Still pining for peanut butter

Published 1:58 am Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dear Grady,

It’s been a year since you convinced my husband that he should adopt your ‘food plan,’ eschewing sugar, flour and butter to concentrate on lean protein, vegetables, fruit and grains.

As you know, he came home from the retreat in Conyers, Ga., handed me a copy of “From the first bite,” and said, “Read this and tell me what I can eat.” I did what any good wife would do: Read the book and put his “food plan” on a spreadsheet.

At first, I wasn’t interested in joining him. But when he began losing weight, I decided to pay closer attention. Soon we were purging the pantry and committed to a new lifestyle.

We adopted your practice of referring to favorite foods as “old friends,” and joked about how we missed them.

“Hello, old friend,” we’d say as we walked past the bread in the grocery. “Do you remember my old friend, chocolate?” I joked of my former go-to companion for stressful days.

Much as we both adore football season, we dreaded it. We just weren’t sure that football would be the same without snacks. I know that you’re familiar with our team? Alabama? There were a couple of those games this year I called “two packs.” That’s how much sugarless gum I chewed in the tense moments.

We learned to spend Sunday evenings preparing meals for the week, and adopted a habit of traveling with suitable foods. It was pretty radical stuff for a couple of self-proclaimed foodies who love trying new restaurants and cooking rich meals for family and friends.

But we both liked shedding extra pounds and soon realized that the foods we gave up really had caused us to feel sluggish. So we stuck with it, fearful that if we enjoyed one of our former “trigger” foods, we’d fall completely off the wagon and be back where we started.

After all, it had happened before. Atkins. Weight Watchers. The Zone. Each helped us live healthfully for a while, but none lasted.

Oh yes, Grady, like you, we’ve had a few “slips” these past months. There was that old-fashioned lemon meringue pie that Honey had at Christmas dinner, and I just couldn’t imagine Thanksgiving without a small serving of cornbread dressing.

Now we look forward to the healthier foods. I’m accustomed to being asked if I’m going home to make a pie when I buy the apples we’ll consume in a week. I suppose it does look odd to see a woman buying 18 to 20 apples.

So, Grady, on the anniversary of this introduction, I must admit that mostly, I like this plan that you gave us. There’s just this one thing.

When you see my old friend Peanut Butter, would you tell him that I’m sorry we had to break up and I still pine for him every day?

Thanks, Grady. I’d really appreciate it.