When I went on the very first diet I can remember, back in the early 1960’s, all I had to do to lose weight was eat the burger and forget the bun. I recall that it worked. In addition, in those days doctors gave 12-year-olds Dexamyl, a powerful amphetamine that would curb my appetite. It most certainly did curb my appetite, and I was always getting in trouble for being too chatty in class when I took it. At the time, I think my mother’s wisdom dictated being thin was more valued than being an exemplary student.

    Years later, in order to diet successfully I was allowed to eat the bun (whole wheat please!) but no longer the burger. I drank Tab (a diet cola containing saccharine) my whole life until it was no longer easily found on store shelves in the 1990’s.

          Desserts were, of course, off the menu but with diet jello and fat-free Cool Whip (a quasi-petroleum product) I could get a sugar-like rush, that is, if I could get passed the heartburn it gave me. I knew, because I was taught so, that food manufacturers always looked out for our well-being and the government would regulate producers to ensure my safety in all that I consumed.

          Oh, how I long for those simple days. Since then, I’ve been a vegan and a vegetarian and a pescetarian (a vegetarian who eats fish). Yet I have never in my life been more confused about what to eat for good health.

What’s Best

          I believe the best diet for me is one that is low in carbs and sugars, has enough calcium and lean protein and contains no gluten, even though I’m not gluten intolerant. The way food is produced nowadays makes good tasting food taste better, and eating too much bread makes me want more and more.

          A few years ago I made a conscious effort to reduce pesticides, where possible, by avoiding GMO foods. I can’t imagine families who, like me, wish to eat mostly organic foods. It’s expensive, very expensive for the average family on a limited food budget. Even avoiding chemicals in my foods, I still drink wine that is non-GMO and coffee that is grown in countries that load on chemicals to keep crops abundant and pest-free.  

Another Wrench in the Works

          Lately I’ve had a huge wrench thrown into the problem of what is best for me to eat. Oxalates. Without a boring medical diatribe that I’m not qualified to make, suffice it to say oxalates cause the calcium kind of kidney stones I’ve had recently so I desperately need to avoid them. Wanna hear the top oxalate-producing foods?  Spinach, beets, soy, chard, chocolate, nuts, beans, and wheat bran. So much for ever being a vegan again, not that it would be impossible, just very challenging.
          I met with a nutritionist recently to get some information about what I could eat to 1) keep my sugar, salt and fat intake low, 2) avoid oxalates, 3) lose weight in the process and 4) satisfy me enough so I wouldn’t want to eat a whole sleeve of Ritz crackers because of feeling deprived. And the good news is there’s plenty of stuff out there. It’ll take me a while to figure how it all works. Why does it have to all be such a mystery and why does it take a Ph.D. to figure out what to eat?

          In the meantime, when someone asks me what’s for dinner? I wish I could just say “I’ll take a burger … without the bun and a Tab.”

Contact Antonia at antoniassesniormoments@blogspot.com