How Healthy Eating is Killing Me 062911
As a young man I considered all the things I did in my life that could kill me; on the one hand, it was sobering to realize what a risky life I was leading, but on the other, it was clear I wasn’t pissing my life away obeying rules. Back in those bulletproof days, it actually heightened the thrill to think, “wow, this is f’n dangerous, one of my pals might die doing this.”
I lacked the foresight to know that eating a whole chicken or most of a pot roast for dinner might not be good, that down the line the mounds of soft golden butter and steaming fresh bread were more dangerous than groping the sheriff’s daughter and hanging off the truck fender to night shoot jackrabbits with a pistol, combined.
So, having the good fortune to escape my youth I’m left to contend with the stark reality of my oldth. I complained to a much older friend awhile back about all the unimagined health issues that were cropping up, and she laughed and said: “just wait”. Lesson: don’t complain to old people.
Still, there is something depressing about learning to be afraid of your fork. It’s far easier to think, “better not, she’s probably slept with hobos” or “I should probably put this butt out since I’m siphoning gas with my mouth; might get confused” than to think “eating that lump of pig fat is like spinning the cylinder with only three empty chambers.”
And, it’s not just the source of death, it’s the manner. The first words anyone says after your death should be “holy crap, what a fireball! I’ll bet the poor bastard didn’t feel a thing”, not “well, poor bastard’s finally dead at last.”
I’ve made dietary adjustments before. I had an ulcer as a young man. I learned to drink my scotch with cream, my coffee with Mylanta, and held the onion on my daily chilidog for a while. Eventually, it went away and I resumed my normal diet.
These changes won’t go away, they’ll be with me until I die; that’s the conundrum. I can eat what I like and face a terrible end in a couple of years, or eat what I don’t like and meet the same end in perhaps several years.
In the meantime, here is the recommendation for my plate: half is filled with healthy and nutritious fresh vegetables, a quarter with whole grain cereals, and the last quarter with grilled fish or skinless chicken breast or some kind of bean. None of the foods that sustained me for decades even appear on the plate. Where’s the pork glistening in red grease sauce? Where’s the richly marbled beef haunch? This is the nation that learned to put bacon on top of cheese on top of a half-pound of ground beef topped with mayo. Fresh vegetables irritate my gizzard, and whole grains cause the sudden deposit of what could easily be mistaken for a cow flop. Eat what cows eat, and so on. I’m more familiar with the coyote style deposit, filled with hair and bits of bone. Eating a healthy diet is not only unsatisfying, or even dissatisfying, it’s unpleasant to say good bye to.
I’m told that eventually, I’ll learn to like a healthy diet, just as eventually I’ll have to wear a diaper and eventually I’ll have a Blue Tooth that acts as a hearing aid. The trick now, I as understand it, is to delay death with life compromises until the accumulation of compromises overcome your fear of death.
A healthy, balanced plate. From right to left: leaves of weed, meadow fresca, pond scum soufflé, rock, and chicken turd canapé.
Which might be why, when I sit down to a plate of lettuce and three bean salad , I get the urge to ride a truck fender night shooting jacks, or to find a comely sheriff’s daughter to grope.