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Ode to Andy Rooney and Real Food

Today I am channeling Andy Rooney. The curmudgeonly, judgmental, annoyed tone will likely come through. I am slapping on some fake, bushy eyebrows and typing. Here we go…

Do you know what I hate? I hate fake food. Look at fake ice cream. I don’t know why anyone would want to eat low-fat, artificially sweetened ice cream. People buy it so they can eat more of it and not feel guilty – but why would you want to eat MORE of something that tastes worse? Give me a small portion of the real stuff any day over a bucket of Skinny Cow. (I have friends swear to me that Skinny Cow is delicious and they can’t taste the difference. These are the same friends that have been eating low-fat, fake food so long that they no longer remember what the real stuff tastes like.)

By most Americans’ standards, I have a horrible diet. I use a lot of butter and oil in my cooking. I love cheese. I don’t cut the fat off my meat.  Chocolate, wine, bread… you name it- I eat it. The caveat? It has to be real. You mention aspartame and I start to twitch.

The great thing about real foods is that you need less of them. Because of their richness, you only need so much before it becomes, well, too much. (Sure, I have finished a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in one sitting, but I paid for it the next day. It just doesn’t feel great.) In college I found myself  surrounded by like-minded young women trying to avoid the Freshman 15. I filled my face with low-fat pretzels and sugar-free frozen yogurt. But the more of that stuff I ate, the more I ate. None of it really hit the spot and I couldn’t figure out why. But when I allowed myself to indulge in the richness of a real dessert, I was actually able to stop at a couple of bites. Eating one of the diet “healthy” cookies just was never enough.

So instead of training our bodies to crave quantity, can we start training them to crave quality? Can we reverse the “more is more” mindset and instead allow ourselves the pleasure of eating REAL food? Good food? Fatty food? Sweet food? But just eat less of it?

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