By Sue Murphy
A $12 million grant recently was awarded to study which type of diet was most effective for losing weight and keeping it off. Guess what they found: a diet low in carbs. Twelve million dollars and we get a big “Duh!”
Seriously, everyone knows that. The problem is that no one wants that to be the answer. They would love for the study to have prompted breaking news (even during the Super Bowl) that research had concluded we would all be healthier if we committed to eating a Twinkie every evening before bedtime whether we felt like it or not. That would be $12 million well spent.
There was a bit of good news on the diet front. Dark chocolate is still considered beneficial, even during these dark days when Romaine lettuce is not. I saw an online post that said, “I’ve been training for this moment my whole life.” I hear ya, sister.
We all know what we want to eat. We like things that are salty. We like things that are sweet, or at least I thought that was a given. I was waiting to board a mid-morning flight a few weeks back when a woman sat down next to me balancing her breakfast on her lap. The smell that wafted my way was not breakfast-familiar to me so I turned to see that she was eating a bowl of steamed broccoli and cabbage. At 9 a.m. I suppose that’s nutritional dedication, or maybe she was just showing off in a California sort of way. But the smell sent queasy signals to my stomach, so I moved next to a woman who was eating something more sensible, like a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit.
Broccoli for breakfast? I couldn’t do it. Limiting carbs is difficult for me at any time of day. There are designated good carbs, of course, ones that have garnered a nutritional seal of approval, but they’re ones made with whole grains, the kernel and the chewy, teeth-clogging chaff. These are good, in a compromising sort of way, but when I eat whole grain pasta, all I can think of is how much better the dish would have tasted with the wicked, partial grain version.
I’d like to be healthy, though, and I did enjoy a lot of partial grains over the holidays, so now, being the good girl that I am, I’ve committed myself to paying the whole grain price. So long, sugarplums. Hello, cardboard chip/crackers that are baked, not fried.
It makes good sense to eat this way. I know that. Whole grains are said to release their energy in a slow, sustained manner while their partial grain counterparts burn their candles at both ends, giving you a lovely time up front, then leaving you in a depleted heap. I guess that’s where I find myself now: heaped and heavy of heart.
Over time, I will benefit from the nutritional edge low-sugar fruits and vegetables give me. I’d just like a little more provision to be made for mashed potatoes and risotto and hot, buttered, white bread toast. And please, please, do not try and fool me with noodles made out of cauliflower or zucchini or beets. Any taste bud worth its salt knows the difference.
Oh well. That’s what January is all about, Charlie Brown. It calls us back from the revelry of the holidays to the slow-release joys of being sensible. I’ll try, I really will, but I am not, repeat not, having broccoli for breakfast. Not even for $12 million.