My mom is Judy, the foodie. She is the Mr. Yuk of sodium nitrates, and high fructose corn syrup. I think she’d rather I marry a non-Jewish woman than have me eat anything with partially hydrogenated oils.
I want to make my mom proud but it’s easier to invite your buddies out for beer and wings than beer and quinoa.
I live with a double consciousnesses of knowing that my food choices are informed by the omnipresent judgmental shadow of Judy, the foodie, the health food crusader who hasn’t eaten red meat since ‘72. She is the baby boomer carrying reusable grocery bags to the farmer’s market where she buys produce like jicama,persimmons, and watermelon radishes. When I visit she feeds me parsnips.
I am very lucky Judy cooked nutritious home made meals five nights a week. I just didn’t see it that way. While she baked lemon pepper chicken and stir fried Chinese vegetables, simmered Thai coconut bowls, and boiled tortellini, I wanted out.
“F*ck salmon croquettes!” I pouted.
Red meat wasn’t allowed in our house. If I was lucky I could sneak in a Stouffer’s Pepperoni Pizza. I waited for the day when I could feed my insatiable appetite for frozen pepperoni.
At age 16, I spent a summer living with my Aunt Barb and Uncle Larry in San Diego. I found refuge in carne asada, and prime rib. I ate meat with meat with a side of meat. I spent so much time in the men’s room you could’ve easily renamed it “Elliot.”
I became self diagnosed with Irritiable Bowel Syndrome. Every time I ate red meat, especially coupled with cheese, I suffered physical pain. Though I did get my summer reading done rather quickly.
While in the midst of my beef binge, I gave up chicken, my first true love. I don’t like to get into it, but there were a few troublesome experiences that culminated in a nightmare I had during which I awoke to find a flock of chickens pecking at me. I did not eat chicken from August of 2000 through my freshman year of college in 2004.
In college I ate like a monster. My buddies and I nightly trecked up the hill to Crown College at UC Santa Cruz for late night cheeseburgers and Sierra Mist, and ice cream and cookies because we weren’t under the influence of anything.
I even recorded a Youtube video about my love for Gummy Bears: Gummy Bears
Around this time Judy, the foodie, self-published “The I’m Out on My Own for the First Time Cookbook,” to inspire young people to eat healthy by suggesting affordable and nutritious meals. I never opened her cookbook. When I studied abroad in Vancouver all I kept in my house were hot dogs and oatmeal.
Judy, the foodie, warned me. “Watch what you eat.”
As I became further entrenched into the dark underbelly of spicy salamis, my mom’s diet shifted further to the left. She read a book by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn who prescribed a clinically proven diet to prevent heart disease: no meat, and no oils. Bill Clinton followed the diet first helping convince my Uncle Larry, Aunt Janice and Uncle Rich. Judy the foodie ate some oils but said goodbye to chicken and fish. Judy, and the rest of my relatives on the diet say they feel their energy has increased and since starting the diet, no one has suffered a heart attack.
Last Sunday I watched Sunya Gupta’s special report on 60 Minutes addressing America’s sugar epidemic placing much of the blame on the ubiquity of high fructose corn syrup Toxicity of Sugar Judy, the foodie, brainwashed CNN’s Sunya Gupta!
Maybe Judy, the foodie, had been right all along. I thought about it. I never got IBS from a parsnip.
It is a process to change your eating habits. It happens gradually. I am now a closeted healthy eater. I’m a 147lb IBS survivor who eats Kashi and brussel sprouts. I no longer live by the promise that a “Jersey Mikes is coming soon.”
I’m also a problem solver. I’ve had trouble sleeping the last few nights. I wake up in the middle of the night, drink pineapple juice and then fall asleep. It’s nice falling asleep with the taste of fresh pineapple to guide me into dreamland.
I still drink and eat chicken wings because I’m a guy, but I try not to buy snacks with high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils.
I’ve recently discovered turkey pepperoni, a step in the right direction even if the pepperoni is filled with sodium nitrates. I’m trying, but sodium is still my favorite nitrate.