"If my explorations of the food chain have taught me anything, it's that it is a food chain, and all the links in it are in fact linked: the health of the soil to the health of the plants and animals we eat to the health of the eater, in body as well as mind. ... Food consists not just in piles of chemicals; it also comprises a set of social and ecological relationships, reaching back to the land and outward to other people." -Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food
Well, kind of. We never really realized that she was getting bigger and bigger by the year until my brother pointed it out on a recent trip up here. It's one of those things--when you see them every day, you can't get outside the proverbial fishbowl and see how they've changed. Sort of like presidents. I'm always shocked when they show a picture of Bill Clinton or Bush or whomever when they first came to office. They invariably look so much thinner and younger than they do now. So when Brother mentioned how fat Ruby was getting, we dug out the old photos. He was right. She's huge.
For the eight years she has been with me, she has had a bowl of food at all times. In the early years, she was disciplined. She ate only enough to curb her appetite, and then off she'd go, tracking bugs or finding string or tackling the dogs. Not anymore. I leave her food out all day, and she eats all day. Then sleeps. Being an older cat, she doesn't play as much as she used to. She's also not too keen on change.
I decided the best solution to easing off some of the excess weight would be to just feed her less. Same food, just less of it. (Which reminds me, I'm now reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. I think I was on the library waitlist forever. OK, back to the cat.) Figuring changing her brand would be too much for the picky adorable thing that she is, I just reduced the amount I thought she was eating each day. This means giving her breakfast and dinner with the dogs, which makes mealtime very active in our household.
She eats regular old cat food, not vegetarian/vegan varieties. As much as I hate giving my money to the meat industry, I'm not convinced that a vegetarian/vegan diet is healthy for an animal that is almost entirely a carnivore in the wild.
Ruby hasn't lost any weight yet (maybe I'm giving her too much? 2/3 cup, 1/3 at each meal?), but she has taken to following me around for hours before breakfast and dinner. I think I've tripped over her more in the last month than I have in years. She is more cuddly and playful now, too. Perhaps I should have been doing this all along.
To answer BB's question: yes, I'm still keeping with the four-day work week, two of which are from home. And I'm taking my day off very seriously.
First, we went to the library and got seven more books, including some by bell hooks. I never knew she wrote children's books until I had Bean. Thank goodness she does.
We then took a long mid-day nap together, the windows wide open and the breeze seeming to keep us drowsy longer. Every now and again, she would smile in her sleep, her eyes crinkling briefly in the sunlight. There is no greater happiness.
In the afternoon, we moseyed on over to the local farmers' market, where we spent just $11 for a bounty of vegetables and fruit. I've read that through breastfeeding, babies develop likes and dislikes for certain tastes. Since vegetables are often harder for children to enjoy, I've made it my mission to ingest as many varieties of vegetables and fruits as I can get my hands on. Just this morning, I ate a grapefruit for Bean, even though I hate grapefruit. At the farmers market, I bought some garden peaches, tomatoes, honeycrisp apples (never had that variety), cucumbers, purple peppers (never had), spaghetti squash (haven't had in a long time), and sunjewel melon (never had). Everything, save the apples, was organic.
It is these small moments that I treasure. The relaxing day overrides my guilt of being nonproductive. It's not a guilt that's justified, it's just American and it's real.