Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Over-Processed

So you all remember my cutie patootie poochie, Joel, yes?

A couple weeks ago Joel was... stodgie... had an obviously irritated... bowel... bad... yucky (messy even). And the hubby took him to the vet to see what was the matter...

Poor Joel had pancreatitis! He was getting too much fat in his diet!

The clincher is he has ALWAYS eaten Iams Weight Control, and we are careful on volume... he gets carrots for treats...

The vet gave us special food, then told hubster what we could MAKE for him if we preferred...


The food we've begun making is rice, chicken and we've been alternating sweet potatoes and green beans.

In two weeks on this non-processed food, Joel has lost a pound and a half... And you can TELL how much better he feels!  So much more energy... happier...


Okay, so the difference isn't that apparent...
And it got me thinking...


I'm a Big Fat Cow...

And it is time to cut the processed food out of MY diet too... maybe this will help me... I can only hope... Okay, so that's a digression... Just... some of the pictures the other night made me cringe. It's gotten out of hand and I need to get it back under control.


But it ALSo , it got me thinking about BOOKS...

And formulas... and rules, and stringency...

I've read some novels that follow the rules... too well... that fit in everything exactly where it should go... and I think that now and then, it is okay, but too much of that, and it is... you know... too much of that... Like too much processed food... it leaves us flabby and unattractive... (and lazy and unenergetic) I've decided what I really love are the novels written with full on HEART that then are brought into line JUST ENOUGH to make it through the labyrinth to publishing... Leave it more natural... shake it up a little... Leave in the individuality of the thing...

I know that isn't what I'm supposed to say. I like a lot of novels that follow all the rules. But those aren't the novels that I love. And nutritionally (erm... metaphorically speaking) I'm not sure those novels are the best for me. I think the rule breakers stretch me and grow me... INSPIRE ME... Show me what is POSSIBLE... Make me dream of what I might become... Now Joel had the same diet for a long time before it was unhealthy... But I think it would be nice to avoid all that... mix it up a little...

It's possible I only see it this way because the rebel in me needs to, but there you have it.

What do you think?  Do you like books that do what they're supposed to? Or books that break some rules?

28 comments:

Charmaine Clancy said...

I think I need that diet too. Wow I'm surprised about the food, I always assumed Iams was really good for them. My dogs alternate between fresh meat and vet supplied processed food, but I might try and move more towards fresh foods. I have to really mince up vegis because my Border Collie will sift through and leave a little pile of them after eating the meat. I don't know how she does it, she must get hold of a straw or something... Ok you probably wanted us to pay more attention to the bit about novels... oops (me and dog topics - I could rabbit on all day). :)
Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

Creepy Query Girl said...

I couldn't agree more- while some rules are there for a reason I find books that break the rules are alot more fun! Glad you dog is feeling better. I've been tae-bo and drinking green tea the last few weeks but that's the extent of my body-toning efforts.

Old Kitty said...

Before all this writerly malarky, I never new writing books had rules! LOL! I just either enjoyed the books I chose to read or didn't - but by then I had bought the bloody thing and had read it and it was too late to do anything about it. "Even bad books are books so therefore sacred". Ahem!

Joel is just too adorable!!!! Good luck with the new diet!! So glad to hear he's sprightlier and happier now! Yay!

Have NAKED wednesday!! Take are
x

sue said...

I like the metaphor, but am stuck on thinking of human ways of eating that stretch the taste buds and help us tone up a bit. I've cut down on sugars significantly since hearing the Sweet Poison man. I wrote about his presentation a few days ago. Could you give Joel a little scritch from me, he's such a sweetie.Sue

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Sounds like a healthy way to lose some pounds!

Well...I'll admit to liking both. Every once in a while an overprocessed book is comfort food (but too much makes me sick!)

Jan Morrison said...

erm...I'm a rebel child. Got my badge and everything. I like it when things are shaken not stirred. On the other hand, at the heart of every rebel child is a sweetheart and sometimes, just sometimes, I like to know that a book is going to go the way it promises at the beginning. Jan Morrison

Hart Johnson said...

Charmaine--oh, too funny about your dog skipping his veggies! I've HEARD Border Collies are smart.

Katie-green tea I might be able to do...And I can get back to exercising more... Though I NEED to fit in more toning... and I have to get my intake under control.

Jenny-yeah, i didn't know about the rules until I started formally doing it either... and the formula ones didn't bother me then because I didn't know there was a pattern to spot...

Sue-I will have to check out your post! I need whatever help or inspiration I can find at this point...

Elizabeth-yeah... comfort foods is a good way to put that...

Jan-Oh, I think I am like that too... but I want it to go an alternate route first....

L.G.Smith said...

Yes, I agree. The formulaic books are, well, often predictable. I like a little more challenge when I read, so I'm all for creative rule-breakers in writing.

By Tina-Sue Ducross said...

I was so happy to read about the new diet for Joel, that I skimped over the rest of your post.

I like the rule-breaking novel and when I think of novels that have broken the rules, Jacqueline Carey's work always comes to mind. I agree, the books that do break the rules, definitely inspire and shows me what is possible.

Two of my favourite links on the raw/natural food diets: http://www.rawlearning.com/rawfaq.html
http://www.pet-grub.com/

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

ooh, yeah. Iams has a lot of fillers and meat by products in it. We feed grain free (mostly because frenchies can have grain allergies) and the dogs are so much healthier for it (George was on Royal Canine as a puppy until we made the switch)
And i completely agree about the book metaphor. I mean, sometimes we need the book version of fast food, and though it may be fun while we're reading it, it's not necessarily all that satisfying. I always try to throw in those mind stretchers as well.

Carol Kilgore said...

I have a border collie, too. Smart. Doesn't like peas, leaves them. Loves carrots. He's much smarter than I am about many things. Not so much about the peas.

I do believe I might be a bit of a non-conformist, too. I try to follow the rules, but no matter how hard I try, there always seems to be a kicker.

GigglesandGuns said...

I go with the idea that in writing rules are but guidelines meant to at least be bent at times.
All in the name of the Masterpiece, of course :)

VR Barkowski said...

I have a crush on Joel. Can you pass along my email?

My diet is so far from healthy it isn't funny. My one saving grace is a dislike of processed & fast foods. Good thing, too, or I'd likely have keeled over years ago.

Yuck phooey! Can't stand books that do what they are supposed to do. Unfortunately, it's getting more and more difficult to find anything in the mystery/genre genre that challenges boundaries. And from debut authors? Rare to not happening.

Hart Johnson said...

LG-predictable--exactly!

Tina-Sue-hey, thank you for the links! Excellent!

Sarah-interesting. I would have thought Iams was better! Interesting about grain allergies. Joel seems to be thriving on the rice. And yay for mind stretching and bending!

Carol, I'm not a big fan of peas myself (except never cooked)... too funny these Border Collies who won't eat their veggies!

Mary--yes... more like guidelines, really... very good... now why am I craving rum?

VR-oh, he's a funny little dog... And I hear you on difficult to get in without following rules, though... that Harry Dolan seems to be working it--his books don't follow the rules so much. (even his first)

Deb and Barbara said...

Wow, I think you said this BEAUTIFULLY!! Thank you. I agree totally with you. And yet, like with diets, sometimes it feels "safer" to follow the formula than step outside it and not step on a scale and eat what you want. And, provided it's good, clean, real foooooood, this makes more sense on every level.
B

Lisa said...

I'm glad your dog is feeling better!

And about that negative self talk.....stop it! (Okay, that was me talking to my big fat cow self.)

I think I like both, but a rule breaker definitely doesn't send me running for the hills.

Shelly said...

My first time to comment on your blog, but it reminded me of a dog I used to have, a bassett hound. He ate specialized, very expensive dog food containing vegetables. Somehow, Amos could eat everything but ferret out the peas and leave them in a delicate pile in his bowl.

As for the writing, I seriously enjoy rule breaking lit. I like to be surprised and caught off guard. The thing I like most is to have an unexpected guffaw when I'm reading. That's the best.

Hart Johnson said...

Barbara-it is definitely easier to be SURE you will please following the formula (both with food and books)--all my experiments with dinner seem to make critics of my children! I think the standard appeals to MORE, but the rule breakers appeal to those they appeal to on a higher plane... if that makes sense...

Lisa--I know... I sort of have to say it though, to kick start myself... it's time. it really is.

Shelly-welcome! I wonder why they put peas in dog food if so many dogs seem to hate them--too funny... and that basset hound build is a lot like the Corgi... I can spot why more veggies would be important to them with their long thickish bodies... (I love those big, unexpected laughs, too--I think especially in the darker stuff I tend to read)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Paint-by-number doesn't leave much room for crativity and fun, does it? Glad your dog is feeling better!

Helena said...

Of COURSE we should break some rules now and then. It's healthy and good for us and for our story-telling.

BTW, I'm glad your doggie is getting better. And you are BIG in heart and spirit and nothing like cows. I've been around cows. They're docile and boring and kinda smelly. You ain't.

Clarissa Draper said...

This may sound gross but you should eat your dog food! With the rice and the chicken and the veggies. The diet seems to be working for your pooch.

Now, about my book. I have a problem where my books are always on the thin side and my editors are asking me to bulk up. Usually I'm adding and not taking away.

Laura Josephsen said...

Aww, glad your doggie is okay and getting better!

I like books that follow rules--but I like books that break the rules. I've been rereading Harry Potter (reading it to my kids) and I've been realizing how many "rules" are broken in JK Rowling's world--but I love these books so much.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Certain genres have rules that don't make for fun reading, at least for me.

erica and christy said...

Hart - we're the same shape and stature. So I understand the struggles. Just keep doing the good things you're doing and you'll be okay (and me, too, I hope).
erica

Johanna Garth said...

Hmm, I'm not sure whether I know when a novel is breaking the rules but I do know that novels that are formulaic are usually pretty boring for me (even though hundreds of thousands of other people love them). Then again, who doesn't love a rebel?

jennymilch said...

Non-processed books. I think that's exactly what I love to read. Ones that don't fit neatly on a shelf or in a pitch. Ones that are genuine, heartfelt, with the hand of the creator tangible upon them.

So glad the pooch is hale again!

Michael Di Gesu said...

As for books my tastes vary. I like scenes set up nicely, but I also like a bit of craziness... the unexpected.

I can SO relate to being overweight. I've posted about it as you know. Cutting out processed foods is a GREAT beginning.

Hart I've been at it since March. I lost over 50 pounds and feel amazing. I know you can do it. The key is to give a little time in your day to YOU!

If there's anything I can do to help just let me know. I've got amazing recipes that are perfect for this heat wave we've been having.

RaShelle said...

Poor poochie! Glad he's feeling better. =D