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I think I've looked considered all of them, South Beach, Atkins, Forks over Knives, and even the Eat Nothing but Grass and Drink Nothing but Osmosiffied Water Until You Puke diet, and I think I've finally got things figured out.  They all have good, convincing arguments about some of their recommended foods, but each of them leads me to feel a little dissatisfied, or more accurately ... hungry. With that reality in mind, follow me below the scrambled eggy thing as I now propose - ta daa- The Combination Diet.

Here's how it works. On Sundays, which is usually the day of celebrations like Easter, family gatherings, the Super Bowl, and the nearest day off to a birthday, I follow the Spiderman Diet.  For other holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving, I just pretend they are Sundays so I can follow the Spiderman Diet.  The Spiderman Diet, as professed by the actor who played Spidey, Tobey Maguire, consists of eating very little for six days, mostly restricted calories, no sugar, and mostly vegetables, except for one day a week - Sunday for me - in which he will eat anything he wants.  Often that is a trip to a restaurant with the best pizza, or Lombardino's fantastic pasta, or maybe even The Weary Traveler for Bob's Bad Breath Burger. After all, following a strict diet for six days per week and enjoying yourself one day a week can't be too harmful and doesn't make me feel so deprived that I slip and binge on a Wednesday.

On Mondays, I follow the South Beach diet, which cuts out sugar, most processed foods, but allows whole grains and fruit, provided they are not going to cause a spike on the glycemic index.  The diet's designer, Dr. A. (Not Atkins, but I can't spell his name correctly) has a soft spot for the German Oktoberfest, so he allows beer then.  Some have transferred that holiday to St. Patty's Day, which is absurd because St. Patty's Day is only one day, and Oktoberfest is a whole month.  I think drinking a lot of beer for a whole month could be harmful, so I've stretched it out to just Sundays and Mondays to allow a beer for family gatherings, the Bears vs. the Packers on Sunday, and any team that plays on Monday night. The Oktoberfest observation of this otherwise strict diet gives me 31 days of drinking a beer or two, enough to cover most of the NFL season.  A bonus is that on Sundays and Monday nights, I get to have hot buttered popcorn with my beer, since popcorn is an unprocessed whole grain.  I believe sea salt is unprocessed, so I can use that too. I use a little butter because I live in Wisconsin, and obviously if you live in Wisconsin, butter is its own food group. For breakfast I eat granola or oatmeal and think about popcorn.  For lunch or during a late afternoon game, I eat something lean like chili made with bison, beans, onions, salsa, and chili powder. I like the South Beach Diet because it works for me on Modays.

On Tuesdays, I follow the Forks Over Knives diet, which is vegetarian and frowns on anything dairy related. This day is sometimes difficult because the University of Wisconsin makes their own amazing ice cream in Babcock Hall, and their butter pecan – never mind, I can't even think about it now. The problem is that Babcock hall is almost right on the bike path near our house, and if I try to ride on another route, I pass either the Student Union South, or the Memorial Union on the Lake, and they both serve - you know what. Anyway, on Tuesdays, I eat oatmeal made with vanilla almond milk and put in a lot of maple syrup because that's vegetarian on the Forks Over Knives diet. Then I have a big salad for lunch with beans and olives, and mixed vegetables and spinach and lettuce, and I make a dressing with vegenaise and hot sauce and four or five other spices, usually whatever is in the front of our spice cabinet.  In the afternoon I eat a lot of pretzels or blue chips and red pepper hummus.  For dinner, my wife makes a great potato leek soup with almond milk and a bunch of other stuff I can't pronounce like tahiti seeds (or something like that) and seminolia (or something like that). On Tuesdays I eat a lot of stuff that I don't really know what it is.  No hot, buttered popcorn, but that's okay because there aren't many football games on Tuesdays.  Sometimes we'll have something like billyrubin pasta with tomato sauce and extra mushrooms, and something fake like tofu turkey sausages (which taste like chicken).  Usually I'll follow the dictum of an "apple a week" on Tuesdays and add some nuts, especially salted cashews.  I don’t like the Forks Over Knives Diet, but I can do it for one day.

On Wednesdays I follow the Atkins diet, which allows for lean meat, fish, eggs, and all the other stuff not on the other diets.  I don't ignore vegetables, but I'm okay with eating broccoli with melted cheddar on top, and next to that, a steak, or some chicken with some kind of sauce or spices on it. Since butter isn't okay, I tried using allowable oil like olive oil, but I don't recommend it.  Popcorn made with olive oil tastes like.... um... olives gone bad. Did I mention steak?

On Thursdays I follow the Caveman Diet.  It's also called the Paleo diet and consists of anything cavemen and cavewomen might eat, including meat, fish, eggs, and plants.  It's really hard to find dinosaur and mammoth steaks, so I substitute cousins like buffalo burgers, pheasants (as close as I can come to pterodactyl meat, which I hear tastes just like chicken), and real old species like catfish, shrimp, and lobster.  I usually start with scrambled eggs, and then move on to anything a caveman might find or hunt after breakfast.  I limit myself to drinking water on those days or maybe fermented grapes or accidentally distilled malt. Sometimes there is football on Thursdays, and I thought it would be okay to eat those little goldfish cracker things that taste like bad cheese, but my wife convinced me that eating something shaped like a fish was not as legitimate as eating the actual thing.  The caveman diet also allows for dried fruit like raisins, but I hate raisins because they're nothing but dead grapes, so I only eat one of them on Thursdays.  I know the cave people probably didn't have beer, but I think beer nuts are okay; they just called them something else like yum-yums.  I eat lots of yum-yums on Thursdays.

On Fridays I follow the Mediterranean Diet, which basically means I can eat anything the Eurpeans eat, meat, fish, pasta, olives, vegetables in season, and a little cheese for dessert (they say, "fromage or dessert"), but I have to eat it slowly, sort of like grazing all day long, and I have to take a siesta, and some long walks, usually to Babcock Hall.  It looks to me like the Mediterranean Diet isn't so much about what you eat as it is about how you eat it.  Sometimes I don't finish eating until after midnight.  I think the idea is to eat a little bit of everything, not a quarter-pounder, just a single White Castle, no wait, those are processed, just a single meat ball, and then very slowly another one, and then later on some pasta, and another meat ball, then maybe some salad, and another meat ball, and some olives, and then another meat ball, and just keep going throughout the day and night.  I love the French and Italians and Greeks.  They've existed for thousands of years eating this way.

On Saturdays, I follow the Macrobiotic Diet, which is a very old sort of zen diet, starting with brown rice, some "live" vegetables, sauces, and some fish. It's a lot like the Mediterranean Diet because you can eat a "balance" of almost anything like "a little brown rice and water" to be balanced by "a little spicy pepperoni pizza," and then some sauteed vegetables followed by file of sole a la Oscar.  In between, you have to meditate by counting breaths and then going to your "happy place," at least in your mind.  I usually go to Babcock Hall then. If you can't concentrate, just say "Om - e - lette" over and over again.  The other thing that's good about the Macrobiotic Diet, is that is matches college football days, so if your team scores, you can eat some jambalaya, which is mostly rice, and if the other team scores, you have to eat a piece of dried fruit, usually one raisin.  

So that's my weekly diet, and it works for me.  I don't recommend that you follow my plan, though, because it's so exacting, unforgiving, and as difficult to follow as preparing fried snark correctly, that's right, fried snark.

Originally posted to Flyfish100 on Fri Apr 13, 2012 at 07:19 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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