FOOD WARS

I feel fat. My pants still fit, true, but after all the gratuitous calories I consumed on Thanksgiving, I feel fat. Plus, there is much danger to my waistline ahead: Christmas parties (ok, we aren’t that popular, but still), Christmas cookies (actually, I am not known as a baker, but these delicious things always seem to find their way over to my house), gravy (nectar of the Gods, in my opinion), and lots of sitting in front of the television, watching holiday movies. None of this bodes well for my belly.

So, today, I decided to make a dietary plan for the future. I have considered the advice of the food pundits and the personal trainers, the Food Network chefs, and the average Josephine. I have done the dirty work, so all of you won’t have to. Here is the summary of what I have learned about the options that are out there for all of us who hope to make it through the holidays with our trousers still buttoned.

First of all, there are the diet plans. Weight Watchers works. But you have to carry around a little tote board that records the point values of all that you consume. It is also handy to carry the little booklet that tells you that each one of those little tiny cookies that look so innocuous actually packs a six point wallop. Most of us on Weight Watchers run out of today’s points by around noon. By the time the holidays are over, we have used our points up completely and have actually begun on the allocation for 2013. This is discouraging.

What about becoming a vegetarian or vegan? This, on the face of it (well actually, the rule of thumb is not to eat anything possessing a face) seems easy. But good grief. It is protein that fills you up. Finding protein as a vegetarian is hard enough (thank heavens for yogurt), but vegans? Forget it! When eggs and cheese are verboten, it takes a whole lot of broccoli to fill an average stomach. And I wonder how much Beano it takes to make the average vegan socially acceptable. Perhaps most vegans are hermetic by nature.

The Neanderthal diet has appeal to many. Proponents of this style of eating say that we must stick to what our forebears most likely ate. The antithesis of vegetarianism, this diet revolves around meat. All meat, all the time. Throw in an occasional handful of wheat or barley, and there you have it. This sounds fine for steak lovers; but since I adore cereal, bananas, and toast, I don’t think this is the right plan for me.

As if being a vegetarian or vegan isn’t enough, some of those who scorn the idea of living in the real world support what is called the Raw Food movement. On second thought, perhaps these people are riding the coat tails (poor choice of metaphor?) of the Neanderthals. Raw foodists are exactly as described: they don’t cook anything. I don’t really want to cook anything, either, but I still like to eat hot food. I can’t imagine enjoying, for instance, pizza made out of buckwheat groats ground in a blender with a bit of oil, spread on a pan, and topped with spinach leaves and pine nuts. It all sounds way too cold and crunchy.

Finally, there are the “Juicers.” The Juicers combine the vegetarian and the raw, but they take it to a much higher level. For some reason, the Juicers are opposed to chewing. They feel that in order to be self-actualizing, we must drink all our food. The Juicers cram things like kale, cauliflower, apples and beets into a machine that pulverizes it all and produces a thick, purplish liquid out of it. We are advised to drink the stuff, then go out and climb a few mountains or compete in a marathon. I tried apple-kale-spinach-carrot-broccoli juice once. Just the one time.

I am sure that there are many other dietary choices for all of us, but I have rejected any diet built around cabbage soup, grapefruit juice, enemas, or fasting. This leaves me with just two options, really: I have to burn off the cookies and pie somehow, or start shopping for clothes using the Vermont Country Store catalog. And have you seen the elastic waisted corduroys on page 32? Adorable, and so slimming…..

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