Choosing food: more to consider than weight gain. *
THERE'S an interesting thing I've noticed about food.
Far as I can see, food becomes an issue when there's too little of it; a serious issue for many people worldwide. Or when it's the wrong kind.
Let's be honest. The wrong kind tends to be a first world problem. Ask most children aged five to eleven, who have enough to eat, to write their ideal menu, and it will include lots of pizzas, chips and spaghetti, along with all their favourite desserts. And not a lot else.
I like to think I don't have too many personal issues with food. I enjoy it, especially when I'm eating with other people. I don't even mind cooking, especially when I'm cooking for people who also enjoy their grub. See? Happy and healthy.
What prevents me becoming really smug, of course, is the fact that every time I eat a bowl of pasta or a helping of apple pie with cream, I'm about five pounds heavier the following day.
I love food. And it loves me. Because it wants to remain part of me forever!
So, in an effort to avoid shopping for new clothes (and actually, that's what it boils down to, because I really hate shopping), I have been restricting my treats in recent months.
Coffee? Yup, that cup has my name on it. Pastry with it? No thanks. I like these jeans. In this size.
But I'm obviously still doing something wrong. Just a different something.
'You need to start watching your cholesterol,' my doctor advises on a recent visit. 'It's not too bad, just cut down on the sugar, and your butter.'
I quiz him about the butter. I'm very careful about it, I say. Has to be Irish. From grass-fed cows. All very PC, first-world stuff. I don't mention this last bit in the surgery, obviously. He gives me a look that says he's heard it all before.
'How much butter do you eat?' he asks.
'Um, so let's see. Not much. I spread it on bread, dollop it on any sort of potato, use it in cooking sometimes...'
'So every day, then?'
'Best thing is to cut it out altogether.'
He proceeds to wax lyrical about the Mediterranean diet: sundried tomatoes...olives...good olive oil....yadda yadda. And he writes down the name of a website I can look up, which contains lots of healthy food recommendations.
I don't hear any of it. My brain is still trying to process 'cut it out altogether'.
Later, when I'm slightly over the shock, I check out the excellent website. It promotes lots of food that you'd expect. I write nuts and seeds on my shopping list.
I also absorb a sobering truth. Despite the fact that I buy lots of fresh, unprocessed food, I also buy a lot of butter and cheese. And popcorn. The salted stuff. It's my snack of choice.
And that's when it hits me. I crave fat and salt. I may eat free range chicken, but that includes the crispy, roasted skin. Ditto pork crackling. And don't even get me started about sausages.
So even though I claim to eat a wide variety of food, when it comes right down to it, my basic tastes - what I would miss most on that hypothetical desert island - are the same as when I was a child.
With the exception of cheap chocolate and mashed bananas.
I take another look at the website. Strangely enough, there's nothing about cheap chocolate. But bananas are listed. I haven't eaten them in years.
I pop sundried tomatoes on the list instead. Later that afternoon, I have some toast, drizzled with olive oil, a couple of sundried tomatoes on top. It looks very arty.
Thankfully, it doesn't taste half bad.
*Note: This article is purely personal, and is not intended as any sort of medical guide! The illustration does not represent any website or lifestyle choice.
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