When I was a teenager, comedian Dennis Leary had a bit about how when salt and sugar start kicking your ass, it’s time to die.
I laughed along with the audience and agreed that such weaklings had no place on the planet.
Of course, now that salt and sugar are kicking my ass, I feel a little differently.
I’m certainly not ready to lie down and die because of it.
So, you do what middle-aged people do, you change your diet.
The problem is, we haven’t just been giving up foods that are bad for us.
We’ve also been slowly but surely eliminating foods from our diet that are immoral in the way they are grown or harvested. For instance, the wife gave up all meats, poultry and fishes because killing animals causes suffering.
Now I’ve been told we can’t have cocoa or chocolates of any kind anymore because of the fair trade issue.
Apparently, child slave laborers are picking the beans … and the only way to ensure justice is by keeping me from having a Snickers bar.
We’re about to give up three brands of coffee we usually buy each week for the same reason.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to find fair trade coffee in Northern Michigan? I do.
There is a store 75 minutes from my house that sells a few varieties of fair trade, and one that’s nearly 50 minutes away that supposedly carries the slave-free java but I haven’t had any luck locating it.
That leaves me to buy online, which I try not to do if at all possible—shop local and all, you know.
I finally gave up deli turkey after breaking my vow of vegetarianism for the last year by lunching on turkey sandwiches nearly every day.
To be fair, until I began eating tuna a few weeks ago, it was the only meat I was consuming. (I know, the vegetarians hear that and think I’m a brutal beast for harming innocent life. The meat-eaters hear that and can’t believe what a big gay puss I am.)
The next thing on the list to go is diet soda, and I’ve been struggling to give up dairy altogether but it’s just so hard because cheese and sour cream are so delicious.
The funny thing is I’ve already given so much up.
I no longer eat hamburger or steak or pork products of any kind.
I haven’t had butter in so long I can’t remember what it tastes like.
I stopped cooking delicious salmon steaks and grilled chicken breasts, and Kentucky Fried chicken drumsticks are but a salty, greasy, sexually-charged memory.
To be fair, I never was much of a steak or pork man. So that was no great loss.
But man I do love me some meatloaf, sausage, pepperoni, braunschweiger—pretty much any of the heart-friendly family of salted cured garbage meats.
I don’t eat pie or cake often, or fruit pies or Zingers or Twinkies (anymore) but still there seems to be a list of things I have to give up.
Is this old age?
Just a series of deprivations until you no longer enjoy food … or life in general?
I miss food.
I mean, I still eat but it’s mostly egg whites and dry wheat toast and oatmeal and an assortment of grasses, stalks, barks and seeds.
I don’t eat anything that I like any more (if you don’t count the occasional Taco Bell I talk the wife into splurging on).
Ironically, I’m still so fat.
That’s the worst part.
The sad part is that I do all the cooking, so you’d think I could control what kind of cuisine I enjoy.
The problem is that the wife does all the grocery shopping and she decided (I did, too, at the time) that we would stop eating meat, fish, poultry and most animal products a few years ago.
I went most of a couple of years with only sneaking the occasional can of salmon or tuna fish.
But, as I mentioned, this last year I have enjoyed a steady diet of deli turkey seven days a week.
Look, I know that the production required to supply food animals to humans is bad for the environment and causes the creatures to suffer … but they’re just so damned delicious.
I guess this is how I justify my love of Taco Bell. (I cannot possibly overstate the word “love.”)
Luckily, just about everything they make can be greatly improved by swapping the taco meat for extra refried beans.
Of course, the closest Taco Bell to our little hell hamlet is nearly an hour drive one-way.
So, much like Pa heading to Mankato to pick up rheumatism medicine for little Grace and bringing home sugar sticks for Mary and Laura, we once-in-a-blue-baby get the good stuff.
The rest of the time I subsist on a diet of oatmeal with brown sugar and fat-free milk, oatmeal with dry wheat toast and a spot of ketchup and an assortment of meatless meals, like sad spaghetti, nearly nachos, homosexual chili and plain potatoes with bread and mushroom stuffing.