There comes a time in our life when we have to go through an important coming-of age process; a cornerstone of capital importance, a turning point that separates men from boys and girls from ladies, an event that brings both happiness and horror, smiles and tears, rage and success. This important, once in a lifetime event, is called dieting. Unless you were granted a wish by a golden fish to gulp on burgers and coke whilst maintain a diva silhouette, diet is the one certain event you will encounter throughout lifetime! There are several ways to approach the diet, innumerable options, incredibly varied opportunities! I have tried them all – and gloriously failed in each and every one! But still – my failures have made me more of a connoisseur that anyone else, so I would love to share my wisdom and experience.
Like many a beginners, my first step was visit a nutritionist. Oh – how I loathe them! Their superior look, their paternal tone, their cultivated manners, their neat offices, their condescending behaviour and their slim bodies… Measuring me, making me feel guilty for eating anything else than sand and tree bark, blaming the chocolate industry, making fun of bread, potatoes and donuts… Utterly despising anything that is even remotely tasty, totally opposing the holy P trinity (pork/pasta/pizza); finding an abjection in each and every one of my little culinary habits oh! you eat processed meat – do you? You will die of coronary disease! Eating deep fried? You will die of coronary disease! Eating cakes? Eating cheese? Coronary! Eating? YOU WILL DIE! Whenever I visited one it turned out I could not shake the deep feeling of culpability, and the more I tried to behave like a good man – the more I dived into the silent, criminal behaviour of guilt-eating a biscuit – which in turn exacerbated my feeling of shame – which required another therapy session – which…
So I had to turn to another reliable source – and that is the Internet. This comes in many variated shapes, colours and apps. You can choose a personalised offer – which will consider your age, height, zodiac sign, weight, eyes, pet, location, gender, political view, favourite rock star and favourite car. Starting from there it will tell you what and where to eat, drink, pray, sing and smell; and what would be better for you in order to improve your life, feel good about yourself, live freely and independently – and obviously lose weight. After I filled in all the questionnaire – it turned out I needed to gain 16 more kilograms, I should do something about my age, I should adopt a penguin and I needed 3 months by myself, in an igloo, eating raw fish and discover my inner wolf. Also – it seems I was born in the wrong era; apparently I am more of a Medieval person.
Clearly – that was not the way to go, so I gave in to sports. That sounded like something I could easily do: basically, one can eat as much as he wishes, provided it offsets the calories intake with some intense burning of the said calories. It was supposed to do a lot of good for the physical and mental health, it improved my stamina and it would make shirts look really great on my greek, sculptural body. So I started running – every evening. When I say every evening, I mean about 3 evenings within one month, and that was it. I realised running was not really for me – and although I had already been taken calories enough to supply me three marathons, one small sprint and 17 trips around the Earth circumference, I needed something that would define me better. But, after briefly starting and immediately abandoning Zumba, biking, ping-pong, shark-swimming, Pilates, triathlon, boxing, chess and Prenatal Yoga – sports were permanently discarded.
So I asked myself – is there no one else on this planet that could give me an advice? Someone who had been already through the diet hell and came out victorious? And so, my next obvious step was to ask a friend. Officially, my biggest mistake with this approach was that I asked too many friends at once. The advice I got only demoralized me more. For some people a diet of exclusively fish skin, carrots, chicken feathers, rucola seeds and palm leaves worked. Others recommended to dissociate: you eat on your first day the meat, the next day the salad and the third day the fork. There were those who recommended a simple, yet effective approach: cut on the serving sizes! Used to have a whole ham for breakfast – now you should only have one green pea! Used to eat a whole chocolate – you can lick the wrapping! A whole pizza? You guessed it – one olive! And lastly – there are those friends who have a long list of the only things you can eat, and that list usually starts with almond milk, banana bread and cashew nuts, contains papaya and a drop of rainbow and inevitably end with Zucchini, Zebra and Lemon Zest!
And from here to the intermittent fasting it was just one small logical step. Now this one is just as tricky as it sounds – basically you cut off on one meal, and eat during a time window of 6-8 hours. To give you a simple example, you can start your day at 07h00 am, you go through the morning without breakfast, you have your first meal @ 12h00 pm – and your last by 18h30 pm. During the rest of the time you are fasting! Although it sounds very much obtainable, the fact of the matter is that I was deeply deceived! During the time window you are actually allowed to eat – you have to eat small portions of healthy substances! You cannot simply stuff yourself, so as to survive the other long hours of undernourishment! What you can do is eat a balanced mix of fat free, gluten free, lactose free, alcohol free, sugar free, beta-carotene free, stress free, uranium free, caffeine free steak coming from cows that are raised on the high plains of mount Tibet with a side dish of essential oils.
So I discarded that – and examined the vegan diet. Now what I like about it is that it does not sugar coats it in a fancy name – you know right from the start it’s going to be awful. Apparently sometimes in our history, before our ancestors discovered the blessings of barbecue, mankind would have only eaten roots, vegetables, pine cones and kale. So the vegan diet is actually a call for the original man, an invitation to go back to health, a robust option to this overcooked life of ours, an extraordinary benefit, an immensely rich possibility of choice! If you are the type of guy who previously were into fish – now you can resort to algae! From cow – to grass; from chicken – to corn; from pork… hmmm…actually there is little option here; in any case a vegan can practically save all the money previously spent on food, and grow his own shitake tree, kohlrabi tree, wasabi tree or any other type of tree for that matter. It is thus distinctly clear that I stepped on the vegan train with great expectation and impatient satisfaction – and managed to live a clean, vegan life for about an hour and a fourteen minutes before I utterly collapsed.
However, to finish in a happy tone, the counterpart of the veganism is the keto diet. This is a type of diet I particularly enjoyed as it emphasis our body requirement of healthy fats. I know you have never heard that fat can be heathy – and in fact neither had I, but these precious hidden gems lie invisible to our humble eyes in foods such as grilled meat, pork chops, avocado, chia seeds, pastrami, chorizo and artichokes. Although this apparent keto heaven has a colossal potential and incalculable varieties – it does exclude chocolate, jam and peanut butter and any other types of sweets for that matter, considering that an ice-cream is not fat enough to be included in the healthy fats hall of fame. It also refuses the right of a French fry to be ranged amongst the foods worth to accompany a steak as a side dish – hence I had to entirely reconsider the benefits of the keto altogether.
My search is not over yet, and the search for the perfect diet has barely begun! Join me, whilst we go up and down this carousel called diet – with only one imminent ending – the beach body!