We’re trying to make the transition once again to the illusive migratory grounds of healthy eating. It’s a really difficult place to find, especially considering all of the health issues that prevented me from making the transition the first three times. This, indeed, is the fourth try in five years. I’ve read plenty of books on the subject and know what I should be doing, but getting over there is an entirely different story.
For the first three attempts I was battling with radiation damage and allergy issues resulting from cancer treatment, all of which were screwing with my absorptive capacity. So back then I was at 3000 calories a day just to maintain weight. But now that I’m on different meds I’ve got the exact opposite problem! Still don’t have much energy, but can’t stop gaining weight because of the excess/concentrated calories. Thus the inspiration for the fourth stab at dietary changes to help me maintain weight yet again (but in the exact opposite sense).
We’ve had meat, milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, eggs, butter and and a host of supposedly healthy vegetable oils (Jesus – I’m salivatin’ just thinkin’ about it!!!) in our diet for so long that it seemed absolutely alien to eat without em. Still does to a greater extent, even with all of the reading that supports the contrary. And once we finally got serious about this endeavor it didn’t take long to realize how clueless we were about truly healthy cooking and eating, especially since it meant cutting out all of these intoxicatingly succulent ingredients.
So if I had to break it down – besides my prior health issues – I’d have to say that there are now two primary obstacles to contend with…
- (1) Habit: Many years and millions of dollars of cultural programming had us believing that a meal couldn’t possibly taste good without some sort of meat, fat, and/or oil present. Spending years refining, reinforcing, and repeating cooking techniques and recipes that adhere to this programming doesn’t help much either.
- (2) My Wife’s Cooking Skills and Refined Palate: As I’ve always said (and you may have heard) – “What’s the point of going out when you already eat at the best restaurant in town?!” Not that I don’t want to give her a break, but… Cris is such a good cook – and here palate so refined – that she can actually just smell the food and tell you if there’s enough salt and spices on something. She doesn’t even need to taste it most of the time. With that degree of food-sensitivity it’s not hard to imagine just how good all of those honed, unhealthy recipes can taste. They’re off the charts!!! Unfortunately – with a refined palate also comes the associated consequences. She’s got no tolerance whatsoever for marginally-flavorful or improperly textured (ex: over or improperly cooked) food, and doesn’t much like leftovers. So finding new recipes that can compete with the old ones in these ways has become a mounting endeavor.
Even so – I ordered a few cookbooks recently before we went to visit her family for the holidays. Neither were purported to use any fats, oils, meats, eggs or derivatives thereof in any of their recipes. I read through both of them page by page for several weeks. More to come here.