On any given Sunday — or really, any day that ends with "y"— I have the consumption habits of a 13-year old boy. I’m talking gigantic, carb-heavy meals that prominently feature either rice, cassava, or potatoes, and a a big ole chunk of meat that I can do away with with aplomb. I’m the queen of the Popeyes’ two piece and a biscuit. The co-founder and CEO of the Chicken Is A Breakfast Food 501(c)(3)nonprofit —change.org petition pending. Me and savory foods? That’s my bestie, my best friend.
Unfortunately for my taste buds and general gluttony, I have been informed that I cannot continue ingesting a bajillion calories a day without discretion and remain on fleek. You would think that this is pretty straightforward, but I have comfortably operated for coming up on three decades by eating whatever in the hell I want by and just out exercising my gourmand tendencies with varying level of success. I may no longer be super lean and athletic, but I’m certainly not a sloth; I can say with a fair amount of confidence that if a medium-sized dog gave chase, I could last a solid couple of blocks before resigning to my fate.
Now, though, I’m approaching that point of my life where I’m just feeling everything I eat. I wolf down a burger too late in the night, and my gut is distended well into the next day. Late night diner stops after the club have me more wrecked than the alcohol I consumed to get me there. And the pounds that sneak on after every sodium-laden weekend are somehow more stubborn than any previous weight gain, as I continue to slowly lose the battle of my unscrupulous dietary habits with my waistline. This has resulted in me having moronic conversations with my primary care physician, along the lines of “how many miles do I have to run a day so that I don’t have to give up hot wings, and what pills can I take after so that my gastrointestinal system stops doing the A-town stomp?” So far, I’ve met with little success, but I’m staying strong in faith that science will come through.
The reality is, of course, I know what I need to do — eat more green stuff, put the salt and hot oil down — but it just doesn’t seem like a pleasant way to go about my life on a day to day basis. Is a life without plantains really a life worth living? Or oxtail? Or french fries? This is the land of the free! Nevertheless, at the start of every month I kick off with an earnest attempt to do shit like make green smoothies and meal plan and go to farmer markets and absorb all of my earthy friends’ good habits by osmosis…and then a stressful day at work happens, or I get my period, or the Knicks lose again, and I find myself blacking out and waking up at a Shake Shack. (Editor's note: Considering the Knicks' record, you must have a pretty hefty Shake Shack bill.) Whoever came up with the quote “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” has never been to Five Guys.
Carrots and hummus are straight…but they don’t warm my cold and tiny heart the way that fried fish does. Alas, if I want to live long enough to see Stevie Wonder finally get that haircut, Joseline Hernandez realize her Puerto Rican Princess dreams, or see children be our future, I’m gonna need to find some discipline and attempt something close to a balanced diet that goes beyond “I didn't want to look like that much of a pig so I didn’t order a second burger even though I could’ve totally scarfed one down.” No time like the present to add a few years back to my life and avoid hypertension.
Of course, as I write this I’m currently giving some work to a chicken thigh. But hey, tomorrow’s a brand new day.