Healthy Living Magazine

Step Away from the Macaroni Pie

By Lynnbraz @wandering_lotus

Step Away from the Macaroni Pie

Photo Credit: Scranton Times-Tribune

Today's Scranton Times-Tribune ran a recipe for Macaroni Pie. Here's a partial list of the ingredients: 1 DOZEN eggs, 1 QUART whole milk, 2 cups of sugar, a box of spaghetti noodles. When sugar is the healthiest ingredient in a recipe, that is, to me, profoundly scary.The recipe's headline, "Just dessert: South Scranton Woman's Macaroni Pie is a Unique and Tasty Family Favorite," should be: "Just Dessert: Recipe for Becoming and Staying Super Fat."After 14 years of living in San Francisco, it's sometimes shocking to be back in small-town middle America. It seems not only is obesity acceptable here, it's actually encouraged. The photo that accompanied the Macaroni Pie recipe featured a woman who looked to be about 150 pounds or more overweight. 35.7 percent of Americans are obese. To me this means Americans don't need tips on creating calorie and fat-laden dishes. I'm thinking maybe a few tasty, yet healthy, recipes would be more useful.When I logged on to BlogHer today, the first article that popped up was about eating disorders. Eating disorders seem to be prevalent in this society. I've suffered from food addiction my entire life. Some of my earliest memories are me shoving candy in my mouth, eating so much I made myself ill. Being 7 or 8 years old and stealing money from my parents to buy candy. Compulsive exercise warded off obesity for me, but I considered myself chubbier than acceptable throughout most of my teen years. By the time I reached college I discovered pot and booze, switched addictions and shed my baby fat. I experienced the exact opposite of the Freshman 15.But once I gave up booze and pot, I went back to my old standby: food. And because I'd grown attached to being thin, I alternated compulsive eating with compulsive starving and ramped up the compulsive exercise. One scene that sums it up perfectly: New Year's Day in San Francisco, cold and rainy. I ate 4 pounds of my favorite chocolates between Christmas and New Year's Eves. New Year's morning, I broke out in chickenpox (I was teaching children's yoga and caught every disease with which those adorable little germballs became afflicted). I was 46 years old and had torn my left meniscus in a ski accident. I was so weak and achy I could barely stay vertical.  And yet, I could not skip my daily jog.My therapist was alarmed by my obsession with my body and weight. She suggested I rub lotion on my legs and torso morning and night so that I could feel my body and realize I was thin, maybe even too thin. She told me in certain societies chubbiness is not only a mark of beauty, but also wealth. I told her I'd rather be broke. Back in those days, I was a flying trapeze aficionado. I'll never forget my flying trapeze catcher looking at me with mild disgust as he watched me strip down to a leotard and boy shorts. "God, you're too skinny," he said, wincing. When the guy whose job is to catch you in mid-air says you're too thin, you can trust his judgment.Today I'm 51 years old and exactly 5'6" tall, 125 pounds. I no longer exercise compulsively. Instead, I maintain a daily yoga practice. Today I would not run if someone were chasing me. Occasionally my weight creeps up a few pounds. I don't freak out. I know I eat a healthy diet, all of my food weighed and measured, with complete abstinence from flour and sugar.A few years ago, I became vegan—not out of concern for my own health, but for the health of the poor tortured animals who suffer in food industry atrocities. My doctors think I'm causing myself harm, but I've never felt better.My favorite foods are lentils, sunflower and chia seeds, quinoa, spinach, tomatoes, avocados, apples. I remember a nutritionist, years ago when sugar was still my diet's biggest staple, telling me that taste buds can be retrained. I thought she was lying when she said she craved green leafy vegetables. Today, I sometimes think of kale and my mouth waters.I now find it easy to stay away from packaged foods. I remind myself that those foods, much like cigarettes, are engineered to be addictive. Food companies spend billions of dollars researching the perfect combination of sugar, fat and salt to make packaged foods more addictive. Then pharmaceutical companies, some of which are owned by food companies, create the drugs to combat diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and cancer. To me, food and pharmaceutical companies are no different than tobacco companies.A natural, whole foods diet is without a doubt the healthiest food plan. It's healthy for humans, animals and the environment. And it's absolutely scrumptious.
Step Away from the Macaroni Pie
Here's a link to one of my favorite recipes: Lentil Quinoa Salad.Stay away from the Macaroni Pie.

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