Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chew On This

So it turns out that the staple of my diet for the last almost fifty years has actually been bad for me. I am talking about breakfast cereals.

When I was a kid, most of their names started with “sugar” – Sugar Pops, Sugar Smacks… well there was Frosted Flakes. The ones that didn’t have sugar I put sugar on by the teaspoon full; often several.

Now I know that most of these cereals are carbohydrates, a form of sugar itself. So sugar plus sugar; well it is a recipe for disaster. My blood sugar is dangerously close to the diabetic cutoff. So a few years ago I cut out sugar quite radically. Stopped putting it on things like cereal and coffee; stopped drinking pop. We had one of those sugar dispensers like you see in diners. I would fill that think up about once a week. We don’t even have it any more.

An interesting thing happened – I started to lose my taste for sweet things. Now some cakes and candies look disgustingly sweet; unappetizing almost. I can easily pass up doughnuts or cake. I like ice cream but I don’t need it very often. My “desire” for sugar has dropped… and as a result, so has my weight.

But I still have to eat something for breakfast, I cannot go without breakfast. The way it was explained to me is that if fiber is added to carbohydrate, the absorption rate is reduced. So I look for cereals now that are high in fiber. But there is a problem: high fiber cereals like Shredded Wheat, Raisin Bran, Grape Nuts, ALL taste like cardboard. I am getting tired of eating cardboard for breakfast – very tired.

There are some better tasting nutritious cereals out there but damn, they charge a hell of a lot of money for a tiny box. My jaw gets tired chewing this stuff sufficiently so I can swallow it. I probably burn up a quarter of my daily calories simply chewing this stuff.

In college I loved breakfast. My buddy Scott and I were the first ones in line at the dorm cafeteria every morning. We would have scrambled eggs, sausage, and stacks of pancakes with syrup. But then I was tearing around campus in a bike and partying all night. I made good use of my calories.

Now I am pondering at what point I can be considered “elderly”. And I am reduced to eating cardboard. Well, one advantage for an old guy… it keeps me “regular”.

1 comment:

Mary Witzl said...

Get some wheat germ, oats, and organic raisins. Toast some pecans, add some dried blueberries. Mix all together, add a little cinnamon, and you'll have the most delicious and nutritious cardboard you've ever tasted. When you want to go wild, have some chopped up bananas and a squirt of honey on it with your non-fat milk.

I cut out sugar too and was amazed at how my tolerance for it went down. I couldn't eat a bowl of Sugar Pops to save my soul right now and I have to cut the odd Snickers bar I buy in half. Staying a healthy old thing is a real challenge, but so's life in general.