Wanted: Purina People Chow (Formulated for the Aging Geezer)

by James Wallace Harris, Wednesday, September 26, 2019

Abstract: Seeking a 100% nutritionally balanced meal plan for my aging body that involves the fewest possible standard meals that can be easily prepared. These meals should never cause gas, acid reflux, constipation, stomach pains, bloating, lethargy,  diarrhea, or any other bodily discomfort.

Trigger Warning: Do not read if you are unsettled by descriptions of bodily functions or euphemistic words that describe them. Do not read if you are depressed about getting older. Do not read if you want to keep all your geriatric surprises until they happen to you personally.

My friend Linda recently asked me why they didn’t warn us about all the weird things that would happen to our body as we got old. Not long after that I was at my doctor and asked her that question. She replied with a twinkle in her eyes, “You don’t want us to spoil the surprise, do you?” I thought, maybe she doesn’t want to depress her patients. I gave her an example to see what she would say. I told her my dick was shrinking. I lamented that my dick had never been big, and now it was beginning to whither. I might have also said WTF? She gave a little knowing laugh. Maybe that was a common complaint from men that she found funny, but I worried that maybe other changes for my little wonder worm were in my future and she didn’t want to tell me.

The other day I saw an article on Flipboard about vagina atrophy. Maybe such secrets of aging are out there and I just haven’t been paying attention. If penises and vaginas can atrophy, what about other organs? Am I peeing so much because my bladder is atrophying? Is constipation a new problem in my life because my intestines are shrinking away? Is all my stomach problems due to my stomach wimping out? WTF? I bet this is TMI, isn’t it?

When I was a kid I could eat anything and it never bothered me. Growing up I don’t really remember shitting much. I can’t ever remember taking a dump at school. And I think I only went to the boys’ room once a day to piss, and maybe some days not pissing at all. Hell, if I was in school today I’d be waving my hand to go to the restroom every hour – at least. And that lunchroom food would give me a stomach ache, heartburn, and gas that would last the rest of the day. In fact, I can’t remember spending much time in the bathroom when I was young, other than those adolescent years of jerking off while pretending to need to take a long leisurely crap, but now I practically live next to the toilet. And it’s no longer because of one-handed reading.

I’ve decided what I need is to study nutrition and create a small repertoire of meals that don’t offend my fussy body. In the last decade, I’ve slowly learned through painful lessons I refuse to accept, that my stomach, intestines, and bladder just don’t like my favorite foods anymore. For example, eating peanut butter now makes me feel like I have a bleeding ulcer. Drinking iced tea or soda pop makes me piss every fifteen minutes. Oatmeal creates enough gas that I could pressurize a natural gas tanker. Fatty foods give me painful acid reflux that feels like I’m having a heart attack. And the list of humiliations goes on and on.

I understand that my bladder is being crushed by an enlarging prostate and I have to pee more often, but if I get constipated or pressurized enough for farting I have to pee 2-3 times an hour. That’s very annoying. I hate to leave the house anymore because I have to piss so goddamn much. My wife is annoyed I won’t go on trips, but the logistics of finding that many bathrooms on the road put travel plans out of the question.

And I don’t mean to be whining. I know people with cancer, dementia, chronic pain, strokes, debilitating diseases, and other depressing conditions, so I consider myself very lucky to only have the puny physical problems I do have. But I figure if I’m going to live another 10, 20, or god forbid 30 years, I need to adapt to a long-term strategy of surviving with the minimum of discomfort. And since much of my discomforts come from eating, I need to buckle down and find out just exactly what my body wants. I feel hostage to my digestive system and I’m ready to pay the ransom.

If Purina offered People Chow that provided everything I needed for optimal nutrition, bright eyes, and a shiny chromedome, I’d eat it three meals a day. I’d forego all eating pleasure just to make turds that slid smoothly out, to be free of gas and bloating, to need to pee as infrequently as possible and especially to have a nice peaceful stomach.

I know I sound like all those old folks who talk endlessly about their bowel movements. But I figured something out last night. If young people had our bowels they’d be talking about their shits and pisses all the time too. Take care of your body because if you don’t it will get its revenge. (No, I’m glad I drank a trainload of  Cokes and chocolate shakes and ate those thirty-three tons of M&Ms.)

What I want to find are meals that satisfy my body’s need for nutrition and causes no physical complaints. I figure I need to eat two healthy meals a day with one snack in between. The problem I face is finding a selection of meals and snacks that are nutritionally balanced. I don’t even need culinary variety.

I know such meals exist because I sometimes go days without my body complaining. Then I’ll eat something and my pleasant digestive detente will be shattered for a week. Being vegetarian complicates things because foods with enough protein are limited. For fifty years I did fine with dairy products, beans, and peanut butter, but now those cause constipation, gas, and stomach pain.

I wish that my healthy diet could be based on ice cream, pie, cake, cookies, chocolate, Coke, and ice tea. Actually, my digestive system loves pie and ice cream, but they make me gain weight. Come to think about it, everything that makes me lose weight annoys my insides. Is just getting fatter the answer?

It’s such an insanely hard puzzle to figure out the right combination of foods that are ideal. If anyone knows of cookbooks for geezers or meal plans for sissy stomachs, post them below.

JWH

 

Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

By James Wallace Harris, April 13, 2016

I know how to lose weight. I lost 29 pounds last year by following a plant based diet. I could eat all I wanted from an approved list of foods, didn’t go hungry, and my doctor was ecstatic. My blood work numbers hadn’t looked so good in decades. Then I started cheating on my diet. I didn’t gain weight, but I stopped losing weight. My blood work numbers ratted on me, and my doctor started nagging again. I cut back on my cheating. Three months later my numbers convinced her to do a happy dance. (For some reason I really love making her happy.) She even told me I could go six month without another blood test. In the moment of feeling successful, I foolishly promised I’d lose another 25 pounds.

Ha-ha, like some crazed sweet-seeking mammal I’ve since gained 8 pounds. I just can’t resist food. Why can’t I control my eating? Why can’t I lose weight? Why can’t I keep weight off once I work so hard to lose it?

Of course millions of people are asking these same questions. Why can’t we lose weight? Why can’t I be like Mr. Spock and do the logical thing? Evidently, I’m suffering from multiple personalities. One being inside me, the one writing this essay, wants to eat healthy, lose weight and be a different person. There’s another person in me that’s illogical and hungry. That person insists I go out for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, but eat pizza on the way. And I’ve got to tell you, when Mr. Junk Food gets his way, we both feel pretty damn satisfied.

Mr. Spock advises me to write up a mission statement about what to eat, print it up on a nice card, and meditate on that message before every meal. But then my wife and I get hungry for dinner, don’t feel like cooking, or even going to a good restaurant, and end up pigging out on Taco Bell. I weighed two pounds more the next morning. Where did Mr. Spock go? Mr. Junk Food can shanghai my self-control in an instant. I need to kill Mr. Junk Food. Is that even possible? Self-exorcism? But what would life be like without that cute little devil on my shoulder?

Mr. Spock has already settled on a diet.  He assures me if I just followed it, I’d be healthy, happy and fat no more. He did get us to read a number of books, and took control long enough to prove that his solution works. I keep telling myself to read those books every day until Mr. Junk Food disappears—but it’s not working. I’m beginning to think Mr. Junk Food stunned Mr. Spock and transported him to another planet. He obviously overheard we were planning on dieting again.

Why can’t I be sensible? Why are my urges as polarized as liberals and conservatives? Why do I have friends who eat everything they can stuff down their gullet – and still stay skinny? Why isn’t feeling better incentive enough to eat healthy? My heart and back loved when I lost the 29 pounds. I think one reason I cheat is because I feel better, but I won’t let myself gain too much because I fear the return of pain. I remember what I felt like before I got my stent, and that helps fight off Mr. Junk Food. But only to a degree. Most of the spinal stenosis pain and numbness in my legs have gone away because of losing weight. The plant-based diet is also an anti-inflammation diet. When I follow that diet I don’t need pills, and I don’t feel the inflammation. Mr. Spock informs me of this logic every day. Why can’t I listen all day long?

Yet, eating two bags of M&M’s and drinking a Dr. Pepper would feel like winning a million bucks right now. Hell, I just realized just how bad off I am. I’d rather be a skinny person who could eat all the junk food they wanted than be rich. That’s how bad I want some Mint Oreos at the moment. (Who’s writing this essay now?)

 Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease - Caldwell B Esselstyn MDThe China Study - T Colin Campbell PHD

Eat To Live - Joel Fuhrman MDThe Forks Over Knives Plan

JWH

Designing My Own Restaurant Style Menu for Healthy Eating

The other day I wrote, “Simplifying an Overloaded Life” which has inspired me to work on a single goal developing a healthy diet.  This morning, in the predawn darkness of being neither awake or asleep, a good idea came to me.  I imagined creating a menu, like the kind we use in restaurants, that would have all the healthy foods and dishes I could eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, listed in an attractive way, that will remind me of what I might want to eat, or should eat.  If it’s not on the menu, then I don’t eat it.

health-cook-books

[click on photo for larger image]

I even imagined using Microsoft Publisher to lay out this menu with attractive lettering and appetizing photos, printing it on card stock, and even having it laminated.  I pictured myself pulling out this menu whenever I got hungry so it would remind me just what I could eat, knowing that if I ordered from this Healthy Living Home Menu, I’d be eating just what I need to feel better and lose weight.

Of course, in the light of day, this appears to be quite an ambitious project.  What if my menu offers twelve different dishes for breakfast, lunch and supper?  That’s learning how to cook 36 meals.  Damn, that sounds like a lot.  28 has always been my favorite number, so let’s go with eight items for breakfast, and ten for lunch and supper.  Even that sounds too ambitious. 

Of course I know myself.  I cook one thing and eat on it three days, and freeze any leftovers.  I tend to eat the same breakfast every day.  Right now I live off of about six different meals I know how to prepare, but what I need to do is eat more variety of vegetables and fruits, so I need to expand that repertoire of items on my menu.

I’ve decided that December is the month I’ll totally focus on learning to eat healthy as my one and only goal.  Here’s what I plan to do:

  1. Gather all my diet/health/cook books into one place for study (see photo).
  2. Read and compare these books for their best recommendations.
  3. Write down the best advice and tips I read in Evernote.
  4. Learn how to shop for the best foods I should eat – how to tell when fruits and vegetables are in season, at their best to buy, etc.
  5. Learn how to store food for optimal quality – fruits, veggies, spices, condiments,  dairy, eggs, nuts, etc.
  6. Learn how to chop and cook food properly.
  7. Select 20-30 recipes to master and start learning to cook them – save them in Evernote.
  8. Create and print my menu of approved foods.
  9. When at home, only eat from that menu. 
  10. Research menus at local restaurants for their most healthy meals and make a list of approved away from home menu items.
  11. Make a list of all foods and ingredients I want eat and know about, and why they are good for me, and if they have any curative powers.

One problem I’ve always had when I’m at the store, especially a healthy one like Whole Foods or Fresh Market, is seeing all the fruits and vegetables and not knowing how to select and prepare most of them.  Recently I’ve been adventurous and started buying avocados after some training with my friend Janis.  I’m still never sure how to pick out a good one, but I’ve learn how to cut them open, even though I make a mess, but all I do is put a few slices on my salad and then I have half an avocado that I don’t know what do with.  I really need to get to know fruits and vegetables.

I also need to learn how to use spices.  I can cook by a recipe, but crudely.  What I like to do is think of a selection of tasty veggies and make a stir fry or soup, but I’m never sure how to season my concoctions.  So in studying my cookbook, I need to select a range of recipes that will educate myself about spices.

I assume my menu will be a good place to save all the recipes I want to master, so it might end up like a small book.

My ultimate goal is to simplify my life.  I want to get past thinking about what I should eat.  I want to get past thinking about how to live healthy.  I want to learn what’s in my diet/health/cook books and then give them away.  I want to stop worrying about what I should eat.  I want to stop worrying about eating an unhealthy diet.

I want to start the new year without having to make any resolutions about dieting.

JWH – 12/4/13