Monday, May 01, 2006

Cruel Gruel School

My perfect wife Marie is a lover of books, so it came as no surprise to me, several weeks ago, that I spied her, yet again, curled up on the window couch, her psychedelic half glasses perched low on her nose, focused on fiction. “Is that a new novel?”, I begged, blowing through the living room, packin’ my requisite bucket-o-tools. “It’s not a novel”, she offered, as she turned the book around for me to view the title, “Ultra Metabolism”, by Mark Hyman.

At 56, soon to be 57, and 57, soon to be 58, Marie and I, though we recently both purchased bicycles, have spread out a bit, as it were, what with our love of food, and our “too busy to exercise” lives. Or maybe I should say “too busy to exercise because we are too busy eating” lives. Recently, we had decided to alternate weeks as head chef of the house, and man, we were eatin’ good. One week, I would bake a succulent Harris Ranch sirloin roast, medium rare, with all the trimmings, golden brown sauteed mushrooms, baked potatoes with sour cream and butter, asparagus, a bottle of burgundy, and there we would sit, with our our nearly toppling Fiesta Ware on our laps, watching American Idol. “Ric”, Marie might say, her eyes half rolled back in their sockets, “You’ve outdone yourself again”, and then we would barely say a word as we absorbed a zillion calories and carbs, until we would look upon each other some very short minutes later and utter, almost in unison, “Oh man, I’m stuffed”.

The next week, Marie would offer her unparalleled spaghetti and meatballs, giant perfect plates of Pasta and the most delicious and humongus garlicky meat balls ever devised, and with red sauce dripping down our gluttonous chins, we would sop up every last drop of sauce on our plates with dozens of buttered slices of Grand Central Bakery rosemary baguette, a bakery, which, unfortunately, is 2.275 minutes walking distance from our home. Add a nice big fresh green salad to this, loaded with ranch, baby, you got a meal.

And I must mention that, recently, one of us, I won’t say who, has discovered the joy of downing an entire pint of Dove Triple Chocolate Ice Cream, the one that offers a half-inch or so of chocolate ganache spread over the entire top of the pint, just in case you need more chocolate.

"What the heck is “ultra metabolism”" I asked Marie, propping my tool bucket on the coffee table. Marie spoke, “I think this guy really has some good things to say, honey, I’m doing some research. We both know we have to eat better and exercise more, for our health, as we get older, and this concept of firing up one’s metabolism, by, for example, eating only fresh foods, and no high fructose corn syrup, which is in so many things, is something we need to look at.”

A few days later, The Boss announced that we would be moving on to a different way of eating, and then, she went shoppin’. Many hours later, Marie returned home with one hell of a lot of groceries, and a serious game plan. As I helped her bring in the groceries, I snooped into the bags, where I saw everything from a ton of fresh fruit and vegetables to flax seeds and soy yogurt. As we put things away, Marie educated me further in the concept of super metabolism, and as I reached for my 5th cup of coffee, suggested that, instead, I might want to taste some green tea. We sat on the porch and discussed her plan, and I must say, I really enjoyed the green tea.

For the next few hours, the kitchen was abuzz with the sounds and smells of somebody cookin’ up a storm. Working in my office, I nearly salivated on my keyboard as the fragrances of sauteing garlic and onion and spices wafted their way upstairs. I finally went down to see how things were going. Marie was busy putting up foods for the coming week, entrees, salads, breakfasts, and said, “We’re going to start with Amaranth grain for breakfast, sweetie, made with soy milk and sliced apples. I’ll put it in this container, and when you come down in the morning, just take out about 2/3 of a cup, and have it for breakfast. Tonight, we’re having corn tortillas topped with a combination of fresh ingredients, veggies, salsa, other stuff”. Dinner was a huge hit, absolutely delicious, and I was perfectly content as we went to bed, not stuffed, and looking forward to the next eating adventure, as we dove headlong into heating up our metabolism.

When I awoke, I walked the dogs, took a few pills, and headed for the fridge, all smiley and chipper and positive, like that dufus in the Viagara commercial. I scooped out my 2/3 cup of breakfast, which looked sorta like Malt-o-meal, and willingly took a nice big bite.

I dunno, maybe it’s the soy milk, but the Amaranth Gruel For Breakfast, uh, it fairly sucks. But I ate it down, and then Marie ate hers, and then we agreed that eating it was well, basically, a gag fest. And then, we agreed to eat it for two more days, until it was gone.

On the second day of eating Marie’s Ultra Metabolism Amaranth Delight, Marie said, “Did you have your Amaranth?” “Yep”, I announced proudly, and she said, ‘I had mine too, and, you know, after this, I think we might be able to survive Armageddon, you know, since we can eat anything.”

We’re on to fresh fruit soy yogurt smoothies for breakfast now, which are, thankfully, really tasty. I have a shopping list for today, handed over this morning by my lovely wife, which I haven’t had a chance to look at yet. Call me crazy, but I have a hunch it doesn’t include any additional Amaranth.

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