I was falling under the spell of Michael Pollan and his cohort of food writers who have, with an almost religious zeal, been exposing the sins of the processed food industry, and the darker sides of America’s agribusiness. It is hard to dismiss their messages about the potential hazards of our un-informed eating habits, and the benefits of eating the healthy “plant based diet”, forgoing the convenient processed foods, and curtailing our unabated apatite for meats and sweets.
Add to the mix elevated cholesterol numbers for Patience and I, and my dear, sweet Mediterranean diet never had a chance. Like rats leaving a sinking ship I left it behind, determined to find the bliss, and self satisfaction, along with low cholesterol numbers, of ‘eating healthy”. I would shop around the periphery of the grocery market looking for all things plant based and “organic”, and cast disapproving eyes at those unfortunate uninformed or disinterested shoppers going through the cases of prepared, frozen food, their shopping carts filled with all things processed. I was prepared to commit my remaining years to beans, greens, nuts, fruits, grains, and berries, so I could die healthy.
Feeding the body
|Kale - Barley - mushrooms|
Pasta? Only if it is whole wheat. Sausage? Don’t even think about it. Pork loin, steak, chicken, meatballs? No Way! For me it was going to be beans, and Kale, and grains, and Kale, and vegetables, and Kale, and fruit, and Kale, and….well, you get the picture. I have eaten more Kale in the past 3 months than in the previous 73 years! OK, I know, I am exaggerating, but not a real lot. Substituted for Kale has been a lot of Broccoli Rabe, which, thanks to Midtown Market, is now readily available.
What was I doing? Did I want to add 3 years to my life so I could eat even more Kale, nuts, and berries, 3 more years of missing sausage and Sunday pasta with its thick, meat-based sauce? What happened to that old axiom, “everything in moderation”? It occurred to me that the quality of life is as important as the quantity of life, and for me, certain foods are much more than a source of nutrients. They are a part of my history, a link to my past and the people who shared it with me, They play an important role in defining who I am, and there simply is no way I can give them up.
Feeding the soul
|Pasta with sausage and chicken|
Like so many aspects of life, it is not a matter of either –or. Common sense tells me that it is possible to enjoy the health benefits of one, and the spiritual benefits of the other. Moderation…it trumps everything.