Thursday, July 11, 2013

You Ate What!!

The food police are driving me crazy. Every day there's a new rule I'm supposed to follow. No red meat, don't eat white flour, can't eat fruit with a meal, don't eat after 8 pm, avoid fast food, wine is bad, wine is good...enough already. There are more special diets than you can shake a pork chop at: Atkins, Miami Beach, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Slim-Fast, and all will ultimately fail. Our bodies need all kinds of foods for nutrition, and to fool your body into losing weight by eating grapefruit three times a day is ridiculous. Then there are the supplements being peddled. The great and powerful Dr. Oz tells people to drink dandelion juice while walking backwards clockwise in circles, and the idiots can't order it fast enough...sometimes from Dr. Oz's own website...no conflict of interest there.

When I was growing up, we ate well in spite of not having acre-sized supermarkets and owning refrigerators the size of Buicks. There were no microwave ovens, no lean cuisines, no fast food joints and no Costco warehouses where you could buy 80 frozen burgers at a clip. Our mothers shopped at local stores for meat, fish, bread, eggs, fruit and vegetables. We didn't have a pantry full of snack chips in bags the size of pillows. There were no gallon-sized ice cream containers in our freezers because they would never fit with the six inches of ice built up around the ice cube trays...the only things in the freezer!

We bought what we needed for a few days and used it all; nothing went to waste. Bones, bits and scraps went into soups, omelettes, even pies. (If you never tasted escarole pie or spaghetti pie, your life is sadly incomplete.) I get a kick out of parents who fret when little Madison refuses to eat his or her dinner and demands something else. Our alternatives were peanut butter or go hungry. We ate what was put in front of us, period. There were times when, maybe on days close to Dad's next paycheck, we couldn't afford to buy meat. Not a problem; Mom had a dozen meatless dishes that could give a good steak a run for its money. Pasta with lentils, peas, potatoes, broccoli, eggplant or chick peas. Eggs with peppers, potatoes, spinach, or cheese. They were cheap to prepare, but delicious, nutritious and satisfying.

I hear people ordering meals in restaurants that come with a page and a half of verbal instructions. Can you please ask the chef to make that with no gluten,no wheat, no salt, no peanuts, no dairy and no MSG. Also, can that be baked instead of fried, and instead of the french fries can I have cabbage roots. Can you tell me if these dishes were washed in organic soap? On a recent trip to Italy we had a woman on our tour who carried her own little food packets with her and drove the waiters crazy because she was a vegan. I remember thinking, here we are in one of the world's best places to get great food and this ditz is sprinkling pistachio nuts on her pasta instead of the great sauce that normally accompanied it. 

I'm not chastising people who have legitimate, medically confirmed food allergies and have to watch what they eat, I'm talking about the crowd who has to follow Dr. Oz's latest food commandment just to be trendy. They move from diet to diet and fad to fad hoping to get healthier or lose weight, but they are badly misguided. What it all comes down to is "pie-hole control" ... calories in minus calories burned off exercising equals equals what's left of you. Back in the Fifties, we walked everywhere. Restaurant portions did not feed four. You could not pick up the phone and have bags of food dropped off at your door. You ate real food, fresh-cooked and in moderation. Write that down...it's the secret to good health and a trimmer waistline.

I always got a big kick out of the scene in Woody Allen's movie, "Sleeper" where doctors from the future were discussing how wrong we were in the past to avoid certain foods like hot fudge sundaes which, as they now knew, were actually good for you. "Sleeper" clip


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2 comments:

seashmore said...

Oh, and how about those crazy diets people do while preparing for a marathon? For one month, avoid all sugars(including those found natrually in fruit), drink 29.3 oz. of water between 7:15 and 8:28 a.m., and eat precisely 1/2 cup of almond powder mixed with 2 tbs. flax seed oil exactly 18 minutes before every run.
(I only run when things are chasing me, lest anyone be prone to take that regiment seriously.)

The Whiner said...

Yes, in those days everything was "local and organic" (the latest catch phrase) because there was no such thing as "pesticide, hormone-laden, and imported from Uzbakistan." People want to eat "low fat," meaning the fat is replaced with sugar, "low carb,' meaning the carbs are replaced with fat, and anything else they think will allow them to eat more and weigh less. It's never gonna happen folks, unless it's just steamed veggies you're eating. People have forgotten that food is supposed to be for nutrition, but also that it's supposed to be tasty an enjoyable.