Thursday, January 2, 2014

Exercise, eat right, die anyway

I laffed:
Imagine my shock, then, at my last physical, when my doctor told me I had hypothyroidism, common in women over 40. When I got home I looked up the condition on the Internet and found a list of foods to avoid. Kale, which I juiced every morning, tops the list, followed by broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and collard greens — the cruciferous vegetables I consumed in large quantities because they are thought to prevent cancer, which runs in my family. And flax — as in the seeds — high in omega 3’s, that I sprinkled on cereal and blended in strawberry almond milk smoothies. Also forbidden: almonds and strawberries, not to mention soy, peaches, peanuts, corn, radishes, rutabaga and spinach.
And then, as if my world was not sufficiently rocked, I went to the dentist, who said I had five cavities and asked if I snacked on candy and sodas all day long. I was insulted. Indignant. What did he take me for? No, I answered. I don’t eat sugar and drink only fresh vegetable juices — no longer kale, of course, but carrot and celery, which I’m still allowed. And filtered water with lemon.
“You’d be better off with chocolate and cola,” he said. Apparently the natural sugars in fruit and vegetable juices can cause decay, and lemon, though high in vitamin C and bioflavonoids which may prevent cancer, had eroded the enamel that protected my teeth.
Being a foodie is its own form of gluttony. There's nothing wrong with wanting to eat right, but this lady sounds like she spends so much time worrying about food that she doesn't take the time to enjoy it. It's a running gag (no pun intended) with my friends that I don't eat well, I smoke, and I drink but I get sick much, much less often than they who spend a lot of time reading labels and running half-marathons. Despite what my nom de blog might suggest, I'm not that beefy a guy even though I eat whatever I want and exercise irregularly. I've always been of the mind that it's not so much what you eat as how much you eat. How do you remain slim and trim? Burn more calories than you take in. If you eat more calories than you burn, then it doesn't make much difference to your waistline whether they come from Twinkies or salads (true story: I know a girl who once emptied an entire bottle of bleu cheese dressing on her giant salad). Once or twice a week I like a big greasy hamburger from Carl's Jr. My favorite home made dinner is meat and potatoes with beer, just like my savage Germanic ancestors. Breakfast is cereal or eggs and bacon. Lunch is often soup or a sandwich with smoked salted almonds.

Granted, processed foods have all sorts of nasty chemicals in them. But if you're worried about them, learn how to cook some basic dishes for yourself. I don't know a single man who doesn't enjoy cooking once he's given it a try. My grandfathers both ate a diet that would horrify the modern foodie: lots of red meat, hash browns, and grains. My maternal grandpa was a chain smoker until his fifties. They both exercised regularly almost right up until the end. Both of them died in their mid eighties.

Everyone dies. Don't get so caught up in the little things like avoiding partially hydrogenated soybean oil that you forget to enjoy yourself.

h/t: Rod Dreher

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