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Bon Appetit!

by Rose Madeline Mula

Are you as confused as I am by all the admonitions about healthy eating? Read one book or news article on the subject, and I guarantee it will directly contradict something you read the day before. Take the whole issue of water, for example. For decades I've been conscientiously struggling to down eight glasses a day, and now "they" tell us we don't need to do that. Could it be possible that what I thought was flab is simply bloat and that if I cease guzzling water, I may once again be svelte? What good news! Except for the bottled water industry. (Is it too late to dump my Evian stock?)

As for the food advice, though some of the suggestions may be sound nutritionally, they are often far from practical.

For example, I just read a book about foods that fight disease; and I swear, if you try to follow its guidelines, you'll be penniless in no time — for two reasons: First, you'll spend a fortune on the recommended foods; and, second, you'll have to quit your job and devote all your time to grocery shopping and eating. Not only will you be broke, you'll also be fat and alone. Fat because of the calorie content of the amount of recommended foods, and alone because your family will run away from home and all your friends will avoid you. Let's face it. Who wants to watch you stuffing your face all day, which is what you'd have to do in order to consume the required quantities of foods the book in question deems are essential, including:

One to two cups of blueberries a day. This may be doable during the summer (especially if you have your own blueberry bushes), but to buy that many out of season, you would probably have to refinance your home because somebody (i.e., you) has to pay the shipping charges from Chile or wherever. And even if you love blueberries, how long do you think you'd continue to love them if you scarfed down two cups daily?

A half cup of pumpkin most days. I may be wrong, but don't pumpkins have an even shorter season than blueberries?

Spinach: One cup steamed or two cups raw most days. Come on! Even Popeye didn't eat that much.

Wild salmon: Two to four times per week. If you can't find salmon in the wild, it's going to cost you big bucks at the fish market.
Tomatoes: One serving per day of processed tomatoes and multiple servings per week of fresh tomatoes. Okay, so you could have a daily salad, and that would take care of the fresh tomatoes requirement; but that one serving per day of processed tomatoes is problematic. What are you going to put it on? Pasta? Pizza? Every day? How do you spell "e-x-p-a-n-d-i-n-g waistline"?

Yogurt: Two cups daily. Give me a break! When are we supposed to fit this in? I suppose we could mix some of it with the blueberries and spread the rest on some stewed tomatoes or steamed spinach.

Soy: At least 15 grams of soy protein each day. I'm not sure what soy protein is, but I do know that 15 grams must be a lot because you're supposed to divide it into two separate meals or snacks.

Oats or other grains such as brown and wild rice, barley, wheat germ and flaxseed: Five to seven servings a day! Follow this suggestion, and you'll be neighing in no time.

And let's not forget that daily apple that will keep the doctor away. Right, like keeping the doctor away is a problem these days. When was the last time one came knocking on your door?

In addition, the following are recommended: A half cup to one cup of broccoli and an orange every day, at least four servings of beans per week, an ounce of walnuts five times a weeks, and three to four servings of turkey breast per week.

Keep in mind that all of the above are touted in just one book. Other sources specify even more essential nutrients. The last time I checked, a week still had only seven days. So how are you supposed to fit everything into a daily meal plan? And what happens when you dine out? Won't you get some strange looks when you order a couple of cups of blueberries, a cup of yogurt and half a cup of pumpkin for dinner?

And, most important, where do ice cream and Scotch fit into this scheme? How can a diet be well balanced without these two essentials?

Then there's the whole issue of nutritional supplements. How are we going to manage to swallow (and pay for) all the vitamins and minerals supposedly required daily to keep us healthy, gorgeous and pain free? It's a challenge. Some must be taken with food, others at least an hour before or after eating, some in the morning, some at bedtime, and some on alternate Thursdays, except when the moon is full. Okay, so I made the last one up; but you know what I mean.

Add to this mix potions for controlling stomach upset (which is guaranteed if you consume all of the above), pills for heartburn (ditto), capsules to help block carbohydrates (a must if you're going to eat all the pizza and pasta to use as a base for your daily required processed tomatoes), laxatives for irregularity, and magic tablets to cure everything from Social Anxiety Disorder (formerly known as plain old shyness) to Attention Deficit Disorder (i.e., formerly called boredom and/or rambunctiousness) to a wide range of male and female sexual dysfunctions (formerly never mentioned in public, unlike today when celebrities freely admit their inadequacies on national TV and magazine ads).

I'd like to stay and discuss this further, but I must go. It's time to force myself to eat my wild salmon and soy casserole.

(Editor's Note: Rose's new book, The Stranger in My Mirror and Other Reflections is available by special order from most book stores, or on the web at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com)



Editor's Note: Rose Mula's most recent book, The Beautiful People and Other Aggravations, is now available at your favorite bookstore, through Amazon.com and other online bookstores, and through Pelican Publishing (800-843-1724), as is her previous book, If These Are Laugh Lines, I'm Having Way Too Much Fun.

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