Category Archives: Diet

My Bedeviled Angel

A lot of people persistently struggle when it comes to personal fitness, and in recent days I count myself among their ranks.   On one shoulder I have the ripped Angel with the 6-pack abs sipping the kale smoothie and on the other shoulder I have the pot-bellied Devil chugging malt liquor.  In my world Angel typically wins out in the war on workouts; Devil has a better chance asking me to not shower then asking me not to work out, so instead he contents himself with sabotaging my shopping list and convincing me that the 2g of protein in the Peanut Butter Crunch, twice that of most breakfast cereals I’ll have you know, is a healthy source of protein for growing muscles, so thank you captain.    Angel, satisfied that I’m at least eating my vegetables, settles for a palm slap and a guilt inducing head shake whenever I have a chocolate chip cookie to “cleanse my palate” after dinner.  Left to my own devices I manage to keep them both in check and come out on the healthier side of the scale.  It is, however, a fragile balance easily disrupted by outside influences.  I once dated a girl that newly discovered you could order French fries with a side of gravy, providing a slice of Thanksgiving any day of the week.  Needless to say Devil was giddy with delight and Angel almost passed out while frantically Googling cardiologists.

One of the more serious external threats comes from the wee folk,… not the leprechauns pushing brownie bits samples at Costco but my precious offspring with narrow diets and youthfully unclogged arteries.  These little Devils have no problem feasting on the “bacon platter” for breakfast (that would be a platter stacked with only bacon).  They suck through Otter pops faster than a chain smoker.  They refuse to touch any food tainted with the smallest fleck of green down to trace amounts of dehydrated parsley found on the wildly unhealthy garlic bread.   They are the demon spawn of Domino’s pizza forsaking colorful vegetables and unprocessed proteins.  Worst of all is the fact that the little Devils require so much nit-picky care for the preparation of an acceptable meal that it leaves little time for alternative arrangements and just a bitter choice between choking down dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets with everyone else or working on a healthier alternative through dinnertime and scarfing it down between doing the dishes and chasing down little Devils for bath time.

Parental time management takes the greatest toll on the Great Expectations that is self-improvement.   Most successful workout routines fall into the time range of 45-90 minutes.  Trying to ease your P90X fitness guilt with a handful of sit-ups and a vigorous dash to the mailbox doesn’t fill the void.  I need extended activity; A prolonged cardio burn like running the bleachers at a football stadium which is problematic in the limited circumference of my current dwelling.  Inside this apartment everything is literally a 10ft radius from my desk.  When I had my Fitbit functioning in the previous house I could easily hit my goal of 10,000 steps just from multiple round trips up and down the stairs and delivering laundry to the four corners of the homestead.  It’s hard to make up that difference when time and space are so limited.  I need to either fill all free time with additional gym trips or multi-task when little ones are around, doing speed rounds of sprint tag with alternating pull-ups on the money bars between pursuits as lava monster.  Maybe I can install a giant hamster wheel out on the balcony.

I know some of it is inevitable; we grow up and then we grow out.  Our metabolism naturally slows down over time regardless of how much spice we spike our foods with.  Diets have to adjust to accommodate changes in our aging body and our fading activity levels.  At some point we have to realize our food intake no longer aligns with our daily calorie burn.  Continuing to eat like we’re teenage athletes makes as much sense as keeping those size 30 jeans believing that one day we’ll once again have the waist of a 20-year-old.

By this point my personal Angel, who was meant to be the model of health and virtue, is on the verge of surrendering.  When the Devil upends Angel’s kale smoothie and pokes him the belly like the Pillsbury Doughboy he no longer seems to mind.  I suspect his becoming a little too chummy with his devilish counterpart and the temptations being whispered in his ear.  It’s only a matter of time before he’s stretched out on a recliner during 8oz curls and using the devil as his serving wench.  Time for more stretchy pants.

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Three Step Diet

I marvel at the staggering number of diet programs that drape the book shelves and appear as rotating installments on the Dr. Oz show. It seems like the perfect money-making opportunity; you come up with a catchy theme or title, create a few healthy recipes and get a notable doctor or nutritionist to lend an air of credibility. I’m tempted to create one for the sole purpose of proving just how easy (and therefore ridiculous) it is. The only problem is my diet idea is so simple I can break it down into three simple steps just like they do on Disney Junior. It’s a challenge for me to fill an entire page explaining it much less an entire book, but for those of you who might want to save your money on all the other fads I’ll give you this one for free;

Step 1Eat Clean: You can also think of this one as ‘eat simple’. The closer to raw or natural something is the better it probably is for you. The more processed or chemically infused an item is the less of it you should be consuming. In general when you walk through the grocery store the clean and simple foods are those along the outer walls; meats, eggs, produce, dairy, etc. Of course there are also canned or frozen fruits and vegetables, as long as there are fewer than 2 ingredients on the label and the only process involves vacuum seal and flash freezing you’re good to go.

Step 2Eat Color: The rules are cumulative here, so the color has to be clean, simple and natural. Anything labeled “blue raspberry”, for example, doesn’t count. This means eating a pretty spectrum of actual fruits and veggies. When I was just out of college my roommate prepared a meal consisting of chicken nuggets, tater tots and barbecue beans,… the entire plate was shades of brown, and the thought of it still creeps me out and keeps me on the lookout for the rich greens, reds, yellows and oranges that occur in nature.

Step 3 – Eat Protein: Specifically eat more protein than carbohydrates. This one may be a more subjective point, but for me at least, an admitted carb-whore who wants to keep and build muscle I know I need to get in more protein. Since I seem to have no problem finding plenty of carbs to eat the challenge becomes making sure to end up with an equal amount, if not more, of protein then I do of carbs. And again being cumulative steps if I have a beige chunk of chicken or turkey I still need to make sure I find my color sources with other foods. Bonus points if I’m eating something like ahi that has its own rich color.

That’s it. A three-step diet in less than a page. Now I just need to fill about 100 more pages with nonsensical crap justifying the steps and touting their merits, search the internet for a weeks’ worth of meal planning, and find some lonely PHD to write me an impressive introduction and jacket endorsement and I’ll be set. I am so gonna be rich!

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