Pick it, Catch it or Milk it


‘Fake Food’ Is Probably Why You Are Fat




If you exercise properly and often, and you are still overweight, it may be your diet that is the problem. Portion control and what you eat are key factors for weight gain. Although exercise is essential for fitness and cardiovascular health, it is the food you eat that makes people obese.

Proponents of primal diets insist that our species, Homo sapiens, evolved over the millennia as omnivores. Until a short few thousand years ago, a mere page in our history book, our ancestors were foragers, not farmers. A root, some leaves, maybe a frog, might be all they would eat in a day. They hunted when they could or ate carrion when they found it. Oona and Thag were lean and small, and free of disease. None of them were overweight. Diabetes didn’t exist.

Grain farming came late in the family history. We haven’t had time to evolve for a high-calorie, grain-based diet. Grains, whole or refined, are foreign to our metabolism. Our body can digest them only if they are cooked, but once cooked the human gut processes grain carbohydrates too well. Bread, beer and pasta, as delicious as they are, were the first ‘fake’ foods to arrive at the table.

Modern food scientists think they can tinker some more. Highly processed food is inexpensive to produce and store. Their goal is to create profitable food. Tasty food. It needn’t be nutritious or healthy. We got snacks instead of sustenence.




Nope. Highly processed. Mostly fake. There are better choices.


And so for the last century we’ve gorged on repurposed lamp fuel (Crisco) and genetically modified animal feed (Canola). High-fructose corn syrup and margarine cannot be produced by nature. Only now, after years of consumption, do we suspect a correlation between these ‘fake foods’ and the obesity-diabetes epidemic.

My grandmother always said “you are what you eat.” She shopped for fresh food every day. Fish, meat, nuts, greens, fruit and potatoes were served at her table. As kids she never gave us Coke or chips (“garbage!”). My grandparents were lean people because they ate well. Abuela cooked her food every day. “Pick it, Catch it or Milk it” she intoned. I’ve (mostly) followed her advice. I’m in my fifties now and have never been fat. I don’t want to be a high-fructose blob.




Totally fake. Unnatural. Extruded. Chemical.


Think about it. Are you fatter than your grandparents? If so, are you eating a different diet than them? How much of your food is artifical? Does the list of ingredients in your pre-processed food say “modified,” “hydrogenated” or “BHT?” Do the additives require a degree in organic chemistry to decipher?

Eat less prepared food. Stop drinking beer. Avoid the fakes. Cook your own meals. You will loose weight.



Inhale Your Food!

Last night we had a late dinner. My wife and I each thought the other was going to cook. It was well past six o’clock, she wasn’t home and I was famished. The chicken thighs weren’t going to cook themselves, so I rolled up my sleeves and decided to make a quick chicken potpie.

I was really, really hungry when I started, yet later as I sautéed the onions and chicken, I realized this hunger was gone.  When I poured some wine into the pan to dissolve the fond, I understood I was enjoying cooking the food  as if I was eating it. I was literally inhaling my dinner. Later, when my wife came home and we sat down, I ate at a liesurely pace and sipped a nice red zin.


Perhaps cooking is a kind of eating. The perfumes of bubbly sauce and toasty phyllo crust were already consumed by the time I took my chair. And thus my theory from the stove: cooking IS eating. And the corollary: eating packaged or ‘fast’ food eliminates this ‘pre-eating’ and you consume MORE food. We all know that McDonalds makes you fat, but if you cooked your own burgers, you would eat less. By having fast food hot and ready, you pounce. And  this goes for at-home ‘heat-and-serve.’ I can tell you from personal experience I eat less of my homemade grilled pizza than I do a Dijourno’s frozen pizza. I can wolf down one of those cheesy torture wheels in ten minutes.

Ever hear of Jamie Oliver, the British cook? I was thumbing through his cookbook, Jamie’s Food Revolution, this past week. Oliver says



“We have a modern-day war on our hands now, and it’s over the epidemic of bad health and the rise of obesity. The question is, do we wait until it’s too late, or do we do something about it now?  […] we all need to know how to cook simple, nutritious, economical, tasty and hearty food. And once we have this knowledge, we should pass it on through friends, family and the workplace to keep that cycle of knowledge alive”

Of course, Oliver wants us to pass on his recipes, hoping people buy more of his book, but I see his point. We’re getting fatter for many reasons: readily available, high-calorie food; low levels of physical activity; and malignant ‘fake food’ ingredients. But we’ve also lost the art of good cooking.

Did anyone ever teach you to cook? If no, would you be willing to learn? You might want to start with Oliver’s book. It’s got wonderful, simple recipes of the things your grandma may have made: salads, Sunday roasts, vegetables, easy desserts and soups.

Bon appétit mes amis!

(Enjoy your meal, my friends!)