YOU KNOW you’ve reached that netherworld of neither-old-nor-young when health and fitness has supplanted sports and entertainment as your top Yahoo! article topic; when the holiday/birthday/media extravaganza all-nighter has become rarer and rarer, almost a thing of the past; when you scour Facebook and alumni updates for news of lifestyle diseases whose incidence seems to increase every year; and when the concept of a healthful, nutritious and energizing daily diet is becoming less and less theoretical and more and more inevitable.
Before I continue, a little bit of domestic background : esposa hermosa enjoys twin humongous advantages that abandoned my ship a long time ago. She will eat what she fancies, and what she fancies she can usually cook. On my end, I can no longer eat with reckless abandon, and even more sadly, I have no notable culinary skills save boiling eggs or opening sardines or pork and beans.
But even this disparity of gastronomic fortune has further gone against me : esposa has recently laid down new guidelines to which I w0uld do well to adhere food-wise : at least two riceless meals a week, at least one salad day, and beloved greasy Pinoy breakfasts of Mighty Meaty, sinangag (fried rice) and tostadong itlog (fried egg) limited to one weekend day. In addition, I’m to discard the daily ice cream habit (sob) and step up my fruit and veggie intake, as if the previous rules weren’t punishment enough.
The crime? Long years of excessive, irresponsible eating, sedentary weekends and an infatuation with beer and pizza for any and every occasion, a love for pastries, pies as well as all things sugary and starchy. My personal chef and nutritionist has gone so far as to say that observing my formerly irresponsible diet has become a matter of life and death, so that what I eat (or not eat) for the next few years will determine if I live the balance of my life healthily, if at all. Now that’s an incentive for me to eat wisely and well.
Fortunately, she has the discipline and creativity to prepare our meals. Given the option to observe her rules at home or for my baon, I happily opt for the latter, knowing that I have work to distract me during my shift. That’s why my colleagues look on with amusement at my colorful lunches. each hue of the rainbow represented in my salad, each fruit in the painting transferred to my lunchbag.
That’s not all. Remember the illegal greasy breakfasts? Swept under the rug, they’ve now been replaced by bran with fruit bits, cereal with berry, and multi-flavored oatmeal. Regardless of the variety and the effort to prettify my morning repast, I can’t help but recall the spartan breakfasts of Dad and the regular fare in all those rest homes and retirement villas manned by my caregiver kabayan, when they talk shop among each other.
The bland menu and what passed for food that I thought I would never even consider eating, I now had to include in my regular schedule of consumption, if I wanted to clean out my indoor plumbing and purge myself of the poisons of all those fats and sugar accumulating years.
My chef, nutritionist and diet constable is not totally unreasonable though. If I’ve been a good boy during the week, I get my just rewards, be it a Kiwi Big Breakfast, a Double Down at KFC or dimsum and noodle festival at Asian takeaway. It’s a worn-out cliche, but I have to say it : Let us eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!
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