New Diet Plan Fried

Here I am, back to do my duties for the Sunday Ragtag Daily Prompt, and today the word is ICE CREAM.

I picked this prompt a few weeks back when I thought the weather would be pretty hot, but we’ve had about the coolest summer I can remember here on the prairies. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little tale.

THE NEW DIET PLAN

Ice Dr + chick.Andy M.
Image by Andy M at Pixabay

One evening Abby dropped in to visit her friend and noticed an unusual poster on the wall. “Hey, Terri, I see you have a new poster. But what’s with the chicken and ice cream cone?”

“It’s a great new diet plan. It’s called the ‘Death By Association Diet.’ You know how much I love ice cream, right? So the idea is, I look at this poster everyday and think of a chicken pecking at an ice cream cone. Then, by association, whenever I’m hungry for ice cream I’ll think of a chicken messing in it. That will kill my craving for ice cream.”

“Well… I guess that is a new approach to dieting.”

“So what do you think? Should work, shouldn’t it?”

Abby considered the poster a moment before answering. “I think it’s making me hungry. Why don’t we get some nuggets and fries at Chick-Fill-Eh?, then stop for dessert at Dairy Duchess.”

“Sorry I asked! You just fried my new diet plan,” Terri exclaimed, ripping the poster off the wall. “Now I’ll never get that association out of my mind.”

Sandwich Spread

Sandwich.freeThe Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is SANDWICH

You’re all welcome to join the fun and post a poem, prose, photo, pertaining to the noble SANDWICH. And since I was the one who offered this prompt, I’d better respond, too. Here’s a little story my mom-in-law once told.

Years ago a busy mother, approaching middle age and broadening her…er…personal horizon, was visiting her doctor and he was concerned about her weight problem. (This was back in the 50s, while it was politically okay for a doctor to mention such things.)

“Your heart’s under too much strain, Helen. I think for your heart, and for the good of your overall health, that you’d better take off some of that weight.”

Helen sighed. “I’ve tried cutting back, but I just can’t seem to lose a pound. Even when I eat less and am on the run all day, I still don’t lose weight.”

“What foods do you normally eat?”

“Whatever I can put between two slices of bread.”

“Ah!” The doctor smiled. “Let’s start there.”

Of Puffer fish & Willpower

after weeks of
cleansing fast  a large pizza
her puffer fish act

Another haiku with a story behind it.

Twenty-some years back I met a lady in her mid-forties; in time she became a dear friend. Was it because of her dysfunctional childhood, or the accident she was in that left her in a coma for twelve days, or maybe some of both? At any rate, you’d have to say she was emotionally unbalanced — and had been attending a church where emotional responses were often stirred and encouraged. She was cheerful, likeable, outgoing — but not very disciplined or stable.

At some point she had accepted the concept cleansing fasts, and even discovered a retreat in the country where she could go and cleanse her body of all the impurities tainting our modern diet. In addiction to the physical benefits, she felt that fasting brought her closer to God and told me that one time she had actually fasted for 40 days, just like Jesus. However, I suspect the dream of getting back to a slimmer figure hovered not far in the background.

My dear friend had a couple of weaknesses that affected her health. Like most of us, she was fond of tasty food — which included baking and other sweets. Plus, she smoked — a habit she didn’t like at all. So she viewed going to this retreat for a month or so, where she neither eat nor smoke, was a blessing four-fold: she could relax in a no-pressure environment, lose weight, crack the nicotine habit, and gain spiritually.

We visited her there a couple of times. It appeared she had nothing much to do at this retreat except relax, read, meditate, and detoxify in the small room she was given. There were a number of other guests, with a nurse present 24/7 to make sure no one suffered serious health problems because of the regime. When my friend’s fast was over she was put on a juice diet for a couple of days to re-adjust her body to food. Then she paid the rather hefty bill — this place was into making money as well as healing bodies — and went home.

This “coming back to the real world” got me involved one day — and my involvement brings me to story behind the senryu I’ve penned.

Early one morning my phone rang; my friend was telling me she needed watermelon and could I help her out? Could I buy one and bring it to her apartment? (She didn’t own a car.) She explained that she’d just got home from spending several weeks at the retreat and her body was reacting negatively to food. She needed watermelon to “flush out the salt” being retained in her tissues.

I didn’t know much about what fruits & veggies have diuretic properties, but she mentioned a few and was glad to help. I picked up these foods and went over to her place, where I heard the facts of her current health issue.

When she got home from her fast she’d been so hungry, she ordered an extra-large pizza and ate the whole thing. Her body was reacting big time to the sudden overload.

Reading history I’ve learned this isn’t an uncommon reaction for people who’ve been starved for a time. Their brain registers FOOD! and common sense is lost among the impulses. Their hands automatically start stuffing and people may even eat themselves to death. For my friend, all that salt in her pizza spread through her system, causing her tissues retain fluid until she was uncomfortably bloated.

Maybe puffer fish is an exaggeration, but the simile came to me and I thought it an interesting comparison.

In time my friend discovered one long-term side-effect of those prolonged fasts: starving drains your bones of much-needed minerals like calcium. One day she tripped going down some stairs and broke her leg. Her doctor, after seeing the x-ray, told her, “Your shattered bone looks just like corn flakes.”

It seems self-discipline and will power are rather like muscles. If we don’t use them, they become limp. Bypassing self-discipline in favor of complete abstinence, she short-circuited her willpower. Later, faced with the same temptations, she caved. Food and cigarettes became chronic problems. I won’t say that fasting is either wrong or harmful, in moderation, but nothing can build up the muscles of self-control, or deliver us from our vices, like the day-by-day exercise of resisting temptation.

Sad to say, my friend didn’t live long enough to reap the benefits of all that system-cleansing, either. Shortly after she turned 65 she was diagnosed with intestinal cancer and died a year or so later.

I think of her often, and miss visiting with her.

An Un-Fun Haiku

pill by pill
I put my pain away
prickly spines

Where I’m at today. Not feeling the greatest Sunday afternoon and woke up yesterday morning with something “out” in my lower back. I could hardly walk. Thankfully I’m a little more mobile this morning, but not out of the woods yet.

If you’re young and your spine is supple, do take time every day to keep it that way. This is no fun! 😦