I love Easter. I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, too. It’s just the weeks after the holidays that are a problem.
There is one thing that all these events have in common. Food. Lots of food. Since I try to be as polite as possible, I would never dream of offending anyone by not eating all the great food people spend so much time making for holidays. Lots of food.
This turns out to be a like staying out on the beach too long or staying up that extra hour even though you know you have to go to work the next morning — it feels good at the time, but you end up paying for it later.
I know that this week many people will be like me and will be trying to get rid of the extra calories we built up over the weekend. So I did a little research. Here are our options, according to the latest diet crazes:
• The Paleo Diet. The concept here is that we should all eat lots and lots of protein and stay away from carbohydrates and other problem foods. This is the way cavemen ate, which for some reason seems to be a good thing. Since there no longer are wooly mammoths around, we’ll just have to do with steak and hamburger.
Of course, cavemen are pretty much extinct. In fact, scientists who know about this kind of thing say most of them lived to be only about 30 years old or so, which is hardly a ringing endorsement for a red meat diet. Maybe they were skinny, but it probably was because they spent half their time running away from sabre-tooth tigers and other scary creatures.
• The Potato Diet. Hah! You thought potatoes and other carbs were bad for you! Not so fast, caveman. Recent research shows potatoes and other starchy foods actually are great for losing weight. They help burn calories, get rid of hunger pains, cure cancer — why, a few good spuds apparently will do everything for you except maybe change the oil in your car. So on this diet you eat more, not less, carbs.
• The Intermittent Diet. This is a binge-purge sort of diet, which means it should appeal to a large number of Americans. The idea is you eat what you want for five days, then for two days you fast. You might think that would be hard on your system, but think of it as a mix between Buddhist monks and ancient Romans. The Romans ate until they got sick, the monks fast all the time. I suggest you eat meat and potatoes for five days before you fast.
• The Genotype Diet. This is a big deal, mainly because Oprah Winfrey said it worked for her and if Oprah says it, then it must be true. This one is based on the idea that your genetics determine what kind of food you should eat. I am hoping my genetics say I should eat large quantities of sugar and salt. Somehow I guess I would end up with Brussels sprouts and lima beans. I don’t think I really want to know.
I just don’t know which way to go. All fresh foods? I think that the older you get, you should eat foods high in preservatives so your body will be preserved longer. Vegetarian? That might work as far as weight, but I would be a grouchy, unhappy mental patient within a few weeks. Swear off sugar for the rest of my life? I’ve done that numerous times. Don’t eat so much over holidays? What, and insult my friends who make all that food? That certainly would be selfish. Exercise a lot more to make up for my calorie intake? That’s probably a good idea, except I don’t want to use up all my heartbeats prematurely. I’d like to save some of them up for when I’m older and I really need them.
I guess I’ll end up doing what I always do — just say, “You only live once,” and have someone pass the mashed potatoes and chocolate around for another helping. The potatoes are back in style, and I figure if I wait long enough sugar will be a good thing again, too. I just consider myself ahead of my time.
David Lindeman’s column runs every other Monday in the Troy Daily News.