Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Free, No Obligation Diet...that Works

Tonight, yet again, I watched a documentary on obesity and an endless parade of diets from cabbage soup to low-carb and everything in-between. Of course, like most shows of this nature, there was no real solid conclusion. The only theme that rang clearly was the millions of dollars that are made by the slime-balls that scam the public with so many diets that don’t work, or if they do work, are only temporary.

And so, I’m going to share with you a risk-free diet that works without expensive supplements or fat and calorie counts and ratios. And I’m quite willing to share it for free.

It is the “Scarce Diet”, not to be confused with the Scarsdale or any other modern diet. Obesity was not a plague in this country during the 50’s and 60’s because we were all on a strict diet without the misery of realizing it. Eleven kids in our family and all skinny as a rake.

Now, if you are interested, this is how the “Scarce Diet” works. It is based quite simply on a seasonal rhythm.

Spring meals - Primarily salads. Young lettuce, radishes, spinach, early peas, sweeter-tasting parsnips that stayed in the ground over winter. Fiddleheads and young rhubarb. Fish for a time if one of us happened by the creek when the fish were running.

Summer meals – Primarily fresh vegetables. Plenty of eggs, but very little meat. Occasionally for clan gatherings or a birthday, a young fryer-chicken. Strawberries and raspberries

Fall meals – Primarily late garden crops such as turnips, potatoes, squash, cabbage. Blueberries, cranberries, and crabapples. Still very little meat except for a few old stewing hens.

Winter meals – Primarily tubers – potatoes, turnips, parsnips, carrots. And at long last, finally some red meat in the form of moose or deer. More fish as well because now it can remain frozen and will not spoil. No salads, just cucumber or green-tomato relish preserves. And a bit of wine from the cellar in the form of fermented fruit preserves that never sealed.

The food groups I’ve mentioned are important. But more important is the meal time schedule. Breakfast is at seven, lunch is at noon, supper at six o'clock.

In between, no snacks though all are free to exact nibblers if any can be found. Berries, spruce sap gum, rose hips from the woods, or a raw carrot, turnip, or potato from the bin. At bedtime, for the models of good behavior, a cup of cocoa or tea.

Junk foods: A candy sucker, bubble gum, an ice cream cone, or a licorice stick twice monthly on shopping days. Cotton candy at the Fair. Hard ribbon candy and Jap oranges at Christmas time.

You know, I have a niggling conviction that obesity is not so closely linked to what we eat as it is to how often we eat it. If one religiously sticks to the time schedule of the Scarce Diet, I think there would be little harm in eating fried chicken, fast food hamburgers, or French fries.

The problem is we are usually booting around downtown when we order up fast food and then suddenly we are topping that meal up with a sundae, and chocolate bars, and a pop, because everywhere we turn that is what is in our face. And then when we are stuffed to capacity, we buy more to stash at home for the sake of convenience and choice.

This diet will work, but it may have other merits. I sometimes wonder if the plague of chronic bowel disease that seems so rapidly on an increase could be arrested by all of us slipping back into rigid eating times and foods that fit our seasonal rhythm.

Maybe, just maybe, that is what our physical bodies are clocked to deal with and programmed to expect.


Pauline said...

interesting - we ate much the same when we were children and we were all rail thin, too

I don't know that we're physically programmed to eat three meals a day - that's a fairly modern adaptation of medieval (and even more ancient) mealtimes, but we might well be "clocked" to expect them.

eating seasonal foods and less meat surely hurts no one - there are so many grains and vegetables and fruits that meet our bodily requirements. two of my children are vegetarians by choice and they are the two that are still rail thin!

Joy Des Jardins said...

I have to say...I agree with your diet theory Roberta. Even though I grew up in the 50's/60's and didn't have the best eating habits back then...or even now for that matter. My mom made A LOT of meat dishes....roasts all the time. My dad loved them. I don't think my mother ever really thought that much about what was 'healthy' or what wasn't. I'm sure we had way too much meat by today's 'healthy' standards. I was also a pop and potato chip junkie...and that hasn't changed that much either. I do however love fish and veggies a lot....that's some redeeming grace, huh?

Roberta S said...

Hi pauline, good to hear from you.

To expand more my thought about seasonal foods, I think the authors of 'healthy diets' take every other thing in account when discussing nutrition, except the products of each particular season, and it might have a lot to do with it. Particularly since primeval history/locale/blood types are linked to food menus that go way back. Lactose intolerance being low in tribes that were early herders, and very high in those that were hunters and gatherers and fish more pertinent to tribes known to have lived near the ocean. With those kinds of nutritional links verified, it occurred to me there may be a link between healthy digestion and seasonal foods as well. Maybe our bodies don't want young radishes and lettuce during the winter months -- maybe they just want turnips, potatoes, and carrots.

Roberta S said...

Hi joy,
You make me laugh, being so out there, admitting to eating all those junk foods -- pop and chips.

Now where are my chocolates? Oh there they are...right next to joy's clutch of junk foods.

Have a nice day, joy and thanks for commenting.