My friend and I often talk about diets. He has recently had an enormous amount of success with a diet in which he avoids carbs. I think it might be good for me to avoid processed carbs as well, since I think they affect my energy level. I suggested to my friend that I might set a number of desserts that I may have on an annual basis. He told me that his no carb diet included a cheat day each week. On this cheat day he would always go and eat a slice of cake at a local bakery. 52 slices of cake each year does not sound like a particularly limiting restriction. I might be meeting that restriction already.
Another diet recommended to me was the “whole 30” diet. This diet focuses on eliminating potential allergens and then carefully reintroducing them to learn what one is and is not allergic to, apparently with potentially personality-altering results, as food allergies can have had effects on one’s mood throughout one’s lifetime. The catch is that you basically can only eat meat and vegetables. Dairy, grains, cheese, nuts, and even legumes like beans and lentils are not allowed, meaning (1) I would have to radically rethink my diet and (2) I would have to effectively cook two meals for myself and for Alice, as between the whole 30 diet and her strong opinions about meat there are no sources of protein in common. Imagine cooking food every day that you are not allowed to eat. That’s a challenge. Unlike my friend’s diet, cheating is not acceptable in a whole 30 diet. I am waiting to start one until I have a straight 30 days when I won’t be traveling or have other situations in which it will be impossible to meet the requirements.
At the moment, I am not adhering to any particular diet. Instead, I am treating carbs as a “sometimes food,” as in the much-maligned Sesame Street skit that earned cookie monster the nickname “veggie monster.”
As it turns out, it’s much more complicated to limit something as broad as carbs than something like cookies. Just a couple days ago, for instance, I learned that the Soylent I have committed to eat for breakfast every day is 45% carbs. The newer, more expensive bottled version is still 33% carbs. The Soylent website insists that these carbs are oat flour and slow-digesting, which means they shouldn’t have the issues associated with processed carbs, but I will have to pay attention when Soylent is a staple part of my diet to see what that really means.