Gerard’s Blog: On Weighty Matters


One month to go, then back to normal.  Or, have I got that wrong?  This “local” diet has been the mainstay of human sustenance since the first green shoots erupted in the Fertile Crescent?  That which we now consider normal, is in reality, a modern expectation that stems from a cheap and well-organized transport system.  It begs the question as to whether this current food delivery style is either normal or sustainable.

The beginning of each month heralds “weigh-in day.”  Suzanne has been logging the entries dutifully.  Once a scientist, always a scientist.  Looking for logic in numbers, searching for correlations.  The weigh-in day is a reminder to me that this is, after all, just an experiment.  It too, shall pass.

A glimpse at the numbers reveals that in the second half of this “game,” the male members have steadily gained weight.  The women have either lost or held steady.  So what can be deduced?

As for my son, well, he is in that teenage anabolic stage of life, when the simple act of looking at a calorie equates to muscle growth.  How unfair, I say to him, that at his age he only needs to sleep and eat to get better at everything he does, while those of us from the older generation can only measure success by the slowness with which we deteriorate.

During the first three to four months of the program, my weight dropped like gold in a sluice box.  About 10 pounds per month.  The wasting was so profound that if it wasn’t for my insatiable appetite and for my increased vigor, I would have worried more about some sinister disease lurking in my inner depths.  Still, the thought did cross my mind.

As winter encroached, the lack of body fat became a problem: I simply could not stay warm.  With virtually no grains in my diet, I turned to fat, sugar and starch.  The hunger stopped, the cold intolerance disappeared, and the weight returned.  My skin-folds became thicker than that on the back of my hand.  My ribs, once again hid from view.  My pants and underwear resisted the embarrassing pull of gravity.  The beard was no longer essential to hide the hollow in my cheeks.

There has always been an abundance of animal fat in this relatively protein-rich diet.  I increased on this by upping the amount of ingested cream:  homemade ice-cream, berries with cream, anything with cream.  The sugar came primarily from birch syrup.  Added to cream, added to sauces, added to waffles and increasing doses of breakfast clafouti.  The main contributor of starch was the potato.  It became a winter staple, a daily part of supper and a frequent part of the fried breakfast concoction.  My potato dependence has given new appreciation to the profound devastation of the blight of Ireland in the mid 1800’s.

So, to those of you wanting to gain weight, my advice is simple:  either increase your intake of sugar and starch, or revert to adolescence.

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