Reading and Eating: Balance for a Healthy Mind and Body

Years ago some “Mr. Know it all” approached me, while I was reading a book and eating a bag of chips inside the student lounge. He looked at me and said, “Reading is like eating. You can’t get anything out of junk, but junk itself.” Was his comment a criticism of my weight, my mind … or both? Since he was a know it all, I took his advice. I put away the latest bestseller, threw away the chips and soda (just in case he was referring to my weight), and began my journey to nourish my mind and my body.

While enjoying my Greek salad, I perused the “Odyssey,” “Medea,” “Oedipus the King” and other classic snooze fests—the Greeks to literature are like parents to children “Mr. Know it all” would say. Over a plate of bubble and squeak, I pondered which English sleeper I’d put on my reading list: Shakespeare, Chaucer, or Milton. I eventually read them all and other literary and philosophical works. I thought that once the greatest minds began to grow roots into my noodle I too, through osmosis, might become a great thinker. I was a glutton! I’ve always been an extremist. I held my literary nose up so high that my nostrils became a prime target for bird droppings.

Years later my itching for a fixing crept back into my life. I needed some excitement, not that “Macbeth” wasn’t exciting, but I’d had enough of  “thees and thous.” I cheated on Shakespeare with a King … Stephen King. I stayed up all night turning pages. King made me feel all goose-bumpy especially in the wee hours. He also taught me a lot about the creepy crawlies lurking in the world and in my mind.

A few months later, I grew bored with  the creepy crawlies and yearned for something sultry and scintillating (oh I love the alliteration–Milton would be proud). I picked up a steamy historical romance novel. (I might as well learn about the 1600s while I’m at it.) I went further down to erotica (I might as well get a proper sex education right?). Then I ventured into total sensory overload and searched out books by mystery authors  because no one would attribute their moniker to titles such as “The Passion Fruit and the Banana” or “The Dominatrix of St. Petersburg” or the “Bondage of a Swinger’s Dead Ringer.” I loved it! I was addicted and I wanted more.

Then the shame of my transgression haunted my conscience. So, I tucked away my guilty pleasures. But temptation won for I was weak. All this sexy reading also made me ravenous for some sweet and salty: cheesecake, potato chips, fries, burgers, chocolate, ice cream and deep-fried pork (yum). Oh no! My mind was shrinking and my body was expanding.

I became despondent. My nostrils no longer looked up but down into the sewers of bad—really badly written books by authors whose only redemption was their fertile imagination for scribbling plotless and mindless bits of sexy dribble. My literary diet went from semi-healthy to devouring edible mystery foods from the mini mart. What was happening to me?

I was so confused. Then I remembered what Aristotle said about virtue. He said that a balance must be achieved in everything we do to acquire happiness (or something like that). Was I worried that my great mind might turn into pulp? Finally, I had to admit that my mind probably wasn’t so great anyway. And, I’d be reduced to nothing if I kept eating like a rabbit. Balance and moderation was the answer. So, I opened a bag of multi-grain chips and chased it down with a banana cream smoothie while I read “My Secret Life.” I had the best of both worlds. “Mr. Know it all” would be proud.

Note:My Secret Life” was required reading in my Victorian literature class. I’d never read so much perversion and debauchery in my life. The professor that chose this book must have been a big time freak in the closet.

About Lafemmeroar
Writer, blogger, humorist. Visit my blog to know more :)) Laughing at the malfunction of the universe is better than crying about it.

18 Responses to Reading and Eating: Balance for a Healthy Mind and Body

  1. magsx2 says:

    Hi,
    “The Passion Fruit and the Banana” I couldn’t help but laugh, what a title, I can only imagine what the title had to do with the story line. 🙂 Mr. Know it all has a lot to answer for.

    • Lafemmeroar says:

      Thanks. I’m always thinking about parallels … mind/body … reading/eating … love/hate and all that. Glad I gave you a chuckle 🙂

  2. Ah the need to read the canon. I have to admit there is something about reading and loving well-regarded books, but I, too, still love to read more contemporary books. Aristotle is right–Everything in moderation, including moderation. This is a great post the makes me feel a little less guilty about my pleasure reading!

    • Lafemmeroar says:

      Thanks. Yeah I’ve stopped feeling guilty about the trash I read. If I like it … then it’s good 🙂

      • effeuiller says:

        I think that’s the best way to describe a book! There are so many different styles of writing out there, I don’t consider one to be above another. I try to appreciate each book for what it is and what it gives me. I get just as much pleasure from mystery novels as from classics. There is no one right type of book, which is what I love most about them.

        (Also, I am glad you are enjoying chips again.)

        • Lafemmeroar says:

          Reading diversity is important. I do love all genres. True literature makes me think, and all the others are just such fun reads … how can I deprive myself 🙂 I will always love chips … hehe

  3. k8edid says:

    Here’s my take on balance, reading and eating. (Sorry, when I saw the title I got this visual right away)

    Fix yourself a big ole plate of goodies, grab your favorite books (or some that might become your favorites). Balance the plate on your stomach and chomp your way through the pages…….doesn’t always work so well with library books as they often frown at finding blue cheese dressing on the table of contents and baklava crumbs in between chapters.

    I will read anything, and I mean anything…from milk cartons to research papers. Granted, I HAVE to read the research papers, but if it’s got words, I’m all over it. I do not feel guilty when I read something trashy – usually I look to see if one of my friends WROTE it.

    • Lafemmeroar says:

      I got a visual on your reply as well and I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wooooo hoooooooo 🙂 I’ve been thinking about doing a poll on the blog and you just gave me an idea ….. thanks as always for your comments …

      • k8edid says:

        You are welcome…….

  4. jaerae1971 says:

    That’s right, if you like it then it’s good. I think we get something from everything we read….everything. But maybe that’s just me making excuses for reading the naughty stuff too. 🙂

    • Lafemmeroar says:

      oooooooh I love the naughty stuff

  5. hollyjb says:

    For me, I read for the same reason I watch movies and TV; to escape, to learn, and to be entertained. I would say my TV/Movie watching is a little more balanced than my books (mostly I read Fantasy, some historical romance, some with a slight Christian faith base to them). Of the books I own, I’m guessing 80-85% are Fantasy, 5% Historical fiction/romance, and the rest are textbooks. I like Fantasy because you get a bit of everything; history, magic, romance, adventure, mystery… but I could expand my literary interest if I tried.

    I quite often read ‘smut’ (to put it politely) online sometimes. But my guilty pleasure for online reading in Fanfiction. Mostly Fanfiction about worlds and characters from other books. Some of it is better (IMHO) than the original.

    I started reading ‘David Copperfield’ and ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’. If you combine the reading I’ve done with both I didn’t even make is half way.

    • Lafemmeroar says:

      The classics stay with you for the rest of your life. I still remember how I cried at the end of “Grapes of Wrath” With that said, I like my share of “steamerotica” but I can never remember the plot, the title or the names of the main characters after I put down the book . Have you ever heard of Project Gutenberg? They have thousands of public domain books (classics) that you can download or read online. Who is your favorite author?

      • hollyjb says:

        ‘Grapes of Wrath’ is a book I’ve heard talked about a lot, but never read. And no, Project Gutenberg is new to me, but I will check it out.

        I would say my favourite author is Mercedes Lackey, although I do have a bone to pick with her writing; she writes a lot of trilogies, but almost all her books take place in this single world spanning a couple thousand years or so…she mentions one event in the books/stories of 3 different characters. This in itself is not a problem. The problem is that each time the story is drastically different. I understand that yes, the three trilogies may have been written over a span of over 20 years, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go back and double check your own work. And I realize that stories change when told from different points of view, but it’s not even that, it’s like she just decided to change her mind and didn’t care what she had previously written. I still like her world though, the first trilogy she wrote in it is my ‘comfort trilogy’. I’ve read it 17 times. :S

        Of course I’ve read LOTR and Chronicles of Narnia (what Fantasy fan hasn’t?!?!). I remember some of the books I read in high school, right now I’m thinking of one (I think it was ‘Shampoo Planet’), but I can’t remember the author….Douglas Copeland! That’s it. Maybe I spelled his name wrong :S. He’s Canadian and he wrote a book called J-Pod that I want to read. They made it into a TV show (I think it was cancelled after the first season, but it was good) that I watched online.

        I realize that most of the authors I’ve read (or at least the one’s that have written my fav books) are female! I know Tamora Pierce writes Young Adult Fantasy, but I like her books too. Deeanne Gist is an author I started reading last summer. Picked up a few of her books for really cheap. They’re sort of considered ‘Christian’ books because in the end a lot of what the characters to is based on their faith, but they’re also historical romance. Anyone who is a hardcore feminist would probably hate them (then again, maybe I don’t quite understand what feminism is…), but I like them.

        And I’ve ran on long enough…again!

  6. Lafemmeroar says:

    @hollyb
    I love your comments 🙂 I’ve heard of Tamora Pierce, but haven’t read her. Have you ever read Philip K. Dick? He’s sci-fi and I do like him. I need to Google all the authors you’ve mentioned. Thanks for giving me so much new info …

    • hollyjb says:

      No problem! I will Google Philip K. Dick for sure. And I love your blog posts! I saw something this weekend that reminded me of one of the first of your blog posts I read…when I get around to talking about it I’m going to mention your blog and include a link. So maybe some of my friends will start reading you too!

      • Lafemmeroar says:

        As Tony the Tiger would say … That’s Greeeeeeaaaaaaaat! I’m glad you like my blog. My favorite sci-fi movie “Blade Runner” was based on Philip K. Dick’s book ” Do Andriods Dream of Electric Sheep.”

  7. Pingback: Questions I asked Mommy and Daddy « Lafemmeroar

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