Monday, June 15, 2009

Shoes And Veal….Yes, There IS A Connection

If there’s such a thing as the perfect shoe, I found it last weekend at Famous Footwear.

I’m a Skechers whore. Before my latest find, I owned four different pairs and I love them. But the pair I bought last weekend are better than any shoe I’ve ever owned, including my workout shoes. These fit my feet like a glove and give great arch support. If my husband wouldn’t mind, I’d wear them to bed.

After two foot surgeries and advancing arthritis, I gave up heels. And forget flip-flops and open-toed sandals. Without the support of my orthotics, it’s like I’m walking on thumb tacks. So finding the right shoe always makes me do a little happy dance.

For me, shoes are like food. Both have to be just right or I will be terribly uncomfortable. In my post “Hindering My Hindrances,” Karen left a comment and question about how I deal with bringing food to someone else’s house.

She wrote, “About your food planning - I also think that is the secret of weight maintenance. I have kept my weight loss off almost 2 years now and am (like you) very diligent about planning my meals.

“What I haven't gotten past though, is bringing my own food to someone else's house. I know that most of the people we gather with wouldn't like what I eat, but my Midwest politeness won't let me bring my own. I feel like it would be an insult to the hostess. I would really appreciate any suggestions on how you overcame that.”

Here’s how I came to not give a damn what other people think about how and what I eat. I call it “The Veal Experience.”

I moved to Podunkville, Pennsylvania, in 1991 from Minnesota, so I know of this “Midwest politeness” Karen speaks of. I cut beef out of my diet in 1986 after my father had two heart attacks. I was obese then and was afraid I, too, would have a heart attack young, and so I stopped eating most meat. The one time I ate beef was in a homemade taco salad in 1990 (it was almost 100 percent lean, the leanest ground meat I could find) and I spent the rest of the evening in the bathroom. ‘Nuf said. Haven’t touched the stuff since.

Anyway, I moved here to PA with my (now ex) husband who got a job as a professor at our local college. (For those of you keeping track, yes, my current – and last – husband is also a prof at the same school, different department. I have a thing for men with letters after their names, apparently). As part of the orientation for new faculty, ex and I were invited to a faculty member’s home for dinner with other faculty members. (The academia with nauseatingly thick in the room that night, my friends.)

When we sat down for dinner, Hostess began by serving a shrimp salad swimming in a creamy white dressing. I wasn’t watching my weight at the time, although I should have been. I weighed 139 pounds and it would have behooved me to stay there, but I digress. I’ve had high blood pressure since I was 18 and so I watch my sodium intake, and I knew that salad Hostess was passing was afloat in sodium. To be polite, I scooped a miniscule amount. Hostess said, and I’m not kidding, “Is that all you’re going to eat?” Let’s just say she wasn’t the most tactful woman I’d ever met.

I smiled and stood my ground. “Yes, thank you. I have to watch my sodium intake.” Why lie?

I took a rolls, but passed on the butter and the olives and the pickles and the cheese sauce that I think had potatoes floating somewhere in the grease. But the catalyst that guaranteed I was never being invited back and that Hostess and I were not going to be BFF was when Hostess personally walked around the table with a platter of veal.

I don’t eat beef, we’ve established that. I made that decision for health reasons. But I do not and have not and will not ever eat veal. I made that decision for animal rights reasons (a decision I made long before corporate farming and the abhorrent ways in which animals are treated today…a subject for another day and perhaps a different blog format).

Veal? Was she kidding me? Who serves veal to guests she’s never met before? I wanted to walk out in protest, but I was there as the Good Wife and so I politely said no. Again, she berated me. “You don’t eat meat, either? What are you? A vegetarian?” She said “vegetarian” like it was a four-letter word. And I wasn’t even a vegetarian at the time!

“No,” I explained as my husband kicked me under the table. “I haven’t eaten beef in several years.”

I wish now that I’d have launched into my political banter, but I was only 28 and Hostess was 60 and scary. However, she taught me two very important lessons that night. 1) I always, ALWAYS ask my guests if they have a dietary restriction or request before they dine at my house; and 2) I always ALWAYS ask my host/hostess what they are serving and to let them know that they do NOT have to prepare something separate for me, and I am happy to bring along my own food. If they have a problem with that, then they are not worthy of my presence at their dinner table. Word.

Weight loss has made me a bit militant. But it’s my body I’m defending, and I do it in the nicest possible way. What I eat isn’t anyone’s business other than my own since it is MY body the food is passing through and it is ME who has to deal with its repercussions the next day.

So Karen, I don’t know how comfortable you are becoming your own little army, but like a good pair of shoes, if you don’t serve yourself the right food, you will be uncomfortable in some way, shape, or form. And you, not your host or hostess, has to live with that.

And I say all that in the nicest possible way because, well, I’m a nice person. LOL!

On a side note, I know a lot of you have foot issues and can empathize with my feet issues, so I’d love to hear about your favorite shoes. And even if you don’t have foot issues, give us your shoe reviews. If there’s another perfect shoe beyond the Skechers I’ve got on my feet right now, I’d love to know.

22 comments:

  1. I think you hit it on the head with your comment about the bathroom event after the last time you tried non-regular-for-you-food.

    It makes it VERY easy to
    take your own -
    or
    say you are prepping for medical test and aren't eating -
    or
    whatever -
    if you KNOW you are going to get sick from eating someone else's food.

    And that is exactly what happens (at least to me and it sounds like you too) when you are used to eating 'clean'.

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  2. Shoes for me come from Easy Spirit and Naturalizer. I have wide small feet, 6 1/2 double wide when I was at my heaviest, now just a 6 1/2 wide (try finding shoes in that size).

    Easy Spirit does have all those hard to find sizes and I love their athletic shoes.

    The only thing I can't get there are good outdoor boots. I had to buy boots from the young men's department to get sturdy enough boots for me in a size that would fit. I call them my 'boy boots'. LOL

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  3. Easy Spirit, Aerosoles and Sketchers are my go-to brands and I'll give Naturalizer an honorable mention. I've always had feet and back issues since my teen years so I am always looking for comfort and style wrapped into one! I have four pairs of sketchers--LOVE THEM! I so wish I could wear my sketchers to work--they don't go with the office dress code!

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  4. Birkenstocks feel the best for me. Since I found out about the arthritis in my big toe I really need to pump up the arch support. And the orthotics go in everything else.

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  5. I have plantar fasciaitis (however you spell it), incipient bunions, hammer toe, arthritis and whatnot...plus my feet have grown to size 13. So my brand choices are rather limited. You have to try Clarks Privo! They are cute and about the only thing I can wear comfortably without orthotics now. I've converted a lot of my smaller-footed friends to them as well. Munro is also good, and can accommodate orthotics.

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  6. Hi Lynn, I agree with you about the food, and taking care of what you need for yourself. My dad told me recently that my sister called me the 'food nazi' and I know she meant it as an insult as in I was always telling other people what to eat. But that is not true--if they are interested, I share information with them. What I thought was that yes, I am a food nazi with myself.

    Anyways, about the shoes, I am very interested in the sketchers, I will have to try those on. I am particular about just the right arch support too, and I don't like straps between my toes or a strap across the top of my foot any more--I think it might be arthritis. Anyways, I had a pair of Teva sandals a few years ago that were just the perfect support, and I think I will get a new pair of them this year. I also really like the arch support of Merrell shoes. Right now, my favorite walking shoes are Saucony.

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  7. Hey Lynn, are the skechers you like called Turismo?

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  8. Thanks for the suggestions. I've not tried Easy Spirit or Birkenstocks (stayed away from Birks because old science profs wear them with black socks! LOL). Clarks sound interesting, as does Teva. I love shoes as much as I love handbags, so this is golden info, you guys!

    Yes, Debby, my beloved Skechers are the Turismo. I also have Sassies in two colors and a pair of tie-up tennies, but I don't know the name of them.

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  9. Lynn,
    I too love great shoes, and am also a "militant" dinner guest. I grew up in the South, and still live there, and Southern politeness has to rival Midwest manners!

    I don't eat beef, pork or veal either, and that can make for an interesting conversation at the table. I used to take a little bit, and swoosh it around on my plate, but now I just decline. It can be awkward, but not as awkward as not being able to fit into my pants because I overate, or feeling guilty for eating something I haven't had in years.

    During my weight loss of 150 pounds I found my voice, not only in terms of weight loss, but also in terms of what's right for me.

    Great post as always!

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  10. You`re so strong, i think i`m not capable yet (at 29) to bring my food to host or refuse something they are giving me.
    For instance, last thursday we ate with friends and i said to my husband to tell her boss(the host) that i don`t take fat (oil on meet or for the salad)and she replied `i understand, no problem` and then when we ate there with a lot of influent people at my husband job my barbecue was full of olive oil. Very tasty and very good but i wasn`t appreciate it as i was imagined all the fat in my body.
    Well i wish i had your strenght.

    And my favorite shoes are all with hills (i know it hurts but as i`m little it helps me look like a thiner person).

    Julie from Cannes

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  11. Thanks for the picture of the shoes and the comments about shoes. I am going to go out and get some Sketchers now because my days of wearing high-heeled shoes are pretty much over due to knee problems. My struggle now is how to find fancy shoes to wear with dress pants. Oh well... The health of my knees is more important than wearing high heels.

    I applaud you, Lynn, for having the courage to stay strong about your food choices at others' homes. I still get a little shy about asking waiters to accommodate me at a restaurant. I still haven't had the courage to ask others to accommodate me in their homes. I just eat very little in those instances.

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  12. Any hostess worth caring about will entirely overlook what you choose to eat or not eat. We have turkey divan at many birthdays and a bunch of the invitees don't eat anything green. Or anything with curry. Or sauce. Ignore.

    I was at a friend's house and they'd cooked absolutely an absolutely luscious meal that I knew was going to make me sick. I'd had a baby a few weeks before and my stomach was still super fragile. I took a small portion and ate only a few bites, avoiding the sauce. They appeared not to notice, polite people that they are.

    If your hosts lack social skills, it's not your fault. love, V

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  13. So with you on the veal!

    Do you think the Shoe Issues are a legacy from being larger? I have so many problems and can't swan around in flimsy ballet flats or heels without getting very sore knees and shin splints very quickly. So all my shoes are more sturdy than sexy; almost orthopedic. Boooo.

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  14. Dansko sandals - they are to die for. Super comfy plus they are cute!

    I keep getting shin splints walking on the cement sidewalks. These have stopped them.

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  15. I haven't really ventured out to dinner parties with the WW lifestyle... but your ability to calmly yet firmly stand up for yourself is wonderful and an inspiration.

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  16. At the age of 43--I'm finally getting the hang of standing up for my food choices at family and friend gatherings. I have started to ask beforehand what the menu is and if it's something that is not on my plan I let the host/hostess know that I'm happy to bring along a dish for myself and of course enough to share! So far so good! Now that I've had a few successes I feel more confident in making the initial call.

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  17. One more thing--I have the Turismos in black and of the four pairs of sketchers I own--these are my favorite and most comfortable. In fact, I think I need a summer pair of that style ;~)

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  18. I have had foot problems too, and for years could never wear sandals or flip flops (I'd end up limping for days). After a LOT of convincing I bought a pair of Crocs (yeah, ugly, dumb crocs that I swore I'd never buy) but they HAVE come out with cute styles now. OMG my feet are SO happy. I can ever shop the mall for hours in my crocs flip flops with NO pain. Love. I have 3 pairs of Crocs Capris and one other dressier sandal.

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  19. Lynne, could you comment a bit more on your aversion to veal prior to giving up beef altogether? As a non-militant vegetarian, I can't quite grasp why eating baby cow was so unimaginable, but eating adult cow was perfectly acceptable. Trust me, adult cows aren't treated one iota better, and they suffer far longer.

    Just as I don't understand people (like a co-worker of mine) who brag about being a vegetarian while still eating chicken and fish. Huh?

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  20. Suzy, as a former family farmer who raised beef cows, I know first hand baby cows are treated far worse than their adult counterparts. I'm sure corporate farming makes it all totally abhorrent now, but most small family farmers treated their animals very well. Just not the veal calves.

    Thanks everyone for even more shoe suggestions! I just might need a new closet.

    Shauna, I have no doubt some of my foot issues are due to years of going up and down the scale. I cannot wear cute ballet shoes either :(

    Lyn, my granddaughter LOVES crocs! LOL

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  21. Lyn ~ Thank you so much for this post!! I think it will take baby steps to get to the same point you are as a food militant. I am going to use your suggestion though and ask what's being served. I always bring a dish, but if the menu doesn't have something on it that works for me, I'll just bring a second dish that does. That way I know there is at least one thing I can eat!

    About shoes - the older I get the more my feet have started to bother me. Stinkin' bunions... Anyway, I LOVE my Easy Spirit Traveltime shoes. They are oh, so comfy, so easy to slip on and off, soooo light weight, and they can be washed. They sound alot like your Crocs. I haven't ever tried Crocs but I may need to do that.

    Thanks again for the great post! Karen

    PS - very weird to see my name in your blog!!!

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  22. Karen, thre are LOTS of ways to bring food in a "Hey, just thought I'd help out" way. And, if you're relatively close to the people you're eating with, they will probably understand how you want to stay on the healthy side of eating. We can stick up for our bodies in a positive, helpful and non-confronting way.

    And hey, you ask me a question, I'll answer it in a blog :) Maybe you need to start a blog yourself? Just a thought.

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