The Cheerful Oncologist

In addition to heart disease, hypertension, cancer and diabetes, obesity has been linked to sleep apnea, job absenteeism, bad breath, even isolated findings such as an increased risk of dying from prostate cancer after definitive treatment.

Wouldn’t most of us agree that it is in our best health interests to keep our weight down? Okay, and wouldn’t all of us agree that we gain weight by putting things inside of our mouths and then swallowing them? And don’t these things contain nutrients that, if swallowed in excess of what is needed for metabolism, are stored in our bodies as adipose tissue, thus leading to the health problem called obesity?

Now, here’s the key point – how do we perceive the things we put in our mouths? As they touch the taste buds, do they bring us pleasure? Would we be thrilled to put items such as a handful of dandelion leaves in there, or a wad of Elmer’s Glue, or maybe a nice cupful of Fido’s kibble?

You see what I mean? We basically prefer swallowing stuff that our taste buds find delectable, and things that contain fat or carbohydrates (called “food”) are what we swoon over. If we’re fighting the war on obesity, junk food is our Mata Hari, ready to betray us for a few moments of ecstasy. I ought to know – I’ve been double-crossed plenty of times and have only myself to blame, although I still think it was worth the extra flab.

Well, it’s time to put an end to this whoring around. I need to start treating my taste buds with more dignity and stop seducing them with every high fat, high fructose corn syrup temptress that happens to end up in my pantry. I now raise my right hand and pledge the following:

Resolution No. 2: Quit abusing the privilege of having a magnificent set of taste buds.

I will not eat ice cream, no matter what new flavors come out from Ben & Jerrys – those traitors.

I will not eat cheese-infused potato chips, even if I just happen to be on the couch and a rerun of “I Love Lucy” comes on.

I will not drink sugary sodas, no matter how many advertisements I see suggesting that I am a geek and a loser for avoiding them.

I will not put the following on my prime rib: butter, sour cream, blue cheese, bacon, lard, Starbucks Java Chip ice cream or fried brains. In fact, I will eschew red meat like a country parson strolling past a darkened doorway on Bourbon Street.

I will not eat cupcakes, pie, cookies, pizza, birthday cake nor will I open those little golden boxes from Godiva (which by the way are the closest thing one can get to the food of the Gods – not that I would know personally).

Say, we’re off to a decent start and the new year hasn’t even arrived yet! I think I’ll crank it up and bring another resolution tomorrow – a tetchy one, at that.

Comments

  1. #1 Kim
    December 27, 2007

    Oh well, I didn’t want those homemade Christmas cookies anyway.

    Seriously, while my co-workers are paying $78 a week to a weight loss specialist physician for monitoring while on an 800 calorie a day diet, I stopped eating all sugar, cranked up my vege intake (which I love!) and lost six pounds in two weeks. No exercise involved.

    Then Christmas came. But I’ve had my fill and I’ll be with ya on Resolution Number Two.

    Shoot me an email if you get tempted to eat and I’ll talk you out of it! : D

  2. #2 ak
    December 27, 2007

    The more prostate cancer awareness programs the better. Athletes can make a difference: http://www.laprp.com/article.php?aid=248 and can help bring information about prostate cancer treatments. Because it is not just obesity that brings fast death from prostate cancer. The same is true of late diagnosis.

  3. #3 Janne
    December 28, 2007

    Good start, wrong conclusion. The problem isn’t what you put in your mouth, but how much. When me and my wife moved in together here in Japan I quickly learned to eat in a very different way, and as a result lost quite a lot of weight. Oh, I eat chips, and ice cream, and chocolates, and red meat (never liked soda).

    But I eat a lot less at a time.

    When we eat chips, we have perhaps three each – not bags, individual chips. We often have chocolate after dinner (one piece each) or ice cream (share one small cup).

    Steak dinner is great as always. Of course, we have about 80-100g per person of actual meat, with most of the meal being sauteed vegetables, rice, pickles, moyashi and various side dishes.

    Don’t forsake things in other words. Just realize that while one piece of chocolate is absolutely great, two pieces is rather less than twice as great, and five pieces will actually make you less happy than one piece would have.

  4. #4 Eric
    December 28, 2007

    HFCS *is* cheap and evil, but the ingredients that kill me are the umami-enhancing flavorings like MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein and disodium inosinate. MMmmmmmmn. Blazin’ Buffalo & Ranch Doritos….mmmmmmn.

    E

  5. #5 SabrinaW
    December 28, 2007

    Great resolution! The best part is that it gets easier after a few weeks because your taste buds and body reacclimate to a diet without overpowering sweetness or flavor enhancers. Once you can make that shift, you will be able to “eat just one” and be able to rely on your body to say “no more!” If I may recommend, cut out all carbonated drinks, even sugarless ones, for a few weeks – the carbonation expands the stomach and makes it used to holding more food and it makes it easier to eat more greasy food (thus overriding your body’s normal “ick” mechanism at four pieces of pizza).

    To expand on your prostitution analogy, walking down the processed food aisles in the middle of the grocery store (ala Marion Nestle) feels like cruising through the Red Light District – intriguing and bizarre offerings, but not really what I’d want to take home with me.

    I completely agree with Janne about Japan – I was able to drop a good 30 pounds while there because I started to eat like a Japanese person rather than like an American.

    Good luck!

  6. #6 emmy
    December 28, 2007

    Food is for the belly and the belly is for food. “why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22These are all destined to perish with use,” Colossians 2:20-22. I’m not promoting gluttony, but food was meant to be enjoyed. Especially chocolate.

  7. #7 Dave Briggs
    December 28, 2007

    I will not put the following on my prime rib: butter, sour cream, blue cheese, bacon, lard, Starbucks Java Chip ice cream or fried brains. In fact, I will eschew red meat like a country parson strolling past a darkened doorway on Bourbon Street.

    Good luck with that! :~) If only they could come out with these flavors in a non caloric substance that was not carcinogenic! Oh well, back to the drawing board! LOL!
    Dave Briggs :~)

  8. #8 Carter
    December 28, 2007

    I don’t this it’s HFCS that should be villainized here…too much sugar is just as bad for you. Craig is on the right track here to just start moderating what he eats. The trick it to get back to a truly balanced diet and moderate the extra goodies that contain sugar and other additives.

  9. #9 Eric
    December 28, 2007

    It’s not the HFCS-as-sweetener thing that bothers me so much as its use as moderately-sweet-to-bland bulking agent. It’s the culinary equivalent of the drunken hookup in college – emotionless, devoid of charm, not particularly harmful in small quantities, nothing to base a lifestyle on.

    It’s part of the trend of making everything taste like baby formula to ensure it’s acceptable to every demographic on the planet.

    E

  10. #10 Cynthia1770
    December 28, 2007

    Hi,
    My google alert for HFCS picked up your article. Yes, HFCS
    has invaded our food supply. Courtesy of the Corn Refiners
    Assoc., go to http://www.corn.org/NSFC2006.pdf. P29-30 list all the foods and products that contain HFCS. A few surprises:
    bagels, soups, cough syrups. StopHFCS.com lists foods that
    are HFCS-free. They welcome additions and suggestions. European import stores are a good bet. Europe prohibits
    genetically modified foods (GMO) which safely eliminates
    HFCS. Hawkishly read those labels.

  11. #11 Maxine Buckamn
    December 28, 2007

    Try having radiation following parotid surgery. This, definitely will change your taste buds. My taste buds are not the same as before, and the desire to eat prior to this PROBLEM has been altered. Good luck with your resolution. Neither family, friend, bribe or foe could ever change my eating habits. This WORKED.

  12. #12 AnnR
    January 3, 2008

    My resolution is not to waste my taste buds eating any ice cream BUT Ben & Jerry.

    Like Janne for me it’s quality over quantity.