A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Diets don’t work. Yeah, I said it. Okay, I’ll admit that in some parts of the world, diets do work, but they’re mostly involuntary. (Yeah, I said that, too.) Here’s the deal. Western society is awash in food, and for the last 50 years, we’ve been fighting a tremendous battle to keep it out of our mouths – and — we’re losing. The problem is, like most contemporary situations, we want a quick fix, and we’re willing to lie to ourselves (and others) to get it. So, when we say, “I’m going to change my life, burn my fat clothes, join a gym and start eating healthy from now on,” what we actually mean is, “God, I hope if I stop eating all the stuff I really like for a while and take the stairs at work, I’m going to be able to fit into my underwear again.” Folks, that’s not the way to do it – because:
Food is everywhere. – Walk down any High Street in Europe or drive down any highway in North America, and you’re going to find food. Fast food, slow food, food you can eat right now, food you can save for later, food from a farmer, food from a factory, food from a chemistry set, and even food that started life as something completely different. My point is it’s easier to avoid heroin if you’re an addict than it is to avoid food if you’re on a diet. Spend a day out in the big, wide world and you’ll come home so pissed off about all the stuff you CAN’T have, you’ll eat the sofa.
Our culture is built on food. – You have to look far and wide to find any social interaction that doesn’t involve food — breakfast meetings, dinner parties, potluck, barbeque, cake and coffee, tea and biscuits and it goes on and on and on. Even our mating rituals revolve around food. Want to get to know somebody? Go out to lunch. Want to really get to know somebody? Go out to dinner. Want to get laid, married or engaged? Go out to an expensive dinner. Nobody ever says, “Hey, I think you’re an interesting person. Let’s get together and drink some water.”
Snacks – The harsh reality is snacks are the food we eat in between the time we’ve finished eating (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and the time we start eating again. Nobody west of the Vistula is actually hungry. It’s just a contemporary twitch — and good luck trying to break that habit.
Most people are like me. — I have a car, a microwave, a dishwasher, a Roomba, a thing that cuts up my vegetables and two guys who show up every once in a while to work in the garden. I also have a television, a computer and a flat screen thingy that reads to me. On ordinary days, I don’t get enough exercise to fill a mouse’s ear: on lazy days, I could be in a coma. In the 21st century, we simply don’t move enough. So it really doesn’t matter how many calories you’re not eating; if you work at a desk all day and spend your evenings cultivating your ass groove in front of a TV or computer – you’re pretty much screwed.
So, what’s the solution?
The Mediterranean was the first Eden, and by all accounts, Adam and Eve were pretty hot property owners, so it makes sense to eat the way the Mediterraneans do. What’s not to like? Fish, chicken, and the occasional cow, 50 kinds of pasta, 100 different sauces, who knows how many cheeses, olives, avocados, enough garlic to scare your friends, bread that doesn’t taste like sawdust, all the salad, fruit and veg you can get your mitts on, red wine, white wine and — at the end of it all — coffee and tiramisu.
No fuss! No muss! And it beats the hell out of kale and quinoa on a cracker!