By Sue Murphy
Boy, I had fun over the holidays ton of ice cream in the sink to melt and … and boy, does it show. I don’t want to brag, but I may have graduated to an entirely new pants size.
That’s not good, of course. Health issues and all that. Nope, it’s time to initiate the Dot Diet.
My Aunt Dot is a certified force of nature. At age 89, she is trim and sharp and spunky. Her energy level puts me to shame. When my sister and I arrived at her Florida house last November, she was rearranging a large pile of rocks in her flower beds, all of which she had personally hauled back from the beach at some point. Later, when I had the audacity to suggest that, instead of parking in the free lot across a busy thoroughfare, we might avail ourselves of a restaurant valet service, she snorted, “Oh, Good Grief, Charlie Brown! The walk will do you good.”
At the restaurant, my aunt ordered a salad with grilled shrimp but was quick to point out that this wasn’t her usual fare. At home, she made vegetable stir fry every night, sometimes with broccoli, sometimes Brussels sprouts. Her mid-morning snack consisted of a handful of trail mix and three (count them, three) dried apricots. Her life wasn’t all twigs and berries, though, because at the end of her main meal, she always allowed herself one peppermint patty.
Given that, over the holidays, I personally put away three (count them, three) truckloads of peppermint Christmas cookies, I knew it would be in my best interest to follow Aunt Dot’s example, at least for a while.
The cookies had to go. They were getting stale any- way, but that never stopped me before. I set the last carton of ice cream in the sink to melt and closed my eyes as I dumped the rest of the hot chocolate Chex mix directly into the trash. The peppermint patties I kept, because, thankfully, they were Dot Diet allowed, just not at my previous rate of consumption.
I can make stir-fry, but I’d rather eat soup, so I decided to simply throw a boatload of similar vegetables into a pot with some broth and let them sim- mer. Don’t tell Aunt Dot, but I’m going to cheat and throw in a potato now and then. They’re high in potassium, right? At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself all these years. Even if they’re not, for me, life without potatoes would be cruel and unusual punishment.
I know she told me, but I don’t remember what Aunt Dot has for breakfast. I suspect it’s something like oatmeal, which I’m doing already. Look at me being halfway to healthy! I don’t think you get a peppermint patty after the oatmeal, though.
I know I cannot do the Dot Diet long term. There will be days when the smell of hot biscuits drifting from the Chick-fil-A drive-thru will get the best of me. I will come across a brownie in a bakery case that is distinctively calling my name. But, in the first few months (weeks?) of 2022, I’m going to try to keep the picture of Aunt Dot firmly in mind and go forward as best I can. Just don’t take away the peppermint patties. I can withstand a lot of culinary hardship if I know that there’s a piece of chocolate waiting for me at the end.
So, here we go. Dot Diet Day One. Good Grief, Charlie Brown. I forgot to buy the apricots.