Monday, October 11, 2010

The Draconian Diet Of Dr. No

["Let Inga Tell You", The Jolla Light, published May 6, 2010] © 2010

Olof and I are not sure how much longer we can bear up under the draconian dietary restrictions of our primary care physician, Dr. No*. (*Not her real name.)

We inherited Dr. No from our former primary care physician, Dr. Fabulous, who retired and hand-picked Dr. No as her replacement. In retrospect, we think that this was Dr. Fab’s parting revenge on all the patients who were a tad lax in following her directives. Olof and I might have been among them.

Dr. No (as in no alcohol, no sugar, no coffee, no starches, no fun) is one tough task master. If it’s a white carb (rice, potatoes, bread, pasta), we can’t have it. If it’s a non-white carb (brown rice, sweet potatoes, whole grain bread or pasta), we can have a teeny bit. She’s not too big on fats either. In fact, Dr. No has a personal vendetta against anything human beings actually like to eat.

Let me be clear that Olof and I aren’t rigidly adhering to this regimen. But we feel really bad about it. If dietary guilt lowered triglycerides, we would be the healthiest people in America. But since we aren’t, we’ve directed that when the time comes, we’d like our ashes spread over a vat of cheese enchiladas.

I have to confess that Olof has done a lot better job in the deprivation department than I have. I would never have thought Olof, a ten cup a day coffee drinker, could subsist without coffee. Initially, his co-workers were sending me worried messages. They feared the real Olof had been kidnapped by aliens and a non-coffee-drinking facsimile had been substituted in his place. They do classified work so this could have been a problem.

But the bigger issue for Olof was potatoes. Actually, even Dr. Fabulous wanted us to restrict our potato consumption which was just crushing to Olof who is a serious potato guy. For years, I’d been limiting potatoes to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners just so I could assure Dr. Fab we were really trying. Fortunately for Olof, he had frequent business trips to Dallas which I suspected became frenzied potato orgies. He’ll deny this, but I always thought he came home smelling like sour cream and chives.

For me, it’s always been about sugar, and even more about the rich sensuous divinely gooey chocolate that is rapturously enrobing it. You’ve probably heard that Lindor Truffles commercial: “Do you dream in chocolate?” You betcha. I personally attribute this to my inability to lose weight - all that chocolate I consume in my sleep. The ever-skeptical Dr. No suggested I should consider eating less chocolate in my sleep and while I’m at it, start exercising in my sleep as well. She just never lets up.

Olof and I like to lie in bed at night watching Emeril, a throwback to the days when we were allowed actual food. As Emeril whips up a chicken Cordon Bleu, we will both sigh in almost eerie unison, “Dr. No would never let us have that.”

Other times we’ll brainstorm about how we might tweak it to make it less Dr. No-Way. “Well,” Olof will muse, “if we used olive oil instead of butter, non-fat milk instead of cream, left out the pasta and the parmesan…”

“We’d have minced shallots Alfredo,” I said. “This was supposed to be fettuccini.”

Somewhere in Sun City, Dr. Fab is sipping pina coladas and laughing maniacally.

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