A "Well Balanced Diet"
Way back in the last century, I took a year off from my regular college and spent a year at a university in Freiburg, Germany, trying to learn German as well as taking a break from the high-pressure studies at my American four-year college.
I did learn a lot, but I also got bored with the food. I’m sure things are more varied today, but the cheap student restaurants where I ate (student meals cost 1 or 2 Marks, then about 50 cents) tended to be heavy on sausages, accompanied by huge mounds of potatoes and overcooked cabbage.
One day, as I was drooling for more varied American fare—Italian one day, Chinese the next, then Spanish, then baked beans and brown bread, then a nice California salad—I struck up a conversation with the guy who ran our dissection lab (I was studying zoology).
He’d spent a year at Yale, and he said he liked America but the food was boring. Boring!!???!!! I couldn’t believe what I’d heard, so I asked him why he’d found American food so dull.
“Well,” he said, “There was not a great deal of selection in sausages."
That’s when I realized that for this guy, sausages were a food group. Now whenever I hear some nutritionist ranting on and on against some diet that has worked for some people and urging them to eat a “balanced diet” instead, I think of this man and his sausages. For him, a balanced diet would probably consist of equal parts bratwurst, kielbasa, pepperoni, and knockwurst.
After all, to “balance” a diet, you have to divide foods into categories, and there are a gazillion ways you can arbitrarily assign foods to groups and then balance the groups. The fact that some people balance protein, dairy, grains, and vegetables doesn’t mean that’s the only way of doing it.
So for those who wish to follow a “balanced diet,” but don’t like the balancing methods they have seen thus far, I offer a few alternatives of well-balanced diets:
The northern Arctic balanced diet: Equal portions of whale meat, polar bear meat, seal meat, and caribou meat.
The drinking person's balanced diet: Equal portions of gin, scotch, wine, and vodka.
The snacker’s balanced diet: Equal portions of an energy bar, a protein bar, a granola bar, and a candy bar.
The fruitarian’s balanced diet: An apple, an orange, a banana, and a pineapple.
The vegan’s balanced diet: Equal portions of vegetable, vegetable, vegetable, and vegetable.
The child’s balanced diet: Equal portions of cookies, cake, pie, and candy.
The budget conscious balanced diet: Equal portions of rice, beans, rice and beans, and beans and rice.
And finally, my own balanced diet [in my dreams]: Equal portions of white chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, hazelnut chocolate, and a huge mug of strong espresso coffee.