I sat there eating a great big hunk of steak while I read The Greg Diet: the Busy Person’s Answer To Better Health. It was an automatic epic fail, and my fork took a brief pause midway between my mouth and the plate. The book advised me to reduce the amount of meat in my diet, since sources of protein are not scarce in the modern diet, and here I was, consuming a large portion of a cow.
In my defense, I had spent all day in K9 training for search and rescue and had gone more than 8 miles through some ankle-turning, rocky terrain – at least according to my wearable fitness device. For this brief moment, the bold, red bars on the device were not screaming at me to get up and move. But the honest truth of my workout was that I had gone probably around 6 miles. The other 2 miles were accounted for by having the device, along with my whole body, vigorously shaken by Nitro, a 120 lb dog transitioning from explosive detection to finding lost people. As befits a find during search dog training, we had played a highly enthusiastic version of tug-of-war to reward him for finding me. And for those of you who follow the blog, yes, my new front teeth are still intact after this event.
The Greg Diet is heavy on vegetables and fruits, while not ignoring protein and carbs, just minimizing their consumption. Unlike a lot of what I consider unhealthy diet advice, I look at the Greg Diet as a balanced diet that is really more of a re-balancing of a typical modern diet. There is also nothing esoteric in the food described – all of it is easily sourced in a conventional grocery store. Also, no foods are forbidden (especially fruit – see what I did there?) and you’re allowed to deviate during holidays. I like a diet that cuts you some slack, because mark my words, there will be chocolate.
In Soul Search, food plays a big part in main character Fia’s life. Laying to rest unquiet spirits leads to an erratic and energetic lifestyle, resulting in missed meals and a perpetual hunger. Unfortunately for anyone who dines with her, the poor woman lacks any semblance of table manners when she is at last able to sate her appetite. We can blame this shortcoming on Fia’s unusual upbringing. Diagnosed as a severely psychotic child, she spent most of her childhood in an institution where this sort of training was very low on the priority list of life skills that would bring her social acceptance. Having recently experienced a”Fia moment,” I feel her pain.
The occasion was the celebration of Rich’s birthday and we treated ourselves to a meal at a nice restaurant. On the menu was this restaurant’s version of a Caesar salad, which included a large chunk of something unidentifiable that was certifiably hard, crunchy, and difficult to maneuver on the plate. Attacking it with a fork and knife resulted in a portion of this chunk flying off the plate, accompanied by a few croutons and some dressing. It landed with a wet sound on the slate floor. Not one of my finer moments in fine dining, but at least I was partially adhering to the Greg Diet by including greens in my meal while reducing carbs. It was this dietary component that hit the floor, after all.
I like to think I do better in the exercise regimen described in the book. Zackie-O, the introvert Plott hound, requires a substantial amount of exercise every day in order to be human- and house-compatible. And then there is SAR K9 training every weekend and human training every month. Beyond that, I try to get in other workouts (weights and other cardio exercises) to combat the negative effects of sitting long hours during writing sessions. Still, when our SAR team is called out for a wilderness search, all of that never seems like enough to stay mission-ready. I have described the after-effects of search work in an earlier post that expounds the benefits of pickle juice to relieve muscle cramps.
In contrast to workouts from searches, the Greg Diet promotes a kinder and gentler approach to exercise that prevents the user from suffering muscle pain and cramping the next day. Because it is easy and moderate, it is an exercise plan that a busy person could stick with and achieve results.
Currently, I’m slightly obsessed by goat yoga, another kind and gentle workout. Unfortunately, there is a wait-list to get into these classes. (Deb, my sister-in-law, has offered to take a class with me when I come to visit, assuming we can get a reservation. Stay tuned for an in-depth blog post if this happens.) Introverts are renowned for our ability to forge lasting relationships with the pets of the people hosting the party. For this reason, I feel that goat yoga could provide a way for introverts to participate in group exercises, with goats running interference and obviating the need to engage in small talk with other people.
While the Greg Diet offers no baby goats to help distract from the repetitious nature of exercise, it is a solo endeavor that can be split up and inserted in between other activities in a day. For introverts, the upside of this approach is being able to get exercise outside of a communal gym. For busy people, it makes it possible to squeeze in a daily workout without having to set aside an hour or two to accomplish it.
At its heart, the Greg Diet offers a commonsense way to achieve a healthier lifestyle that does not involve joining a cult or forswearing everything you currently enjoy. At the end of the day, if we eat right, exercise and get enough sleep, we will still eventually end up following the psychopomp. But until then, to be able to carry on pursuing the things in life that give us joy, we need a body that is as strong and healthy as we can make it. In this spirit of making concessions to achieve balance, I will perhaps reconsider eating half a cow on my own.
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We have a special guest author for next month’s post. Please allow me to introduce R.B.N. Bookmark, author of A Minger’s Tale: Beginnings, the first part of a trilogy in the life of a working class boy growing up in northern England from the 1960s onwards.
To whet your appetite for his post, here is an excerpt from an editorial review:
“Have you ever had a “bad” day, I mean a day where the world seems to be lining up to give you a swift kick, or maybe toss a pie in your face? Welcome to Ribban’s life. R.B.N. Bookmark’s tongue-in-cheek, witty and sometimes painful, A Minger’s Tale-Beginnings is the author’s tale of his life growing up as a misfit in a time when the economy of his world was bleak and he struggled with the mundane life of whichever neighborhood he was living in, always seeking a little lively action, a few laughs and even the acceptance he rarely felt…”
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