Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Trans Fats: A hidden beauty secret?
Up until about a year ago, my grocery list read like this:
1. Cheez-Its - 1 box original, 1 white cheddar
2. Oscar Meyer baloney
3. American "cheese" individually wrapped slices
4. Velveeta Mac & Cheese
5. 2 loaves of bread (wheat, if I was on a health-kick)
6. Assorted pasta: spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine
8. Taster's Choice Instant Coffee (Don't judge. It's good!)
This diet served me well for my entire adulthood. I felt good, I looked fine, my jeans fit. My food life was simple, yummy, and overall quite satisfying.
But last year, after working a desk job for a bit longer than I'd anticipated, I had to admit that I'd put on a few pounds. And that's when it happened...All the warning words of dread and fear well-intentioned people have chanted at me over the years started swirling around in a threatening storm in my head: "You won't be able to eat like that forever, you know..." "Someday, you'll wish you'd made smarter choices..." "Eventually, all that salt and fat is going to catch up to you..." (And let's not forget the lady in the yoga pants who looked at my shopping cart at the grocery store and gasped, almost involuntarily, "But baloney has no life force!" )
Last year at about this time, I collapsed under the pressure, terrified that these folks--not to mention every magazine article I've read in the past decade-- might all be right. So I repented of my ways, and walked away from foods that spell cheese with a "z." I started choking down lots of chicken (the whole idea of eating bird just creeps me out, but if it's what you have to do to be healthy...). I snack on smallish handfuls of almonds. I "splurge" once a week with a small bowl of pasta & olive oil. I've been doing this for a year now. It's fine--I don't really mind it. But it's made absolutely no difference in how I look or feel.
So about a month ago, I faced the awkward truth that I must not be doing this right. All that chicken eating just isn't enough. I could hear Oprah whispering in my ear, "You need to work out more--a couple of times a week ain't gonna cut it!" So for the past month, I've been doing hard time at the gym. I run three miles (approximately two-and-a-half miles longer than I've ever run before) 3-4 times a week. I life weights. I do ab work.
And I've lost...are you ready??? One-and-one-half-pounds!!!!
Now, I like the exercise--running is great for a writer. But I'm seriously wondering if we've been sold down the river on this whole nutrition thing? What if it's all a lie? What if my body is dependent on the "z" in cheez to keep me up and going? What if I need trans fats? What if baloney is the anti-aging miracle we've all been searching for???
I think it's time to stand up to the Organic Farmers of America and say, "Bring on the baloney!"
Anybody with me?
(A note to the promotional folks at Cheez-It: if you'd like me to do a commercial, write an essay, or go on a nationwide tour to promote your product, you can reach me here).