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“Veggies to Diet For”

By Jerry Zezima

Since my cardiologist put me on a Mediterranean diet, I have been looking forward to a daily meal of spaghetti and meatballs or a few slices of pepperoni pizza.

Instead, I get the uneasy feeling I will be eating prodigious quantities of another Italian-sounding food: zucchini.

To put it mildly, I am not a fan of zucchini. Or squash of any kind. Nor, for that matter, do I like most vegetables.

“They’re good for you,” said Dr. Rohit Maini. “And they are an important part of a Mediterranean diet.”

“I can’t afford to go to Italy every day,” I told him.

“You don’t have to,” Dr. Maini replied. “But if you do, send me a postcard.”

“What else is good for me?” I asked.

“Legumes, fish, fruit, eggs and white meat,” the doctor said.

“White meat tastes like chicken,” I noted.

“It does,” Dr. Maini said. “But it shouldn’t be fried. Remove the skin. It’s bad for you. So are processed foods.”

“Like what?” I inquired.

“Cold cuts,” the doctor said.

“Too late,” I countered. “I’m already full of baloney.”

“Is your wife in charge of meals?” Dr. Maini wondered.

“Yes,” I responded. “She’s a great cook. And she has kept me alive and healthy for the past 46 years.”

“Good,” he said. “Tell her to keep it up. Bon appetit!”

When I told Sue what Dr. Maini told me, she said, “You’re already on a Mediterranean diet.”

“Is that why you insist on feeding me so many vegetables?” I asked.

“Yes,” Sue said. “In fact, you’re having broccoli tonight.”

She has already made certain concessions, such as not buying cold cuts anymore. And she doesn’t serve red meat too often.

At my request, she has cut back on buying snacks like popcorn and instead buys almonds.

“I’m nuts about them,” I said.

But I have some questions that even science can’t seem to answer. Such as: Why did eggs used to be good for you, then were considered bad but now are good again?

“I don’t know,” Sue admitted.

I don’t, either, which is why every Saturday morning I make myself a big breakfast consisting of two eggs (scrambled or sunny-side up) and three sausage links.

Sausage supposedly isn’t good for me because of the cholesterol, but eggs can raise cholesterol and they’re OK to have again. Go figure.

It’s the same with one of my favorite meals, hot dogs and beans, which Sue frequently makes.

“Beans are good for you,” Sue said. “Hot dogs aren’t.”

“I guess it makes for a balanced meal,” I said.

I like fish, except those that have no taste, which is most of them unless they have been smothered in teriyaki sauce, or those that have supposedly been filleted but still have little bones that end up getting stuck in my teeth.

Fruit is fine except for pineapple, which is more pine than apple and is the only thing about Hawaii, where Sue and I honeymooned, that isn’t heavenly. Pineapple is in almost everything there, including, I think, toothpaste.

That brings me back to vegetables. I actually don’t hate most of them. The ones I like are asparagus, red and green peppers, and string beans. Eggplant is OK, too.

Then there is broccoli, which Sue serves often because of its nutritional value. It’s not really so bad unless it’s served with skinless chicken. Same goes for cauliflower, which is broccoli’s cousin twice removed. Sometimes I think it should be.

The vegetable I really detest is squash, which is what I would like to do to it.

“You’ll eat squash if I disguise it,” Sue said.

“With what, a mask?” I asked.

“I’ll put cheese and hot sauce on it,” she said. “Or I can grill it.”

“You mean it has to be incinerated to make it palatable?” I said.

“Your choice,” Sue said. “But you are going to eat it.”

“I suppose it’s part of my Mediterranean diet,” I conceded. “But this weekend, so you don’t have to cook, let’s send out for pizza.”

Copyright 2024 by Jerry Zezima

Originally Published on http://jerryzezima.blogspot.com

Jerry Zezima Humorist, Author, Public Nuisance

I write a humor column for Tribune News Service, which distributes it to papers nationwide and abroad. If you have ever wondered why the newspaper industry is in trouble, it would be because of me.

As a chilling example of just how low journalistic standards have sunk, I have won many awards, including seven for humorous writing from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

I have a strong social media presence, I have made many radio and television appearances, I have done several YouTube videos, I am a popular public speaker, and I am writing a sitcom. If you think TV is bad now, wait until my show gets on the air.

I live on Long Island, N.Y., with my wife, Sue. We have two daughters, five grandchildren and many creditors. I have no interesting hobbies.

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