Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ode to the Atkins Diet

Obviously, some habits that saw us through the millennia are proving hazardous in a modern context: for example, the yen to consume carbohydrates and fat whenever they cross our paths, or the proclivity for unchecked reproduction. Barbara Kingsolver

In my opinion, the Atkins diet is possibly the most dire thing that has happened to our weight-obsessed nation in my lifetime. To be successful with the Atkins diet, one must consume copious amounts of meats and fats, and very little of anything else, especially carbohydrates. Nutritionists long ago established minimum requirements of food groups needed for a healthy lifestyle, including at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. According to the Atkins diet, that would be lettuce, carrots, lettuce, lettuce, and lettuce. I fear that soon we may see massive casualties due to carb-deprived diets.

Our ancestors clawed and gouged their way to the top of the food chain, giving me the right to eat anything I want. I have no problem eating meat; I just don't care for it three times a day with a meat snack in the morning and a bedtime serving of pork rinds.

There has to be something inherently evil about any diet that forbids eating bread. Bread--the staff of life, the savior of starving nations, the foundation of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The apostle John referred to Jesus Christ as the bread of life, and we are taught to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread."

I recall a long afternoon on a Cape Cod beach with waves breaking and seagulls flying. My husband and I shared a gallon of spring water and a loaf of fresh baked garlic bread--on of my favorite memories.

I am knowledgeable about the Atkins diet because I once tried it for six days. It began as a foolish matter: wanting to wear a particular garment for a particular occasion. Every day, it was scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast, meat and salad for lunch, and meat and salad for supper. The first two days went quite well. The third day, I removed all the ceramic chickens from my kitchen. The fourth day, a metallic taste, reminiscent of the aftermath of root-canals, lingered in my mouth. No amount of Listerine or brushing could make it go away. Because I am a proper Southern lady, I can't clearly describe what the diet did to to my poor digestive system, but I can tell you it wasn't pretty. The sixth day, I decided that some people love big women, and had a decadent bowl of Raisin Bran.

In a perfect world, the only thing green would be trees and money. Breakfast would be Krispy Kremes (preferably apple-cinnamon, but anything would do), lunch would be brioche with lemon butter and cheesecake, and supper would be ravioli and ice cream.

Personally, I would like to see a statute erected for the lovely carbohydrate. I would plop my well-endowed backside at its base and watch thin people cry as they walk by.

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. John 6:35