The subject of diet has arisen on the heels of my surgery yesterday by an endodontist whose post-operative prescription includes a soft-food diet of water and apple sauce. The central theme of diet is always portion control. It appears however that even my nominal breakfast restriction to one bagel and two pieces of cheese and a sliced green apple with prunes exceeds the limits.  Nor seemingly does my casual daily bicycling assist me to trim the calories. Similarly a dinner of raw salad (diced cabbage, broccoli florets, sweet peas, sliced tomatoes and green pepper) and boiled salmon filet is no assurance of dietary maintenance. I am however convinced (based upon historic detail) that the main problem is the bread and cheese. I formerly confined myself to steel-cut oats for breakfast and my weight was more favourable.

When one contemplates a farmer’s token lunch of bread and cheese there is no appearance of anything other than simplicity and satisfaction. It is however a deceit. The fundamental allure of bread and cheese derives from the toxic elements of yeast, sugar and fat. There is unfortunately no way to characterize bread and cheese as other than a supreme indulgence. There’s a reason the composition had such universal appeal.

In appreciation of their allegiance to the British Empire during the American Revolution and the War of 1812, Queen Victoria began an annual tradition of giving gifts to the Six Nations community, namely blankets. The custom ended with Victoria’s death in 1901. In 1924, however, the Grand Council of the Six Nations decided to revive the practice, this time with gifts of bread and cheese, as a commemoration of the close ties between Six Nations and the British Crown.

I have tried the Atkins diet. And with initial success. I adored it! Initially. But after my subsequent open-heart surgery I abandoned it. It just wasn’t sustainable in the real world.

The Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate fad diet devised by Robert Atkins. The diet is marketed with questionable claims that carbohydrate restriction is crucial to weight loss. There is no good evidence of the diet’s effectiveness in achieving durable weight loss and it may increase the risk of heart disease. The Atkins diet is unbalanced as it promotes the unlimited consumption of protein and saturated fat.

I am always amused by the psychological issues purportedly surrounding dietary control – normally a confrontation of reward and anxiety. I mean, who doesn’t like ice cream or maple syrup or both (as I had last evening as a reward for my punishment at the hands of the endodontist). Arguing that maple syrup detoxifies is not what I’d call reliable for weight control.

Ultimately the choice of dietary control is a mixture of healthful and somewhat punitive features. Learning that appetite is an unreliable dictate for any meal is a start. I have unwittingly garnered that the human carcass – like that of a horse – can survive quite profitably upon hay. This means for example that I have in the end been able to bear the deprivation of olive oil on my salad, choosing instead to opt for freshly squeezed lemon juice.  Likewise the elimination of milk instead of water from the steel-cut oats is another tactic – one which echoes the purity and simplicity of what we need to consume.

The inescapable conclusion about diet is that it is governed by thoughtful analysis not urges or preferences or desires. It is equally preordained that the issue isn’t about living life to its fullest or not saving it for the funeral but rather just being comfortable in one’s own skin.