Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Jekyll and Hydes of Food Approaches

This about captures it
Last night we watched the movie The Maze Runner. If you've never heard of the film, think of the recent slew of YA dystopians and you've got the idea. This time unknown Dylan O'Brien played the role of Jennifer Lawrence/Shailene Woodley/Brenton Thwaites and Patricia Clarkson took on the role of Donald Sutherland/Kate Winslet/Meryl Streep. Kid under pressure takes on crazy regime led by creepy, heartless adult.

I mention this decent but ultimately pretty-darned-familiar movie because it reminded me of one of the food books I read this week:


Here again we find the now-very-familiar no-carb/ultra-low-carb recommendations, although the author structures his book differently: 1) what you should be eating; 2) what exercises you should be doing; and 3) the science behind his recommendations. The first few times I read books recommending animal fats and accusing carbs of crimes against humanity, I devoured them, so to speak. But now, while fully believing the science and the claims, I've decided it's better to eat some carbs and sugar because 1) life needs some joy, and 2) people on weird, unsustainable, expensive diets get on my nerves.

Let's get real: no matter the science involved, I'm never going ultra-low-carb or no-carb unless imminent death is the only alternative. I'd rather live ten fewer years and get to have bread and pasta in moderation and the occasional sweets. I have no intention of giving up fruit or potatoes. Yes, the Inuit and the Masai tribe do just great on diets largely 
of fat and animal products, but no one has ever envied them their diets.

Author Petersen did, however, have some good reminders to cut back on seed oils. Not to mention some great exercise ideas with helpful illustrations! (I did two Russian push-ups after finishing the book.)

The most jarring thing about Eat Bacon, Don't Jog was reading it right on the heels of comedian Jim Gaffigan's snicker-ful new book


Gaffigan's loving, loving relationship to just about all foods other than seafoods contrasted violently with Grant Petersen's eat-to-live-lean-and-mean approach, and after just a few pages it was clear to me who I'd rather hang out with. Because, really, aren't people who get zealous with their diets just so tiresome? Wouldn't we rather spend our few years on earth enjoying a cheeseburger, fries, and some birthday cake with someone who loves them as much as we do?

Consider the following quotes. First, Petersen's bizarre and disturbing confession:
In the old days when I feared fat and had swallowed the [you-need-lots-of-fiber] Kool-Aid, I'd eat peanuts--shell and all--hoping to surround the fat I consumed with fiber and make it less accessible. At my worst, I'd eat only the shells.
Are you kidding me? This guy needs professional help because that sounds like a textbook case of the newly-diagnosed Orthorexia Nervosa, the eating disorder where you get so freaked out about "eating healthy" that you can barely get enough to eat.

Petersen goes on to give this current advice that he would still stand by:
At your next picnic, if you're given a cob of corn, slather it with butter and slurp it off. Do that a few times, and then drop the yellow menace in the dirt, so you don't have to be sneaky when you toss it in the trash, where it can't hurt you. 
If I were the hostess at that picnic, I think I'd far rather he just said, "No, thank you," when I offered him the cob of death.

Gaffigan, on the other hand, opens his love story thus:
I can't stop eating. I can't. I haven't been hungry in twelve years. Once a writer at Entertainment Weekly described me as a human garbage can, which I think he meant as a compliment. Last night, I had the following train of thought: Ugh, I'm so full. I guess I'll have some cheese. Hmm, I don't even like this cheese. I guess I'll finish it. I know it's not right. On more than one occasion while eating something, I've thought to myself, Maybe this will make me hungry. It's either that or feel my feelings. Jeannie likes to point out, "You know you are only eating your feelings." I always respond, "Yeah, but these feelings are delicious."
He follows up that honest introduction with what amounts to a transcript of a long, often hilarious stand-up routine that covers everything from appetizers to desserts. I spent a lot of time reading and giggling to myself and thinking, I should look this guy up on YouTube!

All of which is to say, if you're on a crazy low-carb diet (for as long as you can hold out), read Petersen for inspiration. But don't read Gaffigan because he'll not only make you hungry, he'll also make you take the whole food thing way less seriously.

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you, Christina. Just had a chocolate croissant!

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.