De-Linking Foods


UNITED STATES—A bagel and lox just go together like shoes and socks. Right? But some of the freer and more flamboyant spirits to roam the earth have questioned wearing socks. Or even shoes. Likewise, when maneuvering famous food duos like bagels and lox that permeate food culture and are universally wedded in the popular appetite, learn to go against the grain and separate beloved food items so you can enjoy them while pursuing a better shape.

You should have a bagel OR lox, but not a bagel and lox. A bagel can be your one bread a day—my optimum measure for bread consumption. If you want to have lox, have it by itself and enjoy the delicacy of salted smoked salmon.

This is what it means to de-link: break up these duos received from tradition and swaddled in heartwarming notions of “comfort food”—which often spell digestive discomfort.

Cookies and milk is another renowned “inseparable” duo. What many kids leave out for Santa Claus every Christmas has to be separated. I mean look at what all the cookies and milk have done to Santa Claus’ waistline. If you’re gonna have a cookie, have a cookie. If you’re gonna have milk, have milk.

Cookies alone are solid food, and one of my diet precepts is to have no beverage with meals. Ideally, drink liquids 30 minutes before or after eating—since liquid dilutes digestive juices and slows digestion. And it is rapid digestion, aided by ample fresh fruits and veggies that accelerate getting in better shape as well as having increased energy.

A cookie by itself or milk by itself will increase enjoyment and speed digestion. A cookie can be good for the soul (of course it will constitute your bread-a-day). But it’s not easy to have a glass of milk alone because the idea of milk and cookie is so ingrained. Ditto cereal and milk—another prime candidates to de-link. This prominent feature in the American diet scape gets three strikes: it’s costly, retards digestion and gets the day off to a sluggish start.

Why give Kellogg’s or General Mills a premium price to add chemicals and myriad chemicals to your body? I’m queasy about cereal on economic grounds as well as nutritional. According to Wikipedia, there is a gross 40-45% profit margin on cereals (Wikipedia).

As for the nutritional component, the website devoted to Frosted Mini-Wheats epitomizes many cereals’ touts, declaring itself, “The reigning champ of whole grains and fiber.”  Meanwhile, read the label and you will learn that each serving is 20% sugar, eleven out of the 54 grams recommended serving. The whole grain and fiber argument for most cereals like the seaweed argument for eating ice-cream.

Milk, too, rides the healthy high horse into our shopping basket, at a high cost. Kids love it, and it’s a great over-the-counter sedative. But the teeth of kids who are unsophisticated in dental hygiene (i.e. don’t brush) are vulnerable to milk as sugar. Still, I want people to enjoy what they like; at the end of the day if you really like milk its best enjoyed solo.

Mac and cheese is another duo ripe for a break-up. Tell you what, if you like the macaroni pasta have, it solo. As for cheese, enjoy it with fruit, European style, or in sliced moderation smothered in veggies. Speaking of cheese, pizza is an ungodly duo all by itself, another Pavlovian people pleaser. Just its name brings a smile to hearts young and old, and yet it is basically bread festooned with the most baroque set of ingredients to stretch omnivorous to its outer limits. What to do with pizza?

Try the garbage can. I truly think there are times to depose this deeply instilled thing about not wasting foods. In lieu of the garbage, try my new recipe: Pizza Paella

1) Scrape of the toppings off a pizza in to a pot. Discard the pizza crust.

2) Add two cups of water. Place pot and its contents on medium stove temperature.

3) Add diced veggies to your liking. Onion, bell pepper or tomatoes suggested. After the mix boils, place tilted lid on top, and lower to a simmer for 10 minutes or so.

What you’ll have will be tasty and not create too much intestinal havoc. At the end of the day, learn to de-link and question these powerfully enticing duos inherited from our own nutritional heritage, and you will be happier and have more money in your pocket, to keep spreading the happiness. Humorist Grady Miller is the author of “Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet,” available on Kindle.

By Grady Miller