By James Morabito
In our home, we have a cat. He is a lazy, lurking, overweight slug. I’m sure he feels the same way about me. His name is Worthless. Excuse me, I mean, Muffin. He is an older cat, set in his ways, and always ready to enjoy his particular pleasures.
One of his pleasures, as his waistline will attest, is food. He is working on a book about his relationship with food, called, "Just Eat What You Like.” The philosophy behind it is fairly simple. If he turns up his furry, whiskered, nose at a particular food offering, that’s it. No discussion needed. He won’t eat it. If he likes a particular food, wonderful, and he will eat it.
I have pointed out to Muffin that most, if not all, books are purchased by human beings, not cats, but he is undeterred. He has his point of view, and that is it. He doesn’t care about marketing studies or press runs.
Muffin’s arrogance is partly a result of many years of being spoiled by his so-called owners. He is the boss. He will meow early in the morning, announcing that he is hungry, and he will be rewarded for that by my wife. If I am at my desk, and then do something that wakes him from a nap, he will look at his food and have a little snack if he sees fit. When someone has a canister of whipped cream, he wants a tiny taste. When my wife comes home, he wants a treat. Etc., etc.
I wonder if his philosophy of eating what he wants, and not eating foods that he dislikes, would work well with humans. Medical professionals would say, “No! Eat this, don’t eat that, watch your cholesterol, no fatty foods, etc.” A doctor once told me, “Stay away from salt.” I did that, for years, for various medical reasons, but eventually had a small stroke, with no major effects, luckily, anyway. Just a fluke? Who knows?
Nowadays, I am like a scientist in a white lab coat when I am buying groceries: reading nutrition labels, looking at sodium content, fat and sugar per serving. I used to just buy food. Ah, memories.
Meanwhile, my dad, who is in his 90s, and his several siblings are in wonderful shape, and, with common sense and wisdom, do eat pretty much what they want.
They eat delicious home-cooked meals. They really know how to cook, and they go for taste. They eat whatever they like in restaurants. They don’t overdo anything, and look great. I think my cat, Freeloader, I mean, Muffin, would approve.
Meanwhile, I am in some restricted area of “healthy eating.” In addition to sodium, as in not eating too much salt or too little salt, I also have to watch how much water I drink, because that affects the sodium level in my system. I have to watch fat and cholesterol. Medicines are involved, too, as to what I can eat. Muffin, sprawled on the floor as he often is, just stares at me, judging me, thinking, “Look, take my advice. Just eat whatever you want, and forget about it.”
At least my daily walking and white lab coat food buying have resulted in my losing a lot of weight. Someone said I “look better” now. Did I really look that bad before? Maybe I don’t need the details.
I guess the best strategy for me, based on most experience and evidence, is to just eat what I want, but only among the healthier foods that I still have on my personal menu. So far, so good.
James Morabito wonders if eating whatever he wants is the key to longevity.