This topic has been on my mind for a while now and it was something I wanted to take time to write about and discuss because it may relate to you or someone you know. To give this some context, I was thinking of a way I could actually do a panel about it before Anime Detour in Minneapolis. I checked out a panel at Anime Detour by Kyle Hebert and another presenter about diet and the otaku lifestyle. These two things are closely related, we go to cons and live for 2 or 3 days on Pocky and Ramune, then we do this several times over the course of a summer. Every season we are given a plethora of new shows to watch and when some of are done with those we will game or stream random things online or venture into forums and spend hours there. In my case I spend my time animating so I am sitting in most cases working.
Let’s backtrack a little first. About 2 years ago my mom needed a stent put in for a clogged artery by her heart, which is in part to diabetes. She developed diabetes during her first pregnancy with my sister and it came back. After that I started paying more attention to what I was eating and lost about 25 pounds. Part of my solution was my community garden I had. I was able to plant several types of vegetables, which in turn helped with what I consuming. That’s why I also blog a little about gardening, it is necessary for me to keep up with my diet, which I prefer to call a lifestyle change.
I prefer to call it a lifestyle change because with diets you reach a goal and then you stop and you gain your weight back, which is what happened to me. For that reason, I am writing this for myself and for others who may need inspiration.
What worked for me was tracking my calorie intake, but also the types of calories. I avoided things with high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring and tried to eat more whole foods. With that routine it was a good way to operate because all you have to do is eat less than you burn (using about 2,000 calories for a male), and you will lose weight over the course of time. I thought I made the lifestyle change and stopped doing this process and as I slowly gained my weight back I thought I could gain control again but couldn’t. I learned from that mistake and it will not happen again.
All of this circles back to the community garden. Our city is fortunate enough to have the space for people to get gardens. The initial investment in fencing materials can be a little intimidating, but it is one thing I learned, is if you are unwilling to invest in yourself, no one will. The garden isn’t as easy as one may think. You can’t simply plant your plants and harvest it later. It requires work putting up the fence, weeding, and watering, but the work is worth it when you get to cook and enjoy all of the produce you grow. I have learned a lot about growing cycles, staggering plantings and canning. My favorite thing is learning how to maximize space by planting crops that have short growing seasons in between the plants that have longer cycles.
Every year I try to grow something I never grew before. Last year I grew a plant I can’t recall but it was a Japanese green. I learned how to make a few dishes that people used that plant for in Japan and how they cooked with it. The plant also grew insanely fast, we were cutting it constantly, which made it good to grow because we were able to get a lot for the space it occupied.
Here is to another year of urban gardening and working to get back down to weight.