Month: February 2024


Here at Rooster🦅Acres we are committed to eating healthy. To that end, we endeavour to grow fresh greens in an organic garden each summer, forage wild plants off the land, raise our own chickens, as well as source pasture-raised meats from local farmers
I blame my last colonoscopy for all this, done wide awake so I could witness what was up my ass.
Of course, it was eye-opening, especially when my ultra-competent doctor and guide found five polyps which she excised with precision. Try hanging out in a room bantering with three dames while one uses incredible technology to examine your innards and you too may become faithful.
Afterwards, I doubled down on diet.
I also hold Netflix at least partly responsible. Truth is I’ve been a pretty good eater for several decades, but last year I watched a couple of alarming specials on the food industry. In these shows, movie star heroes like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan acknowledged that they were once big protein consumers but now asserted that we all needed to eat more veggies.
I’d learned about regulatory capture watching economic lectures through The Great Courses outfit back in the CD days. This happens when industry infiltrates the regulatory bodies responsible for safeguarding our health and wellbeing. They have been captured and our food is killing us.
I’m probably somewhere over 80% whole plant food today. At the end of the month, I’ll have another look at my colon to measure progress.
According to Michael Greger in books like How Not To Die, the best food hierarchy appears to be legumes, leafy greens, vegetables and fruit, whole grains, and for those omnivores like me, limited meat, fish, and eggs. The meat issue is an ongoing debate and of course, I raise my own chickens so I’m not giving up eggs. I just eat one each day. I also use the slow cooker for meats to lessen AGEs and taught Missus how to make soup.😉
Where I stumble is with legumes, beans specifically.
To me biting into a bean has the texture of dirt. I don’t know how the Mexicans eat their pinto beans. When I visit there, it crosses my mind that should I be stranded so far from home, I will likely die pathetically of starvation while locals shake their heads and say “estupida.
Mom used to feed us Lima beans, green peas, and on occasion, baked beans. I can’t tell you how many evenings as a child I sat in front of my plate until 9PM in a war of wills between us. I couldn’t do it. I mean, I felt bad about the starving children in Africa and hoped they didn’t take it personally but my mouth and throat gagged involuntarily at the texture of beans and peas.
One of the handful of tolerable moments from my childhood occurred when ma put a brown baking pot, the purposeful kind with the two little handles on the sides and matching lid, filled with brown beans to bake while the family drove to Vincent Massey Park for the afternoon.
It was nine kids and two adults in the ’67 Pontiac Parisienne dad called The Bathtub, one up, one down, baby in the front on ma’s lap, no seatbelts. Of course, you can’t drive that way anymore, and the park is probably overrun with homeless people anyways. But I digress…
We arrived home to find supper had been ruined. I remember ma dutifully reporting to my father that the beans overbaked and had to be thrown out and best, that we’d been eating something else. My heart is joyfully buoyed just recollecting these fragments of my history. Though I don’t know what we ate instead, I imagine now that anything was better than what could have been. I hope it was peanut butter and jam sandwiches.
Missus and I have been eating together for eighteen years and over that time, I’ve persuaded her to eat more healthily. To her credit, she’s game, after all we have children to raise to the best of our ability. But there’s a catch. She loves beans.
In fact, seems Missus has never met a bean she doesn’t like. She adores the Giant Beans we used to get from a high end grocery in Toronto. And it puzzles her that I avoid them despite my explanation that beans were the bane of my existence. I’d buy them for her at that speciality store because, well, why deny her this twisted pleasure? It was my bean bane, not hers.
I will tell you right now women are crafty. I say that because unknowingly, I’d provided Missus with leverage.
By some complicated algorithm understood only by Mother Nature herself, it was implied (but never actually stated) that my single bean weakness underpinned and undermined the whole of my whole foods diet advice. Every time I mentioned something healthy she’d agree and nod her head, glancing at me to ascertain if my own head moved, up and down, even slightly, following hers in agreement, and then she’d toss in something about me eating beans.
Oh my fucking God, what have I done, I’d think to myself.
And that’s how I was neutralized. Healthy diets are only for those who agree to eat beans apparently. We were at an impasse, my leadership implied but not wholly accepted. If I was weak here, where else might I fail? I tell you, abuse of empathy is a woman’s birthright.
The stalemate continued until recently Missus suggested she make a chili con carne.
I don’t know if you have had good chili but it’s all the very best of a chunky spaghetti sauce with beans instead of pasta. I’ve had it once before at Nine Mile Creek off Lake Huron at my buddy Ernie’s dad’s camp one Labour Day weekend probably thirty years ago. I survived, even though I drank regularly back then but still…
So it was that, well, I couldn’t say I encouraged Missus with enthusiasm but rather, I agreed that she’d do a great job. And she did.
All afternoon the house smelled of her cooking. If I am going to eat pasta sauce, I prefer it chunky and Missus obliges me. She makes an outstanding sauce after she chops like a madwoman to make everything “just so.” Only instead of the spaghetti squash she usually cooks for me to replace pasta, there would be baked beans, baked right into the sauce. There was no escape.
In front of my two children and my darling “daring me” wife, I ate her chili con carne. And while I savoured its delectable sauce and investigated the bean problem which had befuddled me for almost half a century, tasting, chewing even, I realized something.
It was Little Christopher who was afraid of beans, not Big Christopher.
My fearful dislike of beans was located in the neurons of my brain and body where memory and feelings reside. I couldn’t shake those memories but I could remember where the boy bean bane came from and face this fear like a man by being chill about her chilli chow.
Little Christopher and I had come this far, and I had his tender heart and his back; he could follow me safely for he was under MY protection.
So, I ate her beans while she glanced rather than gawked at me. And I, napkin in hand to wipe my mouth, smiled and stared her down and complimented her cooking. Then, I asked for seconds and ate that too, leaving just meagre lickings in the bowl for the dog.
Truth is that men and women have probably always banded together to take advantage of each other’s strengths and to shore up each other’s weaknesses. In my case it was not so much that I should eat beans. No, it was more about what would it mean if I could?
It means one more remnant from long ago has been neutralized. As I progressed I went from eating snow peas grown in our garden to putting chick peas (aka Garbanzo beans) on my salads and now to baked beans in a Missus Kisses chili con carne. Whole food protein win.
And whose the bean boss now?
You betcha, because being intimidated by beans is for lesser men than me (the man I used to be).
This is the day…