What and how you eat
    The Food Pyramid
    Counting calories: a key to diet literacy
    Your activity level
    The best form of exercise
    Chart your weight
    Sustainable agriculture
    Medical condition
    On hunger
    On eating out
    On cooking
    On addiction
    Food as love
    Spiritual Vegetarianism
    On temptation and resolve
    Six months report
    Dieting as meditation
 Grapevine Revisited
 Christmas Letter

This website is now published on my mobileme account. Any opinions expressed, however, are totally my responsibility.

The original website was published through the courtesy of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Jim Andris, Sept. 17, 2003.

What and how you eat

There are only just a few skills you need to eat right. By eating right, I mean being able to integrate your diet into your social and personal life with a minimum of difficulty and discontinuity and a maximum of enjoyment and healthy effect. Eating should be easy and natural and help us to live better lives. But eating right isn't easy and natural for many of us. Not only that, but there are a bewildering array of diets to choose from.

Basically, one can group diets into these categories: low carb diets (e.g. Atkins), low fat diets (e.g. Ornish), eat a certain proportion of carbs, fats, and protein (e.g. Zone), eating the "right" carbs and fats (e.g. South Park), counting points e.g. Weight Watchers) and all you want of a certain food (e.g. cabbage soup). And there are probably others. To be fair, these diets also add many other points about the importance of exercise, good nutrition, and getting support from friends and fellow dieters.

I'm not qualified to discuss the pros and cons of these various diets. You will find your advocates and opponents for each of them. However, for me, the biggest drawback for them all is that they actually don't make eating easy and natural. Have you ever spent a lot of time with an Atkins devotee? My brother is one. He has lost 89 pounds on this diet. This is amazing, and he really needed to loose the weight. I am grateful that he found it. But . . . All he does is talk about carbs. Going to have this, can't have this. No pie for him. No cake. Eggs and bacon. Bless his heart, I know he needs to do it, but this drives me nuts. It turns dessert and coffee into a chore.

And then there's the low fat dieter. They're actually terrified of fat. No chicken skin, no avocados in salad, no fried foods. If you made anything they want to know what you put in it. What kind of fat? How much? And weight watchers. They have to buy and measure everything. It's expensive. I have another friend who lost all his weight and kept it off for years. Still is thin. Still is going to his weight watchers meetings, following his program, still is buying his frozen meals. Am I going to tell him this is a problem? Of course not. But does this make eating easy and natural? I don't think so.

And there's also the one that I'm following: eat less, become calorie literate, exercise more, keep track of your weight. I want to tell you about this diet that I have developed, because I think that it does what all the others don't: it makes eating easy and natural. Well, that isn't quite honest. Along the way, I've had to learn to fight hunger, temptation, a tendency to sloth, and "sticks and stones" from some well-meaning friends. But my diet is now easier and more natural. Why? It's easier because I don't have to say "no" to any food or food combination forever, even though I do have to be intelligent and pick and choose when I will have this or that. And it's more natural because I am eating more and more natural foods all the time.

And, actually, it occurs to me that this might not be exactly the right diet for you. But the point is, it is my diet, and I am responsible finally for what I eat, not weight watchers, or Atkins, or Ornish. Maybe reading this will help you to develop your very own personal diet that suits your needs. We definitely are not all the same, even in the same family. We are individuals. We have our idiosyncracies. We need tailored clothes and tailored diets, just for us. And when we love ourselves, we make sure that these needs are met.