Tag Archives: nutrition

Raw Strawberries and Nonfat Yogurt


Just like every morning, just like a prayer to start the day, I got up, put on clothes, had some coffee and went for a run. Slow and easy does the trick, they say.  Good thing. I was slow, and I took it easy. Now I’m home, made more coffee, cut up a big pile of strawberries (they’re gone now; sorry. Can’t share with you), and sat down to yogurt and coffee. The yogurt is plain, Greek, and full of nonfat goodness.  I don’t know how that works, yogurt without the fat. I grin and bear it. Plain yogurt has never been my favorite thing.

In fact, I have never developed a taste for sour food in general. I need to sweeten my lemonade to balance the tartness. I never really liked raw, fresh berries. They’re just annoying. But, if you think about it, this is 1/4 of the palate of taste that I’ve basically rejected (1/5 if you count umami). In my life, I’ve definitely covered the gamut of sweet and salty. But bitter and sour are our basic biological response to poisons, most of which, I’m told are bitter or sour. Sour and bitter are reminders that, every time we drink alcohol, “just a dab’ll do ya.” Any more than a little bit, and you’re doing crazy things: you know, like killing yourself.

Somehow, over 47 and 3/4 years, I got used to eating, let’s say, gravy. It’s made with fat, liquid, a thickener (usually flour) and seasoning. And I love gravy. Especially the kind my grandma made so well, the white gravy with sausage chunks floating in it. Put that on a biscuit, and it’s like heaven for fifteen minutes. Gimme another plate please! But this doesn’t happen with strawberries, or yogurt, or almonds or grapefruits.

But strawberries are sour. Not poisonous; just sour. So are almonds, just a bit. (They’re also poisonous, just a bit, so don’t eat 1,800 of them at once). And grapefruits. Ugh. Nuff said about grapefruits. Although if I wanted to make a spiffy helmet for our cat, a grapefruit skin would be just the thing!

I guess those other foods are better for you than the buttercream frosting on your birthday cake. At least that’s what modern nutrition tells us. Who knows: maybe 200 years in the future, we’ll find out that buttercream is the staple substance that holds our bodies together, without which we just wither up and die and our body parts fly away like corn silk on the wind. But probably not. So I ate my strawberries and unflavored (shudder) yogurt this morning, the same way I have for a few weeks now.

I used to have a big purple terrycloth bathrobe. I stole it from Judi because I look way better in purple than she does. Also, I stole it because came down to my knees, and when I cut off the sassy purple ribbons that held up the sleeves, the terrycloth flowed smoothly down my arms all the way to my wrists. And God, I loved that bathrobe. I wore it around the house every single day for five years, until the elbows and butt wore out, and I had to utter sad words of goodbye. I made Judi it in the trash can so I wouldn’t try to get it out and patch up the butt. And God, I loved that bathrobe. So comfy. So purple.  So… robey!

But I couldn’t wear it every single day. I couldn’t wear it, for example, to work. If I tried, they would have sent me home to change clothes, or maybe to an asylum to change my brain. I wasn’t allowed to wear my robe to the grocery store. Or even to pick up Alex and Daniel from school. My precious purple bathrobe was for home only. Kicking around, reading Harry Potter novels. Making a big pot of vegetable soup. Downloading unlimited music from Napster. (What? It was a thing then!) Playing Sims. But my fluffy purple bathrobe was NOT for getting the mail, or even answering the doorbell to greet the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Except that one time. They never came back.

Maybe that’s what biscuits and gravy are: my fluffy purple bathrobe. They are a food for around the house, but not the restaurant. Besides, it is not easy to take a plastic Ziploc of gravy to work with you, even though it’s comfy.  So at work, which occupies two meals a day, I try my best to eat healthy. I pack about thirty pounds of horse food into the same Ziploc bag I’d rather fill with sausage gravy, and eat that on my breaks. I bring a big can of raw unsalted almonds for protein. As to not touching the day-old pastries in the store? I try my best to stay out of them. I leave my comforts at home and try to be healthy.

And you know what? I’m starting to get used to it. I wonder if taste palates can change, and how much it can vary.  I’ve noticed that the less salt I eat, the more outrageously salty something like potato chips taste. I’m still new to this. Maybe the same thing happens over time with strawberries and yogurt. The more you tolerate their natural flavors, the more you are able to enjoy them? And the more you enjoy them, the more you’re able to enjoy other foods like them… I suspect. I’m a novice at eating healthy. Maybe I’m just making this all up. It took me forty+ years to get to the point where I’d even try to eat this way. Who knows if it’s working. I guess I’ll find out in a few months. In the meantime… Here’s to a healthy colon! Wish me luck.

Freewheelin’ It with Bob Dylan


When I run, I have a rock and roll playlist streaming on my iPhone. Today’s selection included “Highway Sixty One Revisited” by Bob Dylan. This piece was one of his first, after the famous folk singer went electric. The song includes this memorable scene:

Well, Mack the Finger said to Louie the King
‘I got forty red, white and blue shoe strings
And a thousand telephones that don’t ring.
Do you know where I can get rid of these things?’
And Louie the King said, ‘Let me think for a minute, son.’
And he said, ‘Yes, I think this could be easily done:
Just take everything down onto Highway Sixty One.'”

Another fun song he wrote around this same era is “Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat.” I recommend you check it out.

I don’t like Bob Dylan’s voice. He makes me shiver with nausea and indignation. Bob Dylan delivers his music with all the tunefulness of a steroid injected goat. Yet, despite his bleating, his lyrics are filled with vivid characters and imagery. They can be fun, especially if you don’t try not to listen to him and, instead, listen to it. Occasionally the images come a bit too fast and you just drown in his mental thrashing about. I’m thinking of the words from “Like a Rolling Stone”:

You used to ride on a chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat.
Ain’t it hard when you discovered that
He really wasn’t where it’s at,
After he took from you everything he could steal.

Huh?

And of course I’m running with Bob. Yeah. This was a blog about running. At least, that’s where this whole thing began when I started writing this morning. I’m at the end of my second week of actual running. In the early part of the Couch to 5k plan, the online coach calls for you to run for two minutes, and walk for two minutes. I end up running for twelve, and walking for twelve. Then I have a five minute cooling off period. Since I walk around the lake in a big loop, I occasionally spot folks headed the other way. Sometimes I see them twice, which defies some kind of mental logic. How can I see the same old person twice and the same Irish setter twice, and they don’t want something either time? I guess I’ve been working in the service industry too long now.

And the two minute alternations? That’s where I’m at physically. I’m taking it easy, wanting to make a lifestyle of this, sort of like what I’m trying to do with writing. I realize I need to lose a bunch of weight, and working my butt off is the only way I know how to do it.

Oh–believe it or not, I’m still writing, although my schedule has been sketchy. I’m a morning person. I like to wake up, and get things done before my mind or body realize what kind of torture I’m putting them through. I’m not a horrendously evil guy, but on occasion my body thinks so. Still, I’m throwing 750 words, or sometimes just a paragraph or two, onto the computer every day, even if you don’t see anything.

Apparently I have old knees. They’re older than the rest of my body–with the possible exception of my ankles–by about fifteen years. The rest of me ages correctly, but my knees and ankles put up stiff resistance every time I try to move. I guess I could probably do low impact exercise like swimming, but this costs money, and requires squeezing my giant hairy body into swim trunks. Also, I need to face facts: I’m not quite there aerobically. Even my twenty four minute sprint walks tend to heighten my breathing until I’m sometimes not sure I’ll make it home.

Speaking of breathing, did I ever mention I use an inhaler for asthma? It’s not a bad condition like some people, but I do require an inhaler. It can be incredibly tedious to have your lung capacity diminish to the point of each wheeze sounding like Minnie Mouse.

As for diet? I just spent the last forty five minutes chopping up vegetables. I’m trying to make a serious attempt at eating more healthy food. This is going… Well, it could be going better. Most days I do well for breakfast and lunch, then when it gets to be dinnertime, I blow it horribly. For breakfast, banana, cherries and yogurt. For lunch, an assortment of veggies, and a dressing I made from yogurt and some variety of spices. I’m pretty much cutting carbs and fat out of my diet in the form of bread. I guess when it comes to it, I’m trying hard to eat things that improve potassium levels.  Avoiding cramps is a good thing. I ate dried apricots, but they had an awful lot of sugar. The other day I bought some prunes. They remind me of the cabin my grandparents owned in Wright’s Lake, way up in the Sierra Nevadas in California.  Great Grandma always had a big glass jar of dried prunes, and she’d dole them out slowly so we kids wouldn’t poop like seagulls. They were always a delicious snack that I’d really enjoy. Oh, and radishes too. I bought a bunch of radishes.  My Farmer grandparents always seemed to have radishes. They grew them in their huge backyard garden. I bought a few dozen of them today, washed them up and threw them in my veggie tray. I guess that’ll be my healthy dinner.

Then I chased a grumpy Alex away from the computer and began this blog. Nothing is earth-shattering today. I, ran, I shopped, I ate a little, I chopped vegetables, and now I’m writing. Work happens in an hour.

Oh, and Bob Dylan. He ties things together with his free-wheelin’ness. May your days be informed by his advice:

Look out kid!
Don’t matter what you did:
Walk on your tiptoes,
Don’t try “No-Doz”–
Better stay away from those–
That carry around a fire hose,
Keep a clean nose,
Watch the plain clothes.
You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows.

Blessings and donuts to all of you.