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A Healthy Diet for Just Peanuts?

The Idle's instincts seem to be right (surprise!), if this eating plan is legit : Forget the "important" meal of breakfast and wait to eat big, using an O.J.-water concoction and a few peanuts to tide you over.

The Bee-choodle and I were walking the other morning when the sun popped through the marine layer, and a glint in Susan B. Anthony’s eye caught my attention. I’ve found plenty of pennies, numerous nickels, dozens of dimes and even quite a few quarters on our daily sojourns, but this was my first $1 coin.

I’m not the super superstitious type—OK, I always wear something purple and something green when boarding any form of aircraft—but it’s got to be good fortune to find a heads-up dollar, right?

And, sure enough, almost immediately my luck got even better.

We soon happened upon a neighbor out for her morning walk and I noticed she was looking rather, shall we say, sleek. Me being me, I mentioned this, and she seemed quite pleased.

And then she invited me over to watch a video with her.

(And, no, this is not headed where you’re thinking ….)

 She explained that she had signed up for this healthy-eating program offered for free at her work called Naturally Slim. “It’s not that I needed to lose that much weight,” she quickly added. “I just don’t pass up anything that’s free. And it’s pretty interesting. It’s all about how to change your lifelong eating habits.”

The trick, apparently, is to consume food like the blessed among us, whom the program founder calls “true thins.” They are, she says, the kind of people you see on a plane who spread a napkin over their tray tables, pour out the complimentary peanuts and eat them slowly, one at a time, savoring every drawn-out chew.

(There’s what, like, seven peanuts in one of those bags? It’s not even a mouthful for us normal folks. I usually tear my package open, gulp down the contents and ask for another before the flight attendant has time to move down the aisle to the next row.)

But as the introductory video progressed, I couldn’t stop a self-satisfied smirk from freezing on my face. (And it wasn’t just because I could tell everybody a good-looking woman 20 years younger than I asked me over to watch a video.)

Providence was shining on me this morning.

You see, for years, my wife, Goggy, our daughters—and virtually everyone else I’ve met who has an opinion and a voice—have been telling me how unhealthy my eating patterns are.

“Breakfast is the most important meal,” they all repeat like parrots. And I don’t eat it. Two cups of coffee, three swigs out of the orange juice jug and a bottle of water is the breakfast of this champion. (Is chumpion a word?)

This practice, they say, bumps up the importance of the midday meal. Sorry. Lunch is usually one piece of beef jerky, two handfuls of mixed nuts and maybe another shot of O.J. out of the bottle. (Oddly, that’s not the first time “jerk,” “nuts” and “O.J.” have appeared in the same sentence.)

Dinner, which they all say should be the meal of moderation, looks like something out of a Henry the VIII movie … except Goggy won’t let me throw the ravaged bones over my shoulder. Too much meat, a huge salad with too much dressing, lots of green veggies with too much butter and, well, generally just too much.

That’s what they all say … except the director of this program, which is designed to get you to eat two—or better yet, one—meal a day.

That hokum about the significance of breakfast, she says, comes from our great-grandfather’s day, because great-granddad was probably a farmer and by the time he got around to that breakfast, he’d already put in four hours of backbreaking manual labor. (Last time I checked, pulling on your slippers and bending over to pick up the newspaper doesn’t qualify as backbreaking manual labor.)

Folks starting the program are encouraged to drink as much of a secret formula—seven parts water, one part orange juice—as they can and hold off eating their first meal of the day as long as possible. (Hmmm, I guess those three swigs of O.J. and a bottle of water in the morning make me a regular health nut.)

The video progresses and, amazingly, it gets better.

If you’ve reached a certain level of hunger that’s uncomfortable—and, by the way, a grumbling stomach doesn’t count, according to the program director, who says that is in no way an indication of true hunger—she suggests you use a “hunger saver,” which turns out to be a piece of beef jerky or a handful of—actually 17—peanuts.

Who knew? The Idle is a revolutionary founding father of America’s war against obesity! And he didn’t even know it.

About this column: John Weyler has lived in Orange County for almost 50 years. His weekly regional columns offer his unique, and often irreverent, take on life in the O.C.

Christina September 27, 2011 at 11:56 PM
Did you consult a doctor on this advice? Diets usually encourage eating smaller portions in regular intervals throughout the day so your body doesn't think its being starved and slow down your metabolism. For this diet most people would plateau within the first 20 days because they would simply be discouraging their body from metabolizing the food they do eat. Sounds pretty lame to me.
Paige Austin September 28, 2011 at 12:58 AM
So if peanuts are OK, does that open the door to peanut butter and chocolate ice cream? I just want to make sure I have the details of this diet right.
John Weyler September 28, 2011 at 02:45 PM
christina, i'm no nutritionist, but the idea of the orange juice/water concoction is to keep your blood sugar up and your metabolism going full steam... that's what they say, anyway... and, sorry, paige, they discourage sugar in the first few weeks anyway... i think the main thing is to discourage people from eating just because it's a standard time to eat and wait until they are really hungry... and then eat slowly...
Donna Williams September 28, 2011 at 03:43 PM
John I thought you were kidding and that your article was tongue in cheek. Does the diet video address metablism slowing down? That's what they always tell us when we don't eat for long periods of time.
John Weyler September 28, 2011 at 06:24 PM
it was the usual non-serious approach... and an attempt at being amusing. like i said earlier, the constant intake of a little orange juice is supposed to keep your metabolism up...

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