth. I saw him speak on November 26 2012. The next day I was so fired up about what he said I ran to work instead of riding the bus. At first, I would run to work in my work clothes and sit at my desk in sweaty work clothes all day. It was winter so I didn’t get very sweaty. When spring came, I began sweating more which is when I started washing up with the washcloth when I got to work. It got to a point where people would say, “Oh, you’re the guy I always see running.” That felt pretty special. It’s kind of sad I don’t run as much anymore. I haven’t figured out a good running routine since I moved, but I was already burnt out on running before I moved.
For a while I had a standing desk at work and at home which was too much. My legs probably hated their life. I no longer use the standing desk at work and instead have a timer set every thirty minutes to remind me to get up and move around a little. As much as I miss running to work, I’m confident I will develop a new running lifestyle. I sometimes get worried about getting old and non-functional but then I remember I have the ability to improve and tweak my life. I know “self-improvement” is like a billion dollar industry of mostly shit, but I love the stripped down, non-commodified principle behind it.
If you don’t mind, let me climb up on myself and preach from the wizard hole I think exists in my brain. Learning new things is so goddamn beautiful. I love it when I think back to earlier versions of me and realize that guy didn’t know any of the things I know. And what’s better is recognizing I am currently the dumbest person on earth compared to every future version of myself.
You mentioned running in sandals. Between March and December, sandals were the only thing I wore. The sandals I wore are called “Luna Sandals.” I heard about them from a book called Born To Run. Anytime you read a book your life changes, but Born To Run probably changed my life more than any other book I’ve ever read besides maybe all the Calvin and Hobbes books. Before reading it, I wore Orthodics and had very weak feet. This book is famous for making barefoot running famous. When I got done reading the book, I threw out my Orthodics and every pair of shoes with a cushioned heel. I began wearing the flattest, thinnest shoes I could find. I ran barefoot off and on, but it’s so dirty in the city I got tired of the bottoms of my feet being black. About a year ago I took up the sandals. This spring I am going to try Xeroshoes which is supposed to be the lightest, thinnest sandal. It’s worth mentioning Born To Run is getting turned into a movie starring that sex guy Matthew McConaughey.
One last thing, I want to talk about food some more. You mentioned food bringing you to your knees. Food has also brought me to my knees at various points in my life. Growing up I did all the sports so eating everything was pretty easy and cool. Then when I graduated college and no longer had sports it was like, “Damn, I guess it’s time to just get fat.” Picking up running probably saved me from obesity, but it was difficult to not eat ice cream every night for dinner. Food is still my god and will always probably be my god, but in the last year that god no longer includes as much junk shit. I still eat the junk shit from time to time, but I feel like I have some control over it. The cravings have become sort of mathematical. This control is thanks to meditation. A year ago I began meditating twice a day. Meditation is less of a solution to all my problems and more of a reset button. Or just a way for my brain to release any stress it’s built up.
Do you own a car? If no, have you ever? What else scares you? You’ve mentioned in the past your money troubles? M/F/K: money, food, shelter?
L: I think if I ever get a face tattoo I will get “I am currently the dumbest person on earth compared to every future version of myself” because I want to read it every time I look in a mirror. What a lightbulb. My mom recently referred to me as ‘scrappy’ in front of my relatives, and I felt this strange embarrassment for the way I live in the world, but then I remember things I’ve learned and continue to learn just by pushing my body to survive beyond my brain and I feel more about that than I do about being embarrassed.
Do you experience any kind of social stigma attached to your lifestyle choices? Biking / walking to work has been a method of transportation for me for years because I do not like spending money to get somewhere, and I have an obsessive fear of sitting for too long. I recently lived in Ohio for a year and a half and biked everywhere on a trail next to a river that was never not brown. The summer heat was so intense that I’d soak through my clothes in a matter of minutes and be covered in dead bugs by the time I got anywhere, and the winter was so cold I had to wear bread bags wrapped around my wool socks inside heavy duty boots. Sometimes I miss having a car, but then I think about biking behind all the cars and breathing in pollution and I don’t want to have anything to do with that. Sitting in a car in order to sit for 8 hours seems insane. Sitting is killing America. I’m sitting right now and my right butt cheek is going numb. I drove my sister’s car a few times with my two year-old niece in the backseat and I went like 30 mph on the freeway before pulling over to have a panic attack. Owning a car is like owning a gun.
I hope you run across America. Maybe Xeroshoes will sponsor you. You should ask Matthew McCounahgey to kickstart your running career. Matthew Mcchoneuahg looks like fried chicken. I wonder if he sleeps on the floor. Cars, guns, fried chicken, and mattresses are killing America. The last thing I bought before I declared bankruptcy was a $900 Sears ‘extra firm mattress’ that did not fit up the stairs of my Ohio farm house, so I had to return it. That’s when I started sleeping on the floor, and that’s when I declared bankruptcy. Bankruptcy was a beautiful reminder that money is not real, that we can quit money whenever we want. The only thing that exists is our breath. Do you have one of those meditation pillows? Have you ever been inside a deprivation tank?
M: I’ve never met your mom, but it’s clear she is wrong because all American mothers/fathers are wrong. I feel sad your mom refers to you as scrappy rather than saying, “I’m proud of my daughter and I enjoy watching how she exists in the world.” I love both my parents. They are both good parents. Your mom is probably a good parent. But that doesn’t mean each and every one of us should not be doing everything we can to metaphorically destroy our fathers. Every structure in our society is currently fucked and it was all built by the fathers so we must do everything we can to tear down every single area where the father exists. If we don’t then we just end up wearing our dad’s face.
Anytime I feel even a hint of shame because maybe I’m still wearing sandals and it’s December or because I wear the same pants to work every day even when they have a rip in them, I remind myself that I’m currently living the greatest life I can possibly live at this moment. And it gets better each day because I’m constantly tweaking it. When things go wrong it’s okay because things have to go wrong. I think you’re right about cars, guns, fried chicken, and mattresses killing America, but I would swap sugar in for fried chicken. America literally eats something like 250 pounds of added sugar a year which is fifty five pound bags. If I could go back to any point in time, I would go back to the Reagan years so I could clean out Reagan’s insides and then wear his skin as a suit and renounce his war on drugs and instead begin a war on sugar. Anyone who gets caught eating sugar gets put in rehab for a month and is fed nothing except mostly fresh fruits and vegetables and fish like twice a week. Then after a month, when sugar is cleared from a person’s brain they would be released with three months worth of food vouchers that can only be fruits and vegetables.
Thank god we have Michelle Obama. She trying to do this, but Barack don’t give her no drones or anything to really make an impact. Too bad she never got to wear Reagan’s skin. But yeah, it’s not in big America’s interest to get people off sugar. It keeps everyone passive and in zombie brain. An endless cycle of sugar and entertainment. Everything in society is about control. Sugar like school like debt like cars is just another way to keep everyone obedient and in line and just a little bit stupider than their full potential.
L: I want Michelle Obama to declare sugar as the most famous experimental prison of its time. If rats are given unlimited access to cocaine, they will self-administer until they die. I watch my sister feed my three year old niece donuts every day and now my niece says things like ‘I scarfed all the donuts.’ There should be a campaign to list brown rice syrup as black tar heroin.
I was homeless for a few weeks and slept in Golden Gate Park and there was this food bank where I’d go to eat but it was only cereal and bread and I’d eat it because I was hungry, but there is a significant shittiness to food bank options for homeless, marginalized folks. The crap they serve in the psych wards of hospitals is terrifying sugar. Michelle Obama needs to incorporate some shelter / Section 8 housing / food bank visits into her rhetoric about the SAD diet. Access to nutrients is vital and fucked. Agony is everywhere. The whole thing is rigged and special attention is paid to nothing. I think if everyone quit mirrors and money we could delete the filthy world of fathers and put cops in holes and remove ourselves from this dull forced path.