October 30, 2004

Last of the Carbohydrates

YESTERDAY, OUR DOCTORS -- who have grown markedly concerned about our miserable health -- ordered us to start on "The South Beach Diet," an eating regimen which from what we can tell forbids one to derive any pleasure from food whatsoever. As one might expect, we were most disappointed at this news. For it was yet another Grand Day of Reckoning, during which we were forced to confront unpleasant realities about our life. Our shock came not from knowing we were mortal, but instead came from knowing that our mortal existence was about to experience a bit of a downgrade.

This epiphany came to us as we sat in a conference room at the hospital, looking at a vast array of health-conscious food products lined up on a counter. We have never cared for such things, as we have seen them as pale substitutes for the real thing: after all, why not have just a wee bit of butter instead of globs of Butter-Flavored Cholesterol-Lowering Synthetic Spread? Yet there they were, sitting before us: all promising wonderful health benefits such as More Calcium and Lowered Risk of Heart Disease, yet remaining in our eyes flavorless, milquetoast, and wretched. It was an awfully depressing thing, and we despaired greatly at the thought of having to eat the stuff.

However, based on our analysis of "The South Beach Diet," we may just crave these things when all is said and done.

The diet, as we learned, is essentially a detoxification program for the body. Over the next two weeks, we shall be restricted to eating just 40 grams of fat per day. This is perhaps 15 percent of our standard caloric intake, figuring we would eat a total of 2,400 calories per day at maximum. Of this amount, only one-quarter can come in the form of saturated fat (i.e., bacon grease, lard, the good stuff). The hardest cut, however, comes in the form of carbohydrates. We will get none of these over the next two weeks. It is fair to say our reaction was akin to that one scene in "The Golden Child," when Eddie Murphy inquires as to just how many people have accomplished a particular physical feat.

For we know how our body works, you see. We know that even though our brain is ordering it to deal with the lack of carbohydrates, it will resist with all due force. At the end of the second day, we have no doubt we will be suffering intensely; and at the end of the first week, we may start hallucinating about cupcakes and assorted goodies.

Perhaps the greatest annoyance is that "The South Beach Diet" requires some skill in cookery, of which we have only a modest amount. We ought say that we very much appreciated those close to us who politely offered their advice in this matter, but we were so downhearted we didn't really return their enthusiasm. The joys of making endless desserts from ricotta cheese weren't readily apparent; and the thought of making the other recipes wasn't all that appealing either. The idea of a crustless, vegetable-heavy quiche-like dish just soured us (after all, as Gaces de la Bugne once put it, si tu veux que du pate tate, fais mettre des oeufs en la pate.*).

Yet despite these complaints, with them comes a sense of resignation. For the alternatives to this are far worse, and they are many; ranging from the slow death that comes with heart disease to the agonies of pancreatitis. As our present health has undoubtedly accelerated the pace which we would contract such medical terrors, we are faced with the unpleasant reality that we have come to the end of the line. One thing must go: our bad habits, or us. And although we admit very much that we'd prefer to leave these things up to God, we do suspect He would not care for us wrecking one of His temples.


* "If you want a pie that's tasty, have eggs put in the pastry." So said the man who served three French kings in the 14th century.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at October 30, 2004 02:07 AM | TrackBack

I do understand your initial lack of enthusiasm for switching to this new healthy form of eating but after a few days as your body purges the carbohydrates I know you will find that low carb foods will suddenly become much more appetizing. And as you form these new healthy eating habits, you will no longer have the same type of cravings for the bad stuff and won't miss it nearly so much. This is going to work out for you very well and before long it won't really be a sacrfice. You will find the new foods quite tasty once they don't have to compete with an overload of carbohydrates on a daily basis. And the benefits will include feeling much better short term in addition to having a vastly better long term health outlook. I strongly believe that in a few months you will look back to the abandonment of your old eating habits, not with regret, but with the feeling of "why did I wait so long" to make this change because you will be feeling so much more energy both physically and mentally. This isn't just happy talk; its really is the way it will be.

Posted by: Swammin in Solon at October 30, 2004 09:35 AM

Well, there's no denying there ARE positives about the diet, large and small. One of the small ones I am quite pleased about is that there are no restrictions on vegetable consumption. For instance, I get to eat all the kim chi I want! I was worried about that, because there's *nothing* that cures a bad headache better than kim chi. So I will have some defense mechanisms.

Posted by: Benjamin Kepple at October 30, 2004 11:33 AM

Unlimited kim chi; it doesn't get any better than that !!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Swammi in Solon at October 30, 2004 09:02 PM

You mention hallucinating about cupcakes....have you been watching Cabin Boy?????? That one is a lost (I mean really lost) classic.....Anybody wanna buy a monkey????

Good luck with that South Beach Diet. Too bad we don't actually live there....

Our planets must be aligned, as they say...I'm starting on Atkins.

God save us both.

Posted by: simon from jersey at November 1, 2004 12:23 AM