Monday, November 24, 2014

The Body that Preservatives Built

There is an epidemic in this country that very few people talk about.  Actually, way too many people talk about it but not with the right perspective.

The fight against obesity.

Now, I'm all for educating others on the value of a healthy diet.  But what doesn't make sense is that it's always the skinny people who are talking about it.  Very rarely do I hear a 300 lb. man say, "I cannot believe the fat content of store-bought salad dressing!  Something should be done!" 

No, it's always the 5'2" female marathon runner who talks about the calorie count of the salad she's eating.

Actually we very rarely hear men talk about it at all - at least not the men I hang out with.  And if they do, it's in a more manly way.  I remember having a conversation with my cousin years ago about the new protein shake he'd started drinking and when I asked him how it tasted he said, "Well.  Kind of like a combination of orange juice...and meat."

I think I'll stick to my Doritos, thank you very much.  There's got to be some protein in there somewhere.

In the last few months, I have attended quite a few book clubs - both male and female - to talk about my book.  And let me tell you, there is a huge difference in the conversations going on.  As the men munched on cookies and drank coffee and soda, not once did someone say, "Oh, I can't eat that.  I'm on a strict no-sugar-no-carbs-no-chewing-no-salt-no-nougat diet.  I've already lost 1/2 a pound!"

But at almost every female book club I attended, some sort of diet crept into the conversation (usually as I was about to pounce on one of the brownies that no one else was touching).  And at the last one, the entire group started talking about a diet that half of them seemed to be on which required the elimination of all preservatives.

I watched the conversation go back and forth like a ping-pong match as several people exclaimed, "It's amazing!  Just do it for thirty days and you'll feel like a whole new person!"

"It's not that hard once you get into it!"

"Preservative free is the way to be!"

I clutched the wine glass in my hand and looked down at the roll around my midsection and I realized I would be so sad if it left me altogether!  I earned that roll, dammit.  I worked hard for it.  It remained in spite of all of the broccoli I've eaten and the fruit and lean meat that's found its way onto my plate.  That roll signifies thirty-eight years of family time, chocolate desserts I've made with my kids, cookies dunked in milk when one of us is having a bad day, and holiday meals that I've thoroughly enjoyed.

And while I will acknowledge that all of you preservative-free, hard-core dieters out there might be healthier than I am and live a couple of years longer than I will, I'm perfectly okay with that if it means I skipped a month of meat-flavored shakes and I allowed myself to venture into the center of the grocery store for a pack of Fudge Stripe cookies.

I may go toes-up earlier than you people, but at least it will be with a smile on my face and a happy level of sugar and sodium in my body.

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