When it comes to my diet please tell me what to do

The other day, while supermarket shopping with my home nutritionist, I heard a child whining to her mother: “You never let me by any of the cookies or candies that I like!”

My wife/nutritionist said, “Do you hear that? That is exactly how you sound when we go shopping.”

It is sheer agony and frustration for me each time I select some beautiful looking chocolate covered, peanut butter filled, vanilla cookie and my nutritionist grabs the package out of my hands and begins to look for the fat content of these beautiful morsels. It is usually higher than recommended and she places it immediately back on the shelf. I continue to whine and she continues to shop.

Who has the right to say what is good or bad for me? It seems a short while ago that we were being told to stop eating eggs due to the high cholesterol. Now they recommend at least two eggs per week to stay healthy. My doctor advised me to stop drinking coffee to avoid having a heart attack. Now I read that according to an NIH and AARP study, people who drink three to four cups of coffee per day live longer due to the antioxidants in the beverage. These results are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Another study in Norway says that coffee can help with weight loss, reduce one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, boost muscle growth, protect against certain types of cancers, and even reduce the risk of premature death.

Chocolate for many years was considered a no-no. Now it is said that people who consume chocolate or cocoa beans seem to live longer and healthier lives. Don’t eat nuts, I have been told, because they have so much fat in them. Now they say a handful of nuts each day is good for you. Same goes for a couple of glasses of wine or beer. They haven’t mentioned Rum, Scotch or Vodka as yet but I feel sure that these are also good for you. Keep reading your newspapers. It is bound to happen.

Many of my friends have advised me to eat only organic foods because they are not sprayed with chemicals to kill all the bugs and other vermin that usually attack these fruits and vegetables. One study showed insecticide use in homes may be more to blame for children’s health issues than nonorganic foods. A report from the Stanford University Center for Health Policy says that when it comes to certain nutrients, there is not much difference between organic and conventionally grown food. One thing is for sure, organic foods cost a good deal more. Woe is me!

Trying to eat a sensible diet is extremely difficult for me not being learned in the language of the goodie-goodie-two shoes people. I really have a hard time finding legumes on the restaurant menu but I am told that I am supposed to eat a lot of them, whatever they are.

What in blazes is gluten? I am told I should eat gluten-free foods. Someone told me that gluten can be found in soy sauce and beer as well as various forms of bread. I have never seen gluten on a restaurant menu, either. Have you?

Monosodium Glutamate is another one. “I’ll have my Chinese food prepared with no MSG” I hear all the time. I have looked very carefully at my Egg Foo Yung and never see any MSG in it. There are actually movements to ban the use of this stuff.

Have you ever looked at the U.S. Government’s food pyramid? I have no idea what to do with it. I am told that I should have at least five servings of fruit and or vegetables each day but there is no mention of how many cookies or candies I am supposed to eat. Are these not important to help maintain my sweet and pleasant disposition? Please don’t tell me that a carrot or piece of celery can replace a Three Musketeers or Snickers bar. It just doesn’t work that way.

Some years ago I was a pack-a-day smoker. I stopped when the United States Surgeon General told me that it might kill me. I do remember how absolutely wonderful that cigarette with my morning coffee was. Ending a lovely dinner and lighting up afterwards was also quite a treat. Somewhere, somehow, some university must be doing research on the advantages of smoking. Please let me know if you hear anything related to this matter.

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