A co-worker and I were once returning from a meeting when, overwhelmed by the munchies, he asked me to pull over at a 7-Eleven. He needed a hot dog, he said, because he had gone to a nutritionist who drew some blood, analyzed it and determined that his body chemistry made him "hot dog tolerant."
After I stopped the Slurpee from shooting out of my nose, he explained that it was something about his body reacting extremely well to the "protein" and burning it at a highly efficient rate so he didn't gain weight. Eating a wiener, for him, would be like pumping the highest grade octane gas into your car.
Considering the hot dogs looked like they had been on that roller grill since Madonna really was a virgin, I think he had another kind of gas coming.
I forgot about this until sometime ago a friend, in an effort to improve her health and drop a few pounds, consulted a nutritionist who drew some blood, ran some tests and gave her a thick binder full of test results along with a list of foods. Try one food for a few days, record how your body reacted to it (heartburn, pus-filled boils, speaking in tongues, etc.) and how much you weighed the next day. Bad reaction and/or weight gain -- never eat that food again! Your body is having a type of allergic reaction to it, causing water retention, battles within the autoimmune system and justification of the nutritionist's exorbitant fee.
I'm no scientist, and I certainly don't pretend to be one on this blog, but I think you'll agree with me when I say "What the flock?"
(Literary alert: "Flock" is foreshadowing.)
This seems like a good way to test for food allergies and conditions like celiac disease, but is it the most cost-effective way for someone who is otherwise healthy and happy to get into some skinny jeans?
My doubts grew when my friend ate nothing but lamb for lunch and dinner. For about three months straight.
OK, lamb may not top your list of diet foods but I give the nutritionist credit here. When your dog has skin or stomach issues, one of the first things many vets recommend is a switch to a lamb-and-rice based food. It's either that lamb is a kinder, gentler meat or just that most dogs -- and humans except for gyro fanatics -- don't normally eat much lamb so it's a good control to test if their normal food is making them sick. So from me -- two paws up!
Then there were the martinis. Apparently all kinds of wines made my pal gain weight, but a good stiff Bombay Sapphire martini (hold the olive -- please) did not add to the scales. I was glad to hear that because I feel gin is highly under-appreciated by today's Grey Goose swilling masses (apologies to Vodka Mom and Aunt Becky -- you know I'd hit the potato juice with you two any time). Other than that, I was a tad concerned about the pile of empties I noticed in her recycling bin.
This went on for months, by which time my friend should have gone through the list and determined a wide variety of good and bad eats for her. Unfortunately, every few days, tired of baby-sheep breath and juniper-scented hangovers, she snuck in a pizza or helping of nachos and had to start from the top of that list again.
Then, one day, it stopped. No more obscure ancient grains to try or eating Food A only after digesting Food B before taking an intravenous hit of Food C in puree form. She was back to normal, but with a simple commitment to more fruits and veggies, less processed foods and regular exercise.
I was proud of her because, while I too often stray from the good food path, deep down I know those are all right things to do to maintain a healthy life.
What turned her around, you ask?
Publicly, she'll say it was the long-term restrictions and the boredom of the diet and the price of the program.
Privately, though, it might have had something to do with her nutritionist suddenly dropping dead.
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