Food, Fattening Food (And Drink)

I am learning that aging and food are not necessarily good bedfellows, especially right before bed.

It used to be that I could eat whatever I wanted, enjoy caffeinated beverages and sleep soundly. Not anymore. Now I have to manage meals, limit liquids and avoid certain foods like they’re rugrats with unwashed hands during flu season.

Take raw garlic and onion. Actually, you have to take them away from me now. I cannot eat either one. I used to enjoy a slice of Bermuda or Georgia Sweet on a burger, or razor-thin sliced garlic flavoring olive oil and both topping a plate of pasta. Glorious dishes both gone, unless I saute the offenders until soft.

And tomato sauce-based foods are tough. A little of the red stuff is okay. Too much is an assault all the antacids I have won’t fix. And can anyone tell me why a slice of fresh, hot pizza hurts but the same slice stone-cold doesn’t?

And I’m almost a complete failure when it comes to alcohol. A half-glass of wine is a giggle fest at this point. More would put me to sleep faster than a dose of cold meds.

And why do calories add up so much faster as you get older? The food isn’t more fattening, but the effect on the body is food consumed equals pounds added. Nothing’s being used for fuel, it seems. It’s all going (literally) to pot. I have to work four times harder to burn off the same serving of fries I ate as a 20-year old, but I am only three times older. This does not compute, as the Will Robinson’s robot friend said.

I am grateful to not only have access to good food, but also the will and ability to cook, and the ever-present assistance of the Internet and cooking shows (and my ridiculous cookbook collection) for inspiration. So many older people, almost nine million in the U.S. go hungry, because they lack the funds in retirement, cannot work, support other family members or must choose rent or medicine over food. Food insecurity hurts everyone anywhere, but especially so here, in one of the wealthiest nations on earth. If your food source is secure, and your biggest complaint is that you cannot eat as much or what you used to because your age is outpacing your appetite, help others who need it.

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