Tuesday, January 2, 2007


I had a bit of an epiphany last night.

I was flipping through Bob Greene's new book, The Best Life Diet. I have a moratorium on buying diet books after, in previous years, having purchased and attempted to follow The South Beach Diet, Sugar Busters, The Pathway, The pH Miracle Diet, Body for Life, Change One, etc. No more diet books! I know what I need to know about nutrition: eat mainly low-glycemic veggies with whole grains and lean protein (preferably vegetarian) in moderate portions. I know that fats have 9 calories per gram, alcohol has 7, and protein and carbs have 4. I know what moderate portions of proteins and fats are. (You only need 3 oz. of protein a day! . . . though a little more vegetarian protein helps keep energy up without the bad side effects of meat.) I know I should be doing cardio and strength training. I know that not eating two hours before bed is important. I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I know that cutting hormones and pesticides out of my life makes me healthier. I know that trans fats should not be in my life, and saturated fat should only be in small portions. I know, I know--I get it!

But I was reading O Magazine last month and was tempted to buy Bob Greene's new book because what I need is not nutrition information but a framework for combining exercise and eating. Greene covers that in some detail in his latest book. Eventually a gift card for Borders pushed me over the edge from cynicism to optimism, and I bought the book a week ago.

I was flipping through the book and looking at the recipes, and I thought, But where are the tasty, high-fat foods? Why don't any of the recipes contain those things? I mean, I know why they aren't--it's a diet--but does he expect us to just give them up? It's a life-long program! He is so damn excited about these fruits and vegetables and whole grains--it's as if he thinks we can just get excited about them as we do about ice cream, and then just not think about ice cream!

It was about that moment that a lightbulb went on in my head. Perhaps it was a bit obvious, but there you are.

See, I have a medical restrictions on what I eat; basically, I can't eat high-acid foods (red tomato sauces, vinegar, things high in citric acid, coffee, caffeinated beverages, etc.) and also some random pain inducers (blue cheese, soy sauce, etc.). When I was diagnosed and cut out the foods, at first I thought it would be terrible. It really wasn't. I cut way back on meat and learned to cook a new variety of fruits and vegetables. I fell in love with winter squash; I developed an appetite for braising greens. I love grains. I love the cheeses I can eat. Instead of letting the bad stuff weigh me down, I got (and get) excited about what I can have. For the most part, I don't think about the rest. I wouldn't dream of drinking a Coke anymore. It's just out of my life.

And you know what? I can do that at a lower calorie level too, while I'm exercising regularly (though exercise is due many posts on its own). I can get excited about all the fruits and veggies I love and ones I haven't tried and make fantastic, lighter recipes with all of them. Usually when I am trying to eat healthier, I am looking back over my shoulder at the foods I miss, with a tear in my eye. But I don't have to do that; I have a good foundation to do otherwise. I just have to run with it, enjoy it. I can get all damn excited about fruits and vegetables just like Bob is.

This blog is my place to do that.

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