Daze of My Life: Master of My Own Ptomaine

Daze of My Life
Master of My Own Ptomaine

All right, I get it, I am what I eat. Unfortunately, nor am I what others, well informed though they may be, tell me to eat. From their mouths to God's ears, by way of Kenny's intestinal tract. If only it were that easy to not eat what I'm not supposed to eat and instead eat what, nutritionally speaking, I'm supposed to eat. How does one curtail an appetite that has been created, cultivated and nurtured through familial encouragement and commercial advertising for an entire life (over 50 years)? In effect, how do I stop this instinct that I have for certain unhealthy-type foods that has been externally imposed and internally exposed as an urge that I may very well be unable to control?
Not that I don't have free will, mind-you, but habits are hard to break, especially food ones that have been satiated throughout a lifetime of consistent consumption? Granted - and luckily - I am not consumed by drugs, alcohol, cigarettes/nicotine, prescription pain medication, etc., but I am drawn - like a magnet - to hydrogenated, unsaturated, trans fat, sugary-type, calories, and the emptier, the better.
The underlying problem, other than I'm stupid and/or stubborn (see column titled, "Prose and Con," dated May 30, 2007) is that I don't like to eat anything other than what I already like. Nor am I inclined to ever try anything with which I'm not familiar or with which I've had some previous relationship/association/exposure. I agree that this type of unwillingness doesn't exactly provide for a lot of growth, nevertheless, it has lead to a lot of girth, which brings me back to the original problem. Other than - or in addition to - exercising myself into a healthier and happier me, how do I give up everything I like to eat and still survive when all that remains are foods I don't like or foods that I won't try?
That being true, I can still remember the first time when I actually tried something new (in a while), thinking/hoping that I had found the Holy Grail - for my diet, anyway. It was a salad, of all things; a combination of chicken, mostly lettuce, special salad dressing, parmesan cheese and croutons, served in a bowl (chicken, cheese and bread; three staples of my diet); yet no rolls and butter, no saucy, fattening sides and no potatoes, that I discovered while dining at the Carlisle Grand Cafe in Shirlington, Va. As I ate my way through this new - to me - entree, I thought I had found the answer to a dietetic/nutritional prayer.
Subsequent to this discovery, I remember boasting of how I had finally found a non-meat and potato-type entree that had piqued my taste buds' interest while simultaneously satisfying my nutritional needs: Chicken Caesar Salad, come to papa! And it was delusionally delicious until that fateful day when someone had to ruin it for me, and I don't remember who, by saying to me, "Kenny, that Caesar dressing is probably just as fattening as the cheeseburger and fries you normally eat," (with apologies to all Caesar dressings out there, I mean no disrespect, I was just as disappointed as you).
Here I thought I was getting some fiber and some roughage without the usual high fat, high calorie consequences of my typical meal, and all I was really getting was a wolf in sheep's clothing. The chicken Caesar salad looked different and it certainly ate differently but alas, it didn't solve the problem; it only created another one, and that's just what I didn't need, another food problem.

Kenneth B. Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.