Palabras Pintorescas - Chocolate cravings and diet studies

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By Editha Bartley

The happy days, known as holidays, do have a way of catching up with us. Just one more piece of Mom’s special fudge or that last piece of chocolate pie does have a way of ending up as a pound or two of extra weight we all end up carrying around. The ever-present news media don’t let us forget it, either.

The science section of a recent Time magazine is devoted to a recent study of the Italian diet that was ignored for so long by researchers. They discovered and studied a small area of Italy where circumstances prevented the inhabitants from eating all the rich foods most of the rest of us eat. The olive oil, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, and whole grains, plus beans prevented heart attacks, promoted long life, and created almost no problems with weight gain and so much more. Sadly the introduction of our fast food diet has changed all of that.

My doctor father had a diet that always worked, if one was to stick with it. It was so simple his patients often questioned it. He always said, “just eat less, and use a smaller plate.” It does work, and I just tested it again. I can lose about three pounds a month on this diet, but I can eat anything I want (I too tend to get those crazy cravings!).

Doc was so interested in diet and health in the 1950’s he convinced Dr. Lora Shields, our biology department head at Highlands University to work with him on a research study of the native northern New Mexican diet. This was expanded to include cholesterol and tri-glyceride research as well. Doc was happily surprised to discover that the pinto bean, green and red chile, adequate quantities of various meats, plus the addition of garden fresh vegetables was indeed very healthy.

Included in that diet was lard, which ultimately became the bad fat that everyone should avoid. Now science says lard is one of the fats our bodies can safely digest.

Doc would love to hear that because one of his favorite sandwiches was made from his mother’s homemade dark rye bread, spread with homemade lard, then liberally sprinkled with sugar. Yes, he was healthy, had most of his teeth, and low cholesterol levels when he died at age 89.

Several of my healthy and mature neighbors eat jalapenos in some fashion every day. They, too, are healthy and I have just learned in my reading and research that jalapenos can cure acid reflux in some patients. That sounds far-fetched, but who am I to argue?

Doc and Dr. Shields would be completely surprised by the dozens of diet items sold in both grocery and big box stores. And Doc would really be pleased to learn that dark chocolate is very good for us.
He was an addict when it came to chocolate and dark chocolate in any form. Somehow I suspect that is an inherited addiction, passed down from generation to generation. So there, kids and grandkids — now you know where that chocolate craving comes from! What’s not to enjoy, thanks to Mr. Hershey!

Editha Bartley lives in Gascon in Mora County. She may be reached at 454-0563.