Bon Appetit!

John McManamy Health Guide
  • A few days ago, I was contacted by a gentleman – we’ll call him “Bart” -- who facilitates a support group in a large city in Kentucky. Bart is in the process of putting together a pamphlet on food for his group and asked if I had anything to share.

    Well, yes.

    Bart, like me, knows that bad dietary habits set us up for mood swings and depression. I will go into this in greater depth in future blogs and articles.

    In my previous blog, I described how I now make my own pizza. By controlling the ingredients that go into the dish – namely, the cheese – I can eat a pizza that won’t wreck me. I conceded in the blog that because I use small amounts of low-fat and nonfat cheese, the end result may not be quite as tasty as the real thing.
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    I take that back. My pizza is far better. Since my previous blog, I have made great strides in mastering the fine art of carefully blending cheeses for maximum taste and texture. I also use a tomato sauce that is far superior to the generic red slop foisted on us by pizzerias. Toss on a cornucopia of fresh herbs and gourmet toppings, and I can assure you, the pizza delivery boy will never again extend his hairy arms across my threshold.

    The same principles of making homemade pizza – namely, smart substitutions and creative additions -- applies to nearly everything we eat. As I explained to Bart, with only a modest touch of grandiosity:

    The food I cook is far tastier than any restaurant dish (which is basically assembly line food) and far healthier. Yes, I do eat out, but I can eat relatively guilt-free at home without eating rabbit food. [Vegetables, yuck! Asparagus tips with low-fat feta and cheddar on pizza (hold the sauce), yum!]

    Good healthy cooking is not rocket science, though the shows you see on Food Network can create that impression. Nevertheless, Food Network can be tremendously educational, even if you are just starting out. The dishes you prepare do not have to be nearly as complicated (or fatty) as what Emeril and company dream up. One does not watch these shows to acquire recipes. The learning experience lies in observing the masters at work – the type of pans and implements they use, which herbs work for certain dishes, how to chop vegetables and prepare meat, little tricks in making quick tasty sauces and glazes, and so on.

    Start with one or two dishes and build from there. Keep it simple. You may want to start with a pasta dish. Keep checking back on the Food Network for further learning by osmosis. Google is your friend. Enter something like “no-fat baked New York cheesecake” (very easy to make) and your diet-conscious friends will change their wills to leave everything to you after you make it for them.

    I regard diet as every bit as important in controlling our illness as meds, if not more so. I also believe you are an important part of this conversation. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to respond to this blog or go to the message board and enter your comments under the thread I just started.

  • Feel free to post your master’s thesis on the science of nutrition. Also, submit your favorite recipes and kitchen tricks. We are all in this together.
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    Bon appetit!

Published On: January 09, 2006