The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

May 14, 2010

Environmental Film Leads to Anger Eating

eat-memeWhat do you do when you have to sit through a very stressful film about how corporate America is destroying the planet, and the screening takes place in a night club so everyone else has a drink in their hand to take the edge off, and you’re trying to keep it together with a glass of water?  And also? You used up your last prescription bottle of Xanax and don’t plan to get it refilled for various reasons, the least of which is the plastic bottle.

I found myself in that condition Wednesday night, seeing the film Tapped for the 3rd time and feeling just as angry as I did the first time I saw it.  Tapped, which I reviewed last year, is all about the bottled water industry and covers infuriating information most people are unaware of.  Wednesday’s screening was hosted by SF Surfrider, who invited me to come and talk to people about ways to live with less plastic.  So I did that and got into an argument with one of the sponsors (and his brain-splittingly strong cologne) trying to convince me of all people that his reusable plastic bottles were awesome.


After the screening, on the way to the BART station, I spotted a Mexican restaurant still open and ducked inside.  I wasn’t hungry.  At all.  I was stressed out.  And I could almost imagine myself ordering a pork burrito and wolfing it down with a Negra Modelo beer: imagine myself taking out my stress on a pig.  And that’s the thing, isn’t it? Every day there are farm and slaughterhouse workers who DO take out their aggressions on defenseless animals.  And people who beat their pets or children or partners.  Or force their animals to fight one another.

Who among us is not susceptible to violent feelings?

God help me if I should ever become “holier than thou” on this blog.  I didn’t eat the pig that night, choosing instead to inflict harm on a bean and cheese burrito.  But this compulsive eating is a way to stuff down feelings  that arise when I bump up against harsh reality.   When the problems in the world feel so overwhelming.  When I’m scared and anxious.

Oh, and THEN the server tried to give me my burrito on a disposable plastic plate!

I’m not in that restaurant now.  I’m sitting here at my desk with my kitties sleeping in the window, and yet I’m getting stressed out all over again just having these thoughts. The sun is out and I think I’ll go for a walk instead of opening the refrigerator and stuffing myself with the first thing I see.

Two weeks ago, my meditation teacher asked me to stop hiding.  But man, that’s hard sometimes.

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Happy Herbivore
13 years ago

I completely agree with Danielle. I was a big ball of stress recently and my yoga teacher told me to “stop that!” and “leave it up to the universe, trust the universe that it’ll make a path for me to get what needs to be done, done.” and a funny thing happened, once I let go and stopped stressing and just danced to my own drummer, a weight lifted, i got more done than before, and I felt bliss.

13 years ago

Okay, I’ll go out on a limb and say I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with emotional eating. When life hurts us, we have to nurture ourselves, and food is a very powerful nurterer. If something as simple as a little comfort food can stop pain and stress from chewing up our psyches and our entrails, I’d say that is a small miracle.

Now sure, if every day results in that kind of emotional torment and the comfort food is unhealthful to us or others or the planet, then it’s time to explore other strategies, but I wouldn’t put abandoning emotional eating at the top of the list. I’d start with finding equally comforting but less problematic foods and follow with either developing other healthier ways to handle the stress or, my own preference, finding ways to remove the stress from my life.

But if one can be calmed and even healed with food, is that not better than depression, suicide, violence against others, threatening employment or relationships by acting out, overmedicating, drinking or using drugs to excess, ulcers, insomnia, and so on?

13 years ago

Can I say, “Don’t let people/things stress you.” ??

I always try (emphasis on “try) to look at things in the perspective of I’m here to learn something… no matter good or bad… what am I supposed to learn from any given situation or person?? When I look at things from that perspective, I’m less likely to get stressed over things that I cannot change.

I read something a couple of weeks ago about reality biting… and now have a favorite quote from it:

“…We follow our hearts. We expect nothing in return. We accept that there is no “there” and that change is both constant and unpredictable. And, since we can never walk a mile in another person’s shoes, we accept that one size (our size) does not fit all.”

Read the rest :)

By the way, in case you forgot… you are helping change the world… by you being active and speaking up about the things you believe in… you are helping bring consciousness to others… and even reaching 1 person creates a ripple effect… I know that you know this… otherwise you wouldn’t do what you do :)

13 years ago

Beth I am so amazed and impressed by your conversion to vegetarianism. You are truly an amazing person, your life choices impress and inspire me.

Russell and I are planning on cutting out plastics as much as possible from here on out. He convinced me it’s not a will power thing, it’s a planning thing. The more you plan, the more organized you are, the less you find yourself in a position where you need to rely on plastics.

Same for meat. Of course, there is a much huger emotional connection between a person and their food, but proper planning can go a long way.

A huge thing that helps new vegetarians is: always! bring! food!


Good luck!!!

13 years ago

there also angry, frustrated food service workers in most restaurants taking out their feelings on the food that gets served. i’ll spare you the gory details.

i prob would have opted to accept one of his awesome plastic bottles and offered to pour the contents over his head.

13 years ago

BTW, have you read Joel Fuhrman’s “Eat To Live”? It’s awesome. If you haven’t, grab a copy and give it a go.

13 years ago

Hey, I know the feeling. I’ve actually started over at (which is quite good) to get some support as I’m back eating healthily after emotional blowouts over summer. Nothing to do with anything as ethical as the environment though – in my case, dealing with autism led me to decide I was going to eat myself senseless :-(

So now, for the first time in 4 years after losing heaps of weight and maintaining it beautifully, I’m above my healthy weight and have to lose a few kgs. 7 of them, to be precise. That’s 15 pounds in your measurement :-(

Life can suck sometimes. But you know what? Eating about it never helped me either.