Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Diet - deadline is 8-9-12 9:59 am NY time. (08/02/12)
- TITLE: Another Side to Self-Control - A Dietribe*
By Noel Mitaxa
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Life was simple. We grew our own fruit and vegetables and we ate them according to their season. We had no refrigerator, so any ice-cream that hit our kitchen table was doomed to a reduced lifespan – because of the heat or because of us kids.
With no fast-food restaurants or anywhere to eat out nearby, and with no television, we were never exposed to wider choices. And yes, I can almost hear echoes of our teenage kids’ adoring chorus: “Yeah, Dad, and weren't you brave to do all that – while the earth’s crust was still being formed!”
Some folks might poetically dismiss my tiny home town as a village or hamlet; but that would be wrong, for hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s plays. Yet that play’s plaintive soliloquy about the nature of existence: “to be or not to be; that is the question” relates to what sustains life - or our chosen menu.
Or, to maintain a Shakespearean vein – however vainly: “to chew or to eschew – that is our digestion!”
When dietary choices arise, some people are so hard to please that they expect alphabet soup to include interesting reading matter as well as nourishment. Others have more wide-ranging tastes – or lack of taste – for somehow they suddenly activate a locust-swarm type gene that spells doom to any edible object that they see within reach. Whoever has provided the food and watched it disappear so rapidly must ask themselves, “Consumption be done to slow this down?”
However, sanity and safety occupy a wide expanse between these two extremes.
Urban life today extends to us an ever-widening smorgasbord of options, but today we’ll stick to food. Refrigeration, rapid transport, and international trade combine to make familiar food available regardless of seasonal constraints. Add the cultural diversity of immigration to the mix and we discover more exotic tastes and fragrance; in our largest food malls or tucked away in ethnic markets.
So many choices - but only one stomach per customer. So the question of diet raises its disciplined head.
But which diet? Gluten-free? Fat-free? Sugar-free? Or do these terms only mean that there’s no extra charge for the gluten or fat or sugar that’s already in the food? And then, as we get older, food allergies or intolerances may start to invade our food regimen and impose their own limitations on our choices.
Some people enthuse over their seafood diets: if they see food they eat it. My top preference is the A diet – to only food that starts with the letter “A:” like Artichokes, Apples, Avocados; or A piece of steak or A hamburger or Anything else that takes my fancy.
After moving up to the city in my late teens, my face became a food-funnel, and I thought that only tourists who visited Ireland and ate too much could ever suffer from "O’Besity." But time has since provided its own lessons for my youthful indulgences.
I still get urges to exercise, which are often accompanied by stronger urges to sit down until the first urge subsides. I know that dieticians advise that we can lose weight by ensuring our energy intake is less than our energy output, but obsessive dieticians sense a vocation to watch what we eat!
Natural justice came my way earlier this year when my wife and I went on a cruise. Throughout the vessel it felt like we were being subjected to an eagerly-provided, constant culinary kaleidoscope from stem to stern. Yet many passengers ‘repletedly’ offered their empty plates or bowls or trays, in what proved to be futile efforts to outstrip the supply!
That experience opened my eyes to another side to self-control.
In Matthew 5: 5, Jesus promises his blessing on the meek (or self-controlled people) – “for they will inherit the earth.”
The other side to this reward comes via a slight twist – that the weak will inherit the girth!
*Author’s Note. I know, I know. It should be spelled “diatribe,” but why let accuracy stand in the way when a lame pun is clamoring for attention? ;-)
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