The dieting boondoggle

I confess that I have joined the diet elite. Forget Weight Watchers, Atkins, or any other flavor of the year conspiracy that convinces us that we are fat and socially unacceptable. The all new rave is now Keto. You are either socially in or out. The new kid on the block. Keto is based on the premise that if we starve our bodies from carbs, we will burn fat. That is the short version. Whatever.

The diet is allegedly used medically to control epilepsy in children. But like anything else in a vibrant market economy, and a society hung up on itself, keto found itself in mainstream social media as the latest miracle since the parting of the sea. It is well marketed and the hook and net is thrown wide into the troubled waters of incredulity and diet hopelessness with agility and finesse. You are reeled in gently. I decided to bite. I took on the bait. I entered my personal data online, and lo and behold “Sarah” sent me my daily requirements of caloric, fat, and carb intake. I was thrilled. Then came the life sustaining diagram of the absolutely no-way foods, in-small- quantity foods, and all-you-can-eat without regret foods. I quickly learned that one should not eat anything grown under the ground, drink alcohol with color, imbibe on bread, rice, grains, bright colored fruits and vegetables; you get the picture. It is going to be exciting.

Going through the grocery store is now an adventure. Short of asking a vegetable if it was grown underground, I look at everything as a measurement of sugar content lest I go over my 30 grams a day allotment. I am from the Mediterranean, and not cooking with onions or garlic (underground) is blasphemous and tasteless. But I pulled myself together and looked into the small Ketogenic fine print mantra to discover that one small white onion is within my limit of underground food. Alleluia! I wistfully look at the sweet potatoes and turn my head in stoic disciplined memories of butter and Gruyere cheese pleasantly oozing out of one of them baked to perfection. Heaven waits for me just for this sacrifice.

Penance in aid of ketogenic happiness and well being is forgoing bread, which living in Germany is equivalent to not breathing. Just when I thought I had mastered the art of omission I receive a “hi and hello” from keto “Sarah” who wants desperately to give me a meal plan. I figured why not? I have come this far why not take on the whole enchilada. I want to be fully immersed and fulfilled. And as fast as I can spell keto, the diet boondoggle raised its pointed head. The meal plan costs $240, but I have a good deal at $221. How generous of “Sarah”. I decided to un-friended both keto and “Sarah”. I do not need a meal plan to tell me that I cannot cook with anything “below ground” or that has sugar in it.

The diet conspiracy raised its ugly had in the 1980’s when we were brainwashed into thinking that unless we are shaped like embryos we are unattractive and fat. Models started to appear on fashion runways looking like zombies, and equally unattractive. I am not advocating obesity, but body structure accounts for body shape. God created man in His own image or so we were taught. So who am I to tell the Almighty that He might need a make over because society thinks He might be fat. Let’s face it, there are folk who even starved would be considered over weight by today’s standards. The medical community is as much to blame. We went through a roller coaster of misinformation about fat, eggs, cholesterol, and now carbs. We were going to die if we ate eggs, now we are going to die if we eat bread. I have news for you, we are all going to die one time or another. At this rate we should be chewing on water to be on the safe side. It is inane to think that a diet is sustainable unless one is bent on spending the rest of their lives without good food. And please refrain from telling me how making a keto “friendly” bread out of eight eggs and cream cheese is appetizing. Unless medically bound to give up certain foods because of diabetes, epilepsy, allergies, or heart condition; self inflicted diets generally never work.

Eventually, everyone falls off a diet because temptation is too strong, or just because eating a high quantity of one thing over another will eventually play havoc with our insides. Our bodies are complex enough as they are without our tweaking. All these diets are promoted as “scientifically proven” until they are debunked. As we grow older and get on in inevitable years, our bodies take on a life of their own. That is a fact. All the sand starts shifting in our hour-glass figures, some of us more than others, and it usually goes south. Women have a problem with gravity from their breasts down. It is uncanny how from one day to the next a gravitational pull takes our bosoms and mates them with our waists. We can diet till the cows come home because those babies will not budge. We eventually buy larger bras and pull ourselves like cranes building a skyscraper.

But I will persevere with my low carb new life. I have put on a few pounds and keto is my light at the end of the proverbial weight loss tunnel. I am heroically marching on and restraining my wine intake which is as painful as pulling my nails. I love dry red wine. But as I longingly look at the bottles of Baron Rothchild’s Bordeaux, I tell myself that it is all for a good cause. I am preventing my upper body from migrating south. And then just as my will power was slowly ebbing into grabbing a wine goblet, a keto silver lining opened up that saved my very soul. I found out that clear alcohol is permissible in small doses. Thank you God and pass on the whisky!

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