08 March 2012

Stayin' Alive

You know those people who live to be 100 and then they get asked to what do they attribute their longevity? Well, I want to be ready if the unthinkable should happen.

There is absolutely no consistency among those wizened people when interviewed about lifelong eating habits. Pretty much a free-for-all food nightmare.

It’s a serious responsibility to be a healthy adult, particularly if you live single and cook for one. If you cook for one, raise your hand. No, raise your hand if you cook. That’s what I thought ... it’s the cooking part we don’t do much of. Too easy to find prepared foods and take-away. This is not to ignore the odd occasion of compulsive binge cooking like cookies or chili that you have to eat every day for a week or give it away. 

A lot of us will end up living single as time advances so it’s good to critique your current habits and embrace your inner dietician. Once you review the basics, eating healthy can be creative, fun, and better than sudoku for working your brain. If you know you’ll be sent to a seniors’ warehouse where three uninspired meals a day arrive on a tray, skip this post. 

Those good ole government guidelines for good eating still fill the bill even in this day and age. You know: the ones where you eat so many units of food groups per day. So much protein, so much dairy, and all that. Let’s admit they do go way overboard on the veggies and fruits. Nonetheless, those rules seem like an anchor in today’s stormy sea of media battering. Nutrition Land sends us a dizzying torrent of food reports, advisories, and scary warnings.

One time we weren’t supposed to eat eggs. Or butter. Now all kinds of formerly bad things are in. Processed foods are out. Eco-unfriendly packaging is out. We have to be on the alert for the latest e-coli cucumbers, or contaminated orange juice. Was that chicken humanely killed or not? Do you know where that bottled water really comes from?

It becomes even more complicated (they just don’t leave us alone). We not only have to read the tiny labels for ingredients, we have to remember which one is the bad cholesterol. Having missed high school chemistry in favour of art, I’m out of luck. Then there are organic factions, and political factions. If I buy shiny apples instead of the sad imperfect ones I am ingesting tons of noxious chemicals. If I buy pickles with product of India on the label, I am reinforcing unemployment in Canada.

It takes informed judgment and a bit of expedient substitution to personalize your nutritious meals with a certain balance to make you feel righteous. The comforting, tried and true guidelines seem to revolve around three meals a day. First adjustment: necessary for the thousands of us have no brain or stomach function upon waking unless three to four cups of coffee get the neurons flowing. That takes a bit of time—nice time while you check the email, and Facebook, maybe twit a bit. Latest bulletin: lots of coffee prevents cancer.

If your normal course in the morning, first thing, is to wolf down some oatmeal or other high fibre product with a fruit unit like grapefruit, and then proceed to aerobic exercises, you too can skip the rest of this. 

Speaking for the sorry thousands, this is only for you. Obviously the first meal of the day happens well after standard breakfast time, missing the fibre opportunity. Which must come later. The next meal would be around English tea-time. A bit disruptive if you are in the 9 to 5 work force, although television commercials strongly suggest a chocolate bar will do it. Remember, though: advertisers are not our best friend. The third meal, if you feel you really need another, would be while watching your favourite evening TV show. If you have one. If you watch TV at all. Or, you know ... glued to your computer. Substitute your own entertainment.  

Second adjustment: matching the important food group units with nutritious things that rarely require cooking (warming up and defrosting are not cooking). Since this post now extends beyond the expected reasonable attention span for anyone younger than me—part of my target audience, although I believe there are people older than me who have the same deficit—I will delay my recommendations for actual meal planning to a Part Two.

Due to the slight postponement, my blog stats may spike madly from impatient, anxious, trembling viewers—the ones who recognize the kiltered daily routine above. Therefore I want to leave you with an interim warm thought: What is my answer to the 100th-birthday quiz? It starts with Cheese and ends with Whiz. The most versatile miracle food ever invented. It must be magic---unless you consume it immediately, a lovely, salty, tastefully-coloured, cheesy spread turns into into plastic before your eyes.

If it weren’t for Cheese Whiz I would probably be a mere shadow of myself. Stayin' Alive!


  1. OMG Please tell me that you are not like my step-father - he thinks that ketchup is a vegetable. Don't get me wrong - I have been known to eat meals that consist of potato chips and peanut butter cups and chase it down with a chocolate malt while a lit cigarette hangs from my bottom lip.

  2. Step-daddy rocks! I knew there was an audience waiting for me. Careful you don't accidentally inhale those chips or swallow the cig.