Seems like everyone these days is on a diet of one kind or another so I thought I would throw in my two cents worth about my latest diet. Until several years ago I was one of those fortunate fellows that could eat most anything and nothing would stick to my ribs, but once I entered the 8th decade of my life, when I started doing more sitting than standing, I began to notice a swelling just below my rib cage and it didn’t go unnoticed by my son John who said “Dad why I do believe I see a Potbelly in the making?” I said “It can’t be, it must be gas, as broccoli does that to me”. So after a few burps and a fart (you know old people get to fart and burp without apologizing in public) my pregnant look was still there. So 5 years goes by and I found that from time to time it became necessary to let my belt out a notch now and then followed by a trip to Walmart (oh god how I hate to admit that I spent good money keeping that impersonal behemoth in business). I thought the swelling would go away quickly and I wouldn’t need the pants so I justified my trip to that destroyer of downtowns everywhere to save a couple of bucks. Anyway, about a month ago I was finishing brushing my teeth and as I went to turn around for some unknown reason I got a side view in our full length bathroom mirror and by god there it was! A full on potbelly, no wonder I had so much trouble tying my shoes.
A rather unpleasant idea popped into my head “Jack what do you think about going on a diet?” I believe there are almost more diet books and cookbooks in our libraries that surely one would fit my taste buds. And one more thing that went right along with my potbelly was a general feeling of malaise. Especially after having my favorite all time big bowl of ice cream. So I asked myself if this was how I wanted to spend whatever is left of my time here at the V6. NO!!!
I love history of all kinds, so the history of dieting and diets I think has always been a hot topic for discussion which makes me want to tell you all about how I arrived with my diet.
First - Mother Nature has as one of her beliefs that for anything to survive for the long haul, it needs complexity. It's a safety measure that if one thing fails there’s something similar to take its place.
Second - I asked the question: What did that first, soon to be a human say as he climbed out of a tree somewhere in Africa then looked around? They must have said “Lulu that tree was never very comfortable, come on down and see what you think. How about you and me try standing up straight and have a walk about”. “Okay Leroy” . But hunger soon took center stage and the hunt was on for something to eat. This necessitated a change in what his and her pallet thought might taste good. So began the search for a diet that tasted good and still led to a healthy life. I guess the first thing Leroy and Lulu did was to look around the tree that they had just climbed out of. Not much luck there so they began to look farther afield. It’s amazing how a little hunger can change a person’s idea of what tastes good and soon there were nuts and berries, seeds and reeds to make a bowl to carry all their food.
But I’ve decided, for my diet it needed to wait until Leroy and Lulu and friends got into their time machine and moved forward to the age when somebody in Leroy’s tribe invented the bow and arrow and all their eating habits changed. Because now Leroy and his gang could put meat on the table on a regular basis to go with their nuts, berries, seeds, fish and a cricket or two. Lulu was gathering, having kids and cooking and Leroy was off hunting which leads me to wonder if there might have been some hanky-panky going on when Leroy was off hunting as he spent an awful lot of time getting meat for his family and a new word found its way into to Lulu’s vocabulary “jealousy”. So for me there was now enough variety in Leroy and Lulu’s diet for me to enter the food chain and I became an omnivore. I took a liking to whatever was available on the land wherever Leroy and Lulu lived. I would now have the same eating habits as our ham and bacon provider the pig as he is an omnivore also.
So what’s different for me in my diet than my predecessor's diet of thousands of years in the past. Well there are several things that have changed. We have taken most of our livestock and now raise them in closer quarters than in times past. But in times past we didn’t have 7 billion people driving, sailing, walking, skiing and flying over every square foot of our planet Earth. So we had to raise more food for an ever growing, very mobile population and we call it Industrial Agriculture.
It’s too bad we can’t leave all our governments, from city councils to our national government, out of our food growing and making business but we can’t. Because we farmers, livestock men and dairymen are famous for producing too much with all our tractors, harvesters, pesticides, herbicide fertilizers. So the fix is to hand out subsidies to make up for the shortfall in cash for raising cheap food. The politicians see this “cheap food policy” as a way to get elected by supporting it and helps get new candidates elected and old officeholders to stay in office way too long.
To have a more land and livestock friendly way of raising food for our tables we’re going to have to spend more for our food. Back to “Big Government”, are these elected folks willing to put the chance of getting thrown out of office to have better, but more expensive food. So far I see no indication this is happening. The next thing that stands in the way of eating healthy as I see it, is adding to almost everything we eat, is SUGAR. We are a country that is addicted to sugar and sugar is the one thing that only appeared in excess in the last three or four hundred years. Oh yes there is one more thing that has come into being in the last 75 years. It’s larger portions at restaurants and cafes, it has engulfed every corner of our land, to the point now, that every hamburger, every breakfast lunch or dinner, is twice as big as it needs to be. Again cheap food is the best way to keep your customers happy by serving ever greater portions and raising the meal ticket a minimal amount so trimmer waistlines are out and fat is in.
I’ve been a sugarholic most of my life. I’ve been a slave to Milk Duds, See’s candy, ice cream, breakfast foods and everything else that can be laced with sugar. Consequently the different dentists that have filled cavities in my teeth, built bridges for the missing teeth, and finally as my teeth die they are pulled out so now I have implants. My dentist knew my eating habits would be his 401k for retirement.
Back to the reason for this blog. Having just had my annual physical about a month ago. My doctor and I reviewed the results which cleared me of diabetes and for all the meat I’ve eaten in my life my cholesterol was 150. So what was the cause for my malaise that all the blood tests didn’t reveal? I left my doctors office with no clear path to follow. But being a believer in doing the things that have “stood the test of time”, I decided that the two things my ancestors of centuries ago didn’t do was to douse everything with sugar and to eat twice as much as they needed. You really mean, they only ate what they needed? Well that’s a very scary choice to have to make, for now we’re talking “will power, discipline” when you go “all in”. So to eat half as much with no sugar mixed in for flavor that’s what’s required for the malaise to possibly go away along with the sugar highs and lows.
It’s been about a month since I quit cold turkey. The physical shakes and the mental attacks from my pet demon that takes every opportunity to scuttle whatever pleases me. But, it’s getting easier these days to tell him to go to hell. So whatever was good for my ancient ancestors is good enough for me now, as I’ve watched 15 pounds melt away and I can now easily tie my shoes. And you won’t find me where the Vegans and the Vegetarians take roll call and you won’t find me at any of the multitudes of different diets programs out there. I guess that means so long to you mint chip ice cream, Milk Dud candies and to Warren Buffet owner of See’s Candy, you're going to have to paddle your own canoe without me. Hope you don’t go broke.
It’s a little boring now at the dinner table but I feel better. What a price to pay. Is it worth it? I’ll let you know in a year or maybe sooner if I’m like Humpty Dumpty who had a great fall or hopefully I’m made of sterner stuff.