Over the course of the last few years, but this most recent one especially, I've been pondering the question of eating healthy. For one, I'm getting to be middle aged. Had to happen sometime, unless I died first, and I suppose this is a better option. I figure sooner or later (although luckily it appears to be later) my metabolism is going to give out and I better be ready. Joseph's recent post about health food prompted me to finally put my theory down in words.
Something Alton Brown once said, I think it was in his slashdot interview, really caught my attention. Somebody asked about low and non-fat foods. He said that if it didn't affect the taste, sure why not. But sometimes there's just no substitute for cream. Oh boy, is he ever right. Ever put cream on your cereal? Were's that sound clip of Homer drooling...
If people would worry more about how well something tastes rather than following some diet of the week, they would feel more satisfied with their meal. They wouldn't need to double up their portions to get a hint of the taste. Going back to my cream on cereal reference, I tell you what, you'd be hard pressed to eat two bowls of that. But I could go through 3 or 4 bowls of cereal with just milk, no problem. Which one will really make me fatter?
Consider the low-fat craze that we're currently in. Most people I know like to poke fun at the Atkins diet, or the South Beach diet, or the Mayo and Peanut Butter diet (it must exist somewhere). But is the low-fat diet really much different? First margarine was in because it was low in saturated fats, now it's out because it's high in trans fats. Well who cares? Butter actually tastes good and doesn't make your popcorn all soggy. If we'd been following our tongues and noses, we could have avoided that whole mess.
People don't stick to their diets because it's not a lifestyle for them. In a safety meeting one time our instructor ingrained in our head how safety can't be a priority. There are just too many priorities to worry about, you can't think about safety when you're juggling all those. Safety has to be a value. How many times do you actually have to think about whether to put pants on? It's a value your mom taught you when you were small (and I bet you enjoyed tormenting her by running around butt naked).
Treat yourself right. Fix a meal that tastes good. Try some foods you've never had before. Just this week I made mac & cheese (no, not from a box) with shiitake mushrooms. Delicious! Mushrooms haven't really ever been my thing, but I think when I finally get home tonight I'll make a mushroom and jalapeno quesadilla, followed by some peaches and ice cream (made with real vanilla. And I won't feel guilty about it.