This is one of the things that goes with food. Particularly in countries with great cooking traditions, which I am inclined to think goes hand in hand with Catholic culture because of these reasons: first, people are typically fun-loving and fun to be with and savor plenty of festivities and family events to celebrate and secondly, they are not averse to layering/combining/enriching flavors. For this is what I have noticed in truly good Catholic art–food, architecture, literature etc. It draws on more than one layers of meaning, source, nuance, style, symbolism. When Catholic design great, graphic artist Massimo Vignelli wrote to the Vatican proposing a redesign of the Vatican coat-of-arms suggesting a simple minimalist stark cross symbol, the Vatican in typical diplomatic fashion simply answered him in silence. Because though a faithful Catholic drawing lots of students for his kindness and generosity (his obits are effusive) he may have missed an essence of the Catholic spirit. It is Catholic. Wide-embracing, far-reaching, deep and enduring. So meaning is not only for the now, but for forever. It seeks to delight as well as to instruct. It is not pared down but so rich in power. The Word after all has Christological, eschatological (church), moral (personal) and literal meanings. So food in the Catholic style would have to be, not the three-simple-ingredient fare (which my husband had banned me for rightful reasons), but for meals that without breaking the bank would have possibly another counter flavor of cheese, spice, earthy tones, savory hints aside from the main one. Lasagna would have ricotta and parmesan; Italian meatballs, basil and oregano. Even in Asian cooking, there is soy and salt, even patis (fish sauce) in one dish but salt overload is for another day.
My hope is to get the conversation going on diabetes, which is very common and very lethal.
A very good friend of mine is currently admitted for kidney biopsy and he shows the full systemic dangers of the disease–his eyes have poor vision and glaucoma and retinopathy; his heart, dilated; his kidneys, failing; his extremities, numb and prone to infections. As a healthy active child with loving parents (jackpot with his stay-at-home mom) there was one thing he didn’t quite have a habit of which he cannot be blamed entirely: carb-awareness. He was given pies, pasta and sandwiches all in the loving context of comfort and sustenance but it was white flour- and simple-sugar-based. There were little whole wheat variety then, no whole grain alternatives like we have now, but this is a reminder that we all could use at any stage, because we can still do diet modification and make good progress. This is just good to note before the Easter dinners begin, for even when we say this pie or this sweet is okay in moderation, a lot of them are not in moderation successively.
Advice? The book Fat to Skinny has great no-nonsense tips. It was written by an obese and diabetic patient desperate to get back to decent health. Now his advice is supported by many doctors and people who have followed his advice show their before- and after-pictures to great encouragement. And did I tell you there is no exercise involved, but he says that it will certainly hasten your progress if you add it. Because it is written for the average person, I delight in its simplicity. This topic is after all personal change. The simple kaizen-like baby-steps taken one at a time over three weeks will become habits which will become lifestyles.
Some other simple things from that book and other reading:
Ban sweets, soda and sugar.
Ban fruits except berries.
Ban the super-starchy (corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, white rice or white flour).
Get your carb content from veggies which are starch too (the food pyramid classifies fruits and veggies as carbs, believe it or not, but it make sense because it is eventually their metabolic end) but the not above super-starchy ones
Eat over twenty minutes long: pad the time with conversation, sips of water, with clear soup, with salad greens, through using fork, chopsticks or baby spoon, so that feeling of fullness will set-in and there will be less overeating for the same amount of chow time done speedily.
If you have to do seconds, put half of what you have gotten initially and no more.
And finally from Our Mother in Medjugorje, fast twice a week. Wednesday and Friday, I do one meal less which is how Lenten regulations define fast, but some do the bread and water bit the whole day. Let me share that it helps in temptation as well as weight control.
Jesus fasted for forty days. Few people have achieved that, though I have met a man who has eaten only the Eucharist for 42 days and was fine, becoming, in his words, even more spiritualized than when he started. There were saints in history who have survived on very little nourishment, again the Eucharist sustaining them for years. One recent example was the Blessed Alexandrina da Costa. Which goes on saying, we cannot concentrate only on our body and physical food without nourishing our spiritual side as well.