of a Food Slave
My wife Rebecca cooks so much better than I do. Whenever we cook for
ourselves, I make some disaster and she creates a miracle of smell, color,
and taste. It doesn't matter what I make, even if it's something
truly decadent like corned beef hash out of the can, I want what she has.
So I don't cook much anymore. As a consequence, the cooking muscles
have atrophied and all I'm capable of making is pancakes (all Dads have
this innate ability) and cereal (only 57% of all fathers can handle the
complexity of this delicacy).
Just in the same way I control my dog Dioge's food that is, she eats
nothing but what I feed her, except for what she kills on her own so I
eat only what my wife feeds me. Sometimes I get riled up and ready
to tell her that I am a man, that I am in control of my life, and that
I'll eat pancakes for dinner if I want, when she opens the oven and
suddenly I'm helpless. I have become a food slave to my wife.
Given this power she holds over me, Rebecca has spent the last seven years
trying to improve my eating habits. Less fat. More chicken
(the closest this house has seen to a steak in years is the cow printed on
my son's pajamas). More vegetables. More fruit. So what
happens when she decides it's time to lose the extra weight she gained
when she had Skylar? We both go on a diet.
I'm not sure "diet" is an appropriate word. It's the
all-protein, low-carbohydrate scheme designed by Dr. Robert Atkin.
What that means in simple terms even the lay person can understand is YOU
CAN EAT ALL THE BACON YOU WANT. No joke. Rebecca, who gave me
hell every time I even looked at another piece of bacon, had two pounds of
the Thick Cut in the grocery bag. Note: this is more bacon than she
has bought in her entire life.
Here's what Day 1 of the Atkin's Diet looked like in our household:
Breakfast: half a log of Jimmy Dean sausage, bockwurst, turkey sausage,
and three eggs each. The omelet has four mushrooms and a handful of
spinach. ("That's too much spinach," Rebecca says.
"We only get 20 carbohydrates all day.")
Lunch: a pound each patty of beef, camophlagued with bacon,
cheese, and mayonnaise (all you want, but hold off on ketchup: that has
sugar in it).
Dinner: chicken drowned in oil, sour cream, and garlic. All you can
eat. Oh yeah, and a small salad to give in to our increasing
vegetable withdrawl. You know, just a few leaves of lettuce with a
blender full of Caesar dressing and half a tin of extra anchovies besides.
I don't get it. This is how I used to eat when I was a bachelor.
What's the deal? Maybe Atkin himself is a bachelor, and he just
wanted to show women that us bachelors were right all along. Okay,
you can't have more than a single beer or slice of bread each day, but for
me the most important part was always the thick slab of beef.
I think I even understand how the diet works. Flashback to age seven
when Mom taught me about being fat in the grocery store.
"Here," she said, throwing a bag of potatoes at me, "if
you're ten pounds overweight, it's like carrying that bag everywhere with
you." I remember visions swarming me, visions of myself in two
years with five bags of potatoes tied to my body and wearing slip-on shoes
so I would never have to bend over. All through high school this
imagery helped keep me fit and slim. It wasn't until college that I
lost ground and gained the Freshman Five (really ten) after living and
eating in the dorms for two years. Add another ten pounds
(really twenty) after I became a food slave to my wife. That makes
My guess is that this diet is all about getting rid of those potatoes, one
sack at a time. I figure Dr. Atkin's mother must have thrown a bag
of potatoes at him too. (Heavens know what this diet would be like
if she had thrown a bag of kitty litter at him.) Given my
background, I know my body needs potatoes, usually in the form of
artificially flavored BBQ chips. By my only eating meat, in order to
survive my body must dig deep into the reserve bags of potatoes I'm been
carrying around my waist. The all-I-can-eat bacon supplies the fat
necessary to fry them and convert them into the chip molecules my body
The irony of all this is that now that I'm "allowed" to eat all
the meat I want, I can't. If I have to look at another sausage
today, I may vomit. Seriously. I used to be able to eat like
this all the time, but it's not just that I've gotten used to vegetables
and fruits, now I even like them! Meat had become a side dish.
Unfortunately, I know how this is all going to end. Just as soon as
I get used to eating like a single man again, wham! It'll be time
for a whole new diet.
In the meantime, I stuff that meat down my throat in fond memory of the
life and freedom I used to enjoy, when food sustained and pleasured me
back before I learned how it was really killing me. And when I gag
on a formerly delicious piece of fat (all you can eat so long as it's on
the meat), I consider cheating on the diet by sneaking the fat out of my
mouth and down to my dog Dioge.
Dioge really likes the "new" Atkin's diet too.