Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Can't Spell 'Diet' Without It

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.


  1. Brilliant post ... love this (and your blog).

  2. Never trust a nutritionist who suddenly drops dead. Well, I guess at that point you wouldn't anyway. Hmm.

    And I'm with ya on gin being under appreciated. Not when I'm out on the town, but overall. I like a nice Gibson (cocktail onions) made with Hendricks's Gin. Even though they suggest a martini with a slice of cucumber, which is nice. If I'm doing olives then I want Bombay Sapphire.

    Now I'm thirsty.

  3. It's like the old joke: What do you call a hundred dead nutritionists at the bottom of the river?

    A good start.

    Or is that lawyers? Whatever. It works either way.

  4. I'm often surprised by how many times people come in and ask us for a set of books that tells them what to eat based on their blood type. I give food a lot of credit. It is delicious. It is soothing. But aware of blood types? Too scifi for me. The closest I want to come to scife and food is those Dippin' Dots ice cream, thank you very much.

  5. I think being hot dog tolerant would be awesome. I would really like to be Corona Light tolerant...Oh, and Rondele Herbal Cheese spread.... Damn, now I'm hungry.

  6. Personally, I'm going to keep having my blood tested until someone tells me I am Chardonnay and Brie tolerant because that would be awesome!

  7. Food tolerant? I want someone to come up with a test to make me kid tolerant....

  8. Great story. Well told! :)

    Good eating habits and a bit of exercise will do most people a world of good better than any magic "diet".

  9. The bit about the hot dogs is priceless!

    I love how people will blame anything on their weight situation but - food allergies? Glad she reached a sane conclusion at the end. Sorry about the dead nutritionist. Hope it wasn't anything she ate!

  10. Jeez, who was the nutritionist in for these two? Dr. Oscar Meyer?

    I had to go through that battery of tests for celiac (about 20 people on my mother's side have it). Not fun. And when you have ADD, it's impossible not to make crap up... literally.

    And the "hot dog tolerant" comment had me shooting an Oreo cookie out my nose.

  11. Hot dog tolerant? Wow. I've heard everything now!

  12. "since Madonna really was a virgin"

    This one is my favorite. Reminds me when "Big Hair" was all one needed to make the rest of the body look skinny.

  13. I am not a nutritionist, nor do I play one on tv. It is a little known fact that if you eat standing up you lose weight. If you eat directly out of the refrigerator - you actually lose weight (all that bending and reaching expends calories). This is why we have nary the chair in my house.

    Also...I subscribe to the Vodka diet. Soup and Salad = martini with extra olives.

  14. Never trust a doctor whose office plants have died.


    Did Vodka Mom bring the martini? She owes me big time....

  15. A rare roast beef sandwich, a coke, a hostess cupcake, vodka AND gin = 89 years of awesome.

    Where's my fucking cupcake?

  16. I personally think that nutritionists and their whole industry are a big stinkin sham. I suppose that seriously overweight or malnurrished people need someone to talk to them about nutrition...but can't that be their regular doc?

    Also, thought you would like to know that I posted about Oct. 2 on MY blog (

    Great post!!

  17. This is a fantastic post! I have to say, I'm a pretty big fan of Tanqueray myself

  18. Um, "potato juice" is my new favorite term.

    Also? I love you.

  19. yeah, that's gotta be about the stupidest piece of nutritional wisdom I've ever heard. What ever happened to eating a balanced diet? Like you said, I think it's the nutritionist justifying his outrageous fee. :-) But, hey, you tell it really funny.

  20. That friend of yours that can eat anything? That would be my husband and two kids.

    That friend of yours that was eating Lamb all the time so that she could lose weight? Yeah that would be me. I have tried every diet in my life, and completely destroyed any metabolism in the process. So now I am trying exercising, and coming to terms with the fact that I love food too much to ever be a size 8 again.

    Great post, although the baby sheep breath joke will come to mind the next time I try and eat a Gyro.

  21. LMFAO!!!!! That is priceless. although I will admit to being in the legions of people who are willing to try almost ANYTHING to lose weight. If that meant hot dogs (which I hate) for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I would probably do it.

    I am shameless. And will probably drop dead one of these days myself from all the fad dieting. Eh, ya know, what can you do?

  22. You are saying that someone paid money to have someone say that with whatever food makes them gain weight the next day they are allergic to and then must avoid said food???

    Water retention is from water intake...and if you are on your period (females) your weight can fluctuate up and down within 5 pounds!?

    Drop dead is a good assumption...someone felt so stupid for believing that they wanted to blame someone...

  23. HEH! Her nutritionist dropped dead. My nutritionist is about to be Michael Thurmond. Starting Sunday. WEET. I hope he doesn't drop dead soon!

  24. Didn't the Atkins guy die of a heart attack?

    There's a case against diets, anyway.


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