By Alvin Richardson, Columnist
My wife and I have two separate lifestyles when it comes to eating. The long and short of that statement is that she consumes healthy food and I don’t.
It’s not that I’m the anti-fruits and vegetables guy – it really comes down to three things:
• There are a lot of foods that my notoriously funky stomach will not tolerate
• I like junk food
• There are hundreds of scientific studies out there that warn us against certain foods which can be conflicting and therefore confusing.
First of all there’s my beautiful wife. She is very conscious of her diet and is diligent about consuming nutritious foods. Two of the key elements in her cuisine selections include bananas and some kind of bran but truthfully she’s overdone it with those two.
As a result of these dietary choices she has one recurring dream about hanging from a tree and scratching herself. She has another one where she’s trapped in the starting gate at the Kentucky Derby.
I’ve told her what I believe is the cause of these visions but have not been able to convince her that that overconsumption of those bananas and bran are the culprits. On the other hand my stomach issues are well documented.
I ruined my gut by drinking gallons upon gallons of antacids during football seasons of the past and am now the proud owner of a digestive tract that probably needs to be donated to science.
I used to go to a salad bar and eat everything in sight – lettuce, bell peppers, black olives, and cucumbers to name a few.
The same is true of stuff like good old watermelons and cantaloupes. At present if I consume any of these foods I’ll have a gut-ache, a screaming case of heartburn, some wicked indigestion, and five quick trips to the restroom.
To be perfectly honest there’s another reason that I don’t eat wholesome food – I’m a junk food junkie. No drug addict could have a worse case of craving than I do for my beloved sweet and salty treats.
There is not a time during the day when I’ll turn down a cookie, a piece of cake / pie, or some good old potato chips all washed down with a coke. This pattern began early in my life when I was introduced to birthday cake by my mother.
There are numerous pictures in our family album that show me devouring a large chunk of cake and that was the beginning of the end for a junk food conniseur.
And don’t let me get settled in at night to watch a ballgame. I’ll have candy wrappers and coke cans all over the floor before half-time. So part of my problem with healthy foods is that I just like the un-healthy ones better.
As far as my main meals are concerned I’m pretty much a meat and potatoes guy. Typical favorite breakfast includes bacon or sausage and biscuits with plenty of butter.
For lunch I’ll take a bologna sandwich with a large clump of mayonnaise and some potato chips. An appetizing supper might include hamburgers or hot dogs with a can of beanie-weenies on the side. The authors of diet books would hate me because I can eat all these things on a consistent basis and never gain a pound.
Not only that but I have what my doctor terms as world class good cholesterol so all you health food nuts can just put that in your eco-friendly pipe and smoke it. Now for the confusing part.
Scientific studies on food abound and I’ve read most of them. For instance there are studies that utterly condemn the consumption of just about everything I like such as the aforementioned hot dogs, sausage, sweets, potato chips and cokes so if I followed their recommendations I’d starve to death.
On the other hand there are also reports which have concluded that things like whole wheat bread, non-organic apples, grapes and strawberries, farmed salmon, and fruity drinks are not good for us. Heck there’s even one study that says butter is better for you than margarine. There’s also a study that says micro-wave popcorn is bad for your health.
To make things even more confusing diet cokes are worse for you than regular ones and thus the conflicting information just keeps piling up. I was particularly impressed with the farmed salmon data.
That study said farmed salmon had flame retardant, pesticides, and antibiotics in it. I guess if you eat enough of that you might not be healthy but you can stand really close to a campfire, never have to worry about getting West Nile from a mosquito bite and be immune to infections. Like I’ve said before – for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction.
I suppose the upshot of all this is that there’s too much information to make really reliable decisions on what to eat.
Therefore I shall continue to go on my merry way chomping happily on meat and potatoes, snacking on sweets and drinking cokes (diet of course) while I continue to maintain a thin physique and enjoy my ultra-low cholesterol. Maybe I’ll just do a study and write a diet book of my own. (E-mail your diet strategies to email@example.com)