Now that I've reached the age of fifty, I find that eating is more about nutrition than it is about counting calories in an attempt to fit into skinny jeans again. While I would like to don those pants and breathe at the same time, my focus is on food that is good for my body. The problem, I've found, is that while I'm surfing the Internet searching for whole foods that clean arteries and decrease sugar levels, I find myself snacking on a handful of buttery cookies or a bag of chips. I realize this is counterintuitive, as I should be gnawing on a bag of carrots or other root vegetables. I printed out lists of foods that I should eat and those that I should avoid. Interestingly enough, it's much like a game of Othello where one move counters another, changing good choices into bad ones. By the time you've crossed off all the bad foods, there is little left to eat.
While one diet encourages meats and vegetables, another warns to stay clear of red meats, beans and potatoes. I placed chicken on my approved list of foods but felt guilty that it wasn't grain fed and cage free. When I saw the price of free range chicken, my guilt disappeared.
Thinking that oatmeal would be good for removing cholesterol, I sought out some steel cut oats, uncertain exactly how this differed from my five minute Quaker oatmeal. After twenty minutes of waiting for oats to boil, I ate the rest of my daughter's Pop-Tart and washed it down with a cold Coke. I later learned that oats were on the "bad" list, so I obviously made the right choice going for the left over pastry.
With salt off the table, sugar a gift from the devil, butter filling up my vascular system with false promises of goodness, I find there are few choices left. Cold water fish are filled with omega 3 fatty acids but then there is the concern of iodine. The Paleo diet says to eat eggs, so my husband bought chickens and we now have extremely fresh eggs every day. They are high in cholesterol, though, and that can't be good either. There is also the concern of reaching down to gather eggs and grabbing a snake. This will lead to a heart attack faster than my cholesterol filled arteries will.
I learned that dairy, grains and animal oils are on the "Do Not Eat" list, thus leaving me with nothing to house my sandwich but a leaf of lettuce which works better in theory than it does on my plate. Turning to seafood for answers, I discovered that shellfish are scavengers and nobody should dine on the scraps devoured by a bottom feeder. I can't argue with that line of thinking. I reached out to The Maker's Diet for guidance on "clean" and "unclean" foods as prescribed by the dietary laws of Leviticus and additional foods were scratched of the list of acceptable choices. I was now down to lean meats, limited fruits, and dark green vegetables only.
I found a high priced blender that claims to "extract nutrition" from raw foods by pulverizing them at 10,000 revolutions per minute and comes with a promise of health and wellness. Perhaps, I'm missing something, but isn't that what our teeth are for? I really don't need a blender for six easy payments of $19.99 that will basically chew my food for me. However, I don't particularly want to dine on a plate of raw spinach, kale, pineapple and flax seeds, so if I can blend it all up into a cup of joy juice that I can slug down and be on my way, I'm all for it.
Beverages are another issue and I've concluded that if it is not water or pulverized fruit and veggies, it's not good. With a carton of Cokes staring at me and whispering sweet nothings to my nutritional wellness, I turned to tea as an acceptable alternative. Then, as expected, I read about the perils of the many different teas in my pantry. Hibiscus tea claims to be healthy, but will require me driving 50 miles to procure a box, so I'm back to water or a mystery mug of pureed Superfoods.
With the list of approved foods continuing to diminish, I'm perplexed on what to eat. My pantry has been purged of "bad foods" and I'm left with the hibiscus plant that is dying in my green house and a lean chicken who happens to be running around my back yard. The ease and availability of the Taco Bell dollar menu calls to me and I imagine I will find myself in the drive thru line before the day is through. One cannot live on a bag of nuts, a withered plant from the edge of my pool, and a well exercised chicken. Then again.... maybe they can!