I'm launching a personal experiment. I call it the non-diet diet.
While I've been trying to take better care of myself since passing 50, I'm still technically 25 pounds overweight.
The non-diet diet is based on the rules of Michael Pollan to "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." But since my goals are modest I'm going to go about it modestly, not as a sacrifice but as small adjustments.
What finally set me on my way was a recent visit to the grocery.
The two people in front of me bought a few dozen instant dinners, packages of sugary drinks, and other non-food items, mostly with an EBT card, while I was picking up some lettuce, onions and milk.
I paid less than half what they did and I was feeding four.
Forget about losing weight. Daddy wants a new PC.
In addition to having more education and money than my neighbors, making it easier for me to identify and afford real food (as opposed to imitation food that will survive a nuclear winter) I noticed I also have more time than my poorer neighbors to prepare food.
Time and reasonable facilities are key to real eating. It doesn't take much time, and the facilities don't have to be extensive, but chopping, mixing and cooking do require thought, space, and equipment.
For starters I mixed up a bread pudding last night.
Throw some old bread in the bottom of a casserole, about half-way up. Spread on a layer of vegetables -- I had some cooked onions, peppers, and chinese cabbage,. I diced a carrot, too. Top with shredded cheese. Then dried herbs, salt and pepper. Mix enough low-fat milk to fill the casserole with one egg per cup of liquid. Bake at 375 until the internal temperature reaches 170.
Yummy. And lots of leftovers. I've got microwaved lunches for the rest of the week.
Cut out the Cokes and the salty snacks, slowly. I'm switching to green tea and nuts. Eat a little at a time. Try to leave the table hungry. And walk to the store from the edge of the parking lot, rather than playing vulture to get a space by the door.
The non-diet diet takes time, thought, and a few kitchen skills. But it doesn't cost money. It can save money. If it doesn't work I'll cut back on starch, but that's a few months from now.
Wish me luck.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com