In the past couple of months I have been trying to eat a lot healthier. While I’d like to lose some weight, my primary motivation is just to take care of myself better. So I’ve been increasing the fruits and vegetables and whole grains in my diet and completely cutting out junk food. What do you know? It works! I do feel better!
The only problem is I am trying to eat healthy in Louisiana. Anyone who has tried to eat healthy in Louisiana knows what I’m talking about.
In the many years I spent traveling around the country with my band I had the opportunity to sample the cuisine of nearly half the states in the U.S. I am convinced that if I lived in Michigan or Indiana I would not have that much trouble eating healthy. It’s not that these regions are particularly known for their health food. It’s that they are not known for food period (or at least any of the food in which I am interested). Now this is not a slight to any of my friends or readers from those states. It’s just the food down in the south, particularly in Louisiana, is just so dang good. Louisiana doesn’t have the highest rates in heart disease and cancer because life is just so stressful down here. It’s because of the food:
Smoked sausage, fried catfish, shrimp and crawfish etouffee, gumbo, bread pudding, fried chicken, barbeque… and the list goes on.
There is a saying down here – “In most parts of the country you eat to live, but down here you live to eat!”
Eating healthy down here is definitely swimming against the cultural currents. Just in this last week I have turned down cake, barbequed chicken and ribs, jambalaya, and donuts—food offered by kind friends who just wanted to bless me. I have come to realize that it is the kindness of others that is killing me as much as anything living in Louisiana. So I am having to not only try to eat healthy but to turn down the daily acts of culinary kindness shown to me by my friends. Every time I turn down a friends offer off food I feel like a jerk, like I don’t want to participate in community on the food level, or like I’m being some kind of food snob.
I’m sure I won’t resist their kindness forever.
I can’t, the assault is so relentless!
But for now I will live healthy and feel like a bit of a jerk.
That’s it for now because I’ve got to go eat some carrots.