The Richmond Register

September 3, 2013

For old folks, staying healthy isn’t easy

By Dick Ham
Register Columnist

RICHMOND — I was just thinking the other day about how difficult it is for those of us who are old to stay healthy.

There are so many things we should do, and even more we should not do, and the rules change so often we stay confused.

First of all, we are told we must exercise. Some purchase equipment to use at home for that purpose. Others join the YMCA or a health club. Walking is highly recommended and that is something nearly everyone can do.

We are urged to get adequate rest. We are told that seven hours a night is recommended. I wonder how to count the unplanned naps in my recliner.

Then there is diet. Fat is forbidden, as is red meat, sugar and salt.

We are told that milk is nourishing but only if it is the low fat variety. We should not eat fried foods but my, how much better so many foods are when fried.

Soda pop is a bad choice, especially if it is the regular variety rather than sugar free.

For years, we’ve been told that caffeine is bad, now all of a sudden we learn it has benefits and is not bad after all.

Now there is GLUTEN.

I must admit, I don’t ever remember hearing that word until it became such a health issue, and is to be totally avoided. I asked someone, “What exactly is gluten?”

I was told it is wheat. Now think about what life would be like when being forced to avoid wheat.

I looked for a definition for gluten and I found two.

GLUTEN: a mixture of proteins, tough, elastic, tasteless. Present in cereals and found in larger amounts in northern wheat. It gives dough adhesiveness.

GLUTEN: a gray, sticky, nutritious mixture of proteins, found in wheat and other grain. The word in the second definition that jumped out at me was nutritious.

Without gluten, there would be no bread. Sandwiches without bread, a hamburger or hot dog without a bun, no dinner rolls, no cornbread, no sweet rolls and certainly no donuts that have both wheat and sugar. Cake and cookies will no longer be tolerated.

Most of the breakfast cereals we urged our kids to eat will be eliminated. Nutri-gain and protein bars of various kinds will be no more.

Then there are crackers. Saltines, snack crackers, pretzels all will be forbidden. That will mean soup without crackers. How then will we eat peanut butter? If we can’t put it on bread or crackers, must we just eat it from a spoon?

I like peanut butter so well, I’ll eat it from a spoon if that is the only way it is permitted.

Perhaps we can still eat pie and pizza, if we avoid the crust.

I think about breakfast as I have always eaten it. Bacon or sausage, fried, will be a no-no because of the grease and fat. The grease certainly makes a fried egg taste better.

With no gluten there will be no biscuits and none of that wonderful gravy to go on them. Not only will there be no biscuits, there will also be no toast, and certainly no pancakes or waffles.

How many of you enjoy Italian spaghetti, lasagna, or soup with noodles? Pasta will be forbidden as well, it is made with wheat.

Grocery stores are putting gluten-free foods together in a display to assist shoppers who are trying to stay gluten free.

All of this disturbs me. Will I ever again be able to enjoy food and stay healthy?

See how you like this definition. No fat, no sugar, no salt, no gluten = tasteless!


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