No Flour, No Sugar

I can’t recall exactly where I heard about the fad diet proposed by Dr. Peter Gott. His plan is simple: eliminate all milled grains and added sugars from your diet, and safely lose 1-2 lbs every week. For added bonus, be sure to exercise and watch your portions. Presto! Weight loss!

Now, dieting and weight loss are not really subjects I know anything about. What little I do know is that when the Romgi and I started eating more fresh foods, cutting down the amount of processed foods we ate, and trying to get a good balance of nutrients, we felt great. Sadly, we didn’t keep it up very long, but while we did, eating was fun — and so was cooking. There seemed to be more options for what we could eat, because there are thousands upon thousands of recipes that use basics like chicken, spinach, herbs, etc. Salads are a great side dish, a light dessert once a week is heavenly, and life in general is getting better and better.

So I ask you. Why would you eliminate flour from your diet? Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t think flour is the bad guy here. Personally, I love bread. Krista gets extra rolls from her catering job and I eat six at a time. Yeah, I know, that isn’t moderation. But think for a minute. Isn’t the key to every successful diet finding the right combination of exercise, smaller portions, and healthy food? People have been eating milled grains for centuries, right, and they’ve been ok so far! The bigger problem is that as Americans we have little or no self-control; sure, trying to eliminate all flour and sugar from your diet will test your self-control, but I fully believe that it is much healthier to form eating habits that seek for balance. “No flour, no sugar” is an extreme, and I don’t particularly like extremes (except for some gospel ones: All people will be resurrected, for example).

That about finishes my tirade. I’m going to go eat some pizza now.

Oh, and here’s the link to Dr. Gott’s revolutionary book.

The Austere Academy

by Lemony Snicket

Well, I struck out with Book the Fourth, but The Austere Academy was almost a page-turner. This was the first time that I felt like the ending compelled me to go check out the next book as soon as possible. And no disgusting death scenes, either!

I was glad the Baudelaire orphans finally had someone their own age to talk to, and I’m sure the new characters will reappear in later books. I’ll let you know when I find out.

Until then, I plan to keep reading!

The Miserable Mill

by Lemony Snicket

I know that trains killing people in cars, herpetologists being murdered, and old widows mysteriously dying are not really topics for children’s books, but the Series of Unfortunate Events present such things in a way that kids might conceivably ok reading about (especially after Harry Potter). That’s why I was a little surprised that in Book the Fourth, The Miserable Mill, someone is actually sliced up by the lumbermill saw. Not just surprised — totally grossed out. Honestly, who puts that in a kid’s book?

I might even go so far as to say that this is my least favorite of the books I’ve read so far. The gruesome death wasn’t all that did it; the plot seemed too contrived this time. It didn’t feel like it flowed “naturally” (insofar as these unfortunate events are natural) as did the others, although there were, as always, hilarious remarks from the narrator.

Since at this point — having read Book the Fifth — I don’t recall anything in Book the Fourth that is crucial to the plot, I might say skip it. But then again, it’s a quick read, it probably won’t ruin your life, and I think you could really go either way.

Sorry, Lemony Snicket.

Good things to come

Just thought I’d give you a preview of what I’ll be reading in the next few weeks…

Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot. This famous work of the theater of the absurd involves two men who are waiting by a tree for Godot, who never arrives. Like Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, the conversation is more important than the setting; here the entire “tragicomedy” takes place in one location.

Feist, Raymond E. Betrayal at Krondor. I’ve read the Riftwar Saga, and I’ve watched the Romgi play the game that inspired this book, so now it’s time to continue forward with characters both new and familiar.

Haig, Matt. The Dead Fathers Club. Eleven-year-old Philip Noble has a big problem. It all begins when his dad appears as a ghost at his own funeral and introduces Philip to the Dead Fathers Club. Philip learns the truth about ghosts: the only people who end up as ghosts have been murdered. So begins Philip’s quest to avenge his dad.

Snicket, Lemony. The Miserable Mill. Accidents, evil plots, and general misfortune abound when, in their continuing search for a home, the Beaudelaire orphans are sent to live and work in a sinister lumber mill.

Winterson, Jeanette. Tanglewreck. Eleven-year-old Silver sets out to find the Timekeeper–a clock that controls time–and to protect it from falling into the hands of two people who want to use the device for their own nefarious ends.

Give me a gold star

Yesterday I got a letter in the mail saying that I’m on the Dean’s List for the College of Family, Home, & Social Sciences for Fall 2007! Huzzah! At the risk of being a little too impressed with myself, maybe I’ll go find the actual list itself and take a picture…

Too Late the Phalarope

by Alan Paton

Having read Cry, the Beloved Country in high school, and having thoroughly enjoyed it, I always meant to get around to Paton’s other well-known work. This weekend I unpacked a box of books that was gathering dust in our apartment, and decided to read for a while before I went to bed.

The book had a completely different feel from Cry, the Beloved Country, although the writing style was (obviously) similar. It has been likened to a modern-day Greek tragedy, with an admirable hero whose one weakness brings destruction not only on himself but upon his family; the narrator is his aunt, and selections from the hero’s own writing add depth to the story.

Although some readers assume that Too Late the Phalarope is about apartheid or Puritanical morals, I disagree. What I saw as the central theme of the book was the inability to let other people see weakness, even if they can help. The protagonist had countless opportunities to stop the destruction he knew would come — but each time his silence won. In a way it reminded me of people who suffer from depression and are unable to admit their need, are unable or unwilling to cry out.

If you’ve read Cry, the Beloved Country (and liked it), I definitely think you should give this book a try. The writing is captivating, the story compelling. However, Cry, the Beloved Country is in many ways a richer, more textured work that may be easier and more enjoyable for many people to read.

Ella Enchanted

When I first bought my own copy of Ella Enchanted, the Romgi was on his mission in Korea. Our communication with each other was limited to writing letters. Although it was frustrating at times to not be able to talk with him in person, or even in real time by phone or instant messaging, I really think it did us good to have delayed communication. It meant that each letter was thoughtful, carefully worded, important.

Tonight I read Ella Enchanted again before bed. I love Char’s letters to Ella and the way she describes wanting to tell him jokes and send him recipes, to have him there as a friend. At the risk of sounding a little too sappy, I’d like to say how glad I am that the Romgi and I got to be such close friends by writing letters, and how wonderful it is to be married now.

Especially when I can’t sleep because the stereo in the other room is making weird noises that sound like a burglar in the house, and the Romgi loves me enough to get up in the middle of the night to turn it off. What a husband.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can combine all of the literary men I always thought would be wonderful husbands (Prince Char, Taran, Adaon), and they don’t compare to my real-life best friend.

I think that satisfies my monthly sappy post quota…