Happy Birthdays

First things first, right at the start, I'd like to send out birthday wishes this fine Monday morning to Arnold Palmer, Colin Firth, Guy Ritchie, Alison Bechdel, Amy Irving, Chris Columbus and others. All of these people share a birthday with me. (In the case of Guy Ritchie, same day, same year.) Happy Birthday, me, too! This Monday, as with every Monday, I'm giving myself the gift of great health. Why, thank-you, me, it's just what I wanted.

Because we've been focusing solely on the "meatless" side of MM for the past couple of weeks (Math on Meat and Rosie's plant-based menu), I thought I'd change it up this week with recent articles on other kinds of foodstuffs. The first is an article in The Atlantic based on research showing that artificial sweeteners make us overeat. Apparently, the part of the brain which senses and regulates intake of sweets and their resultant caloric delivery keeps getting tricked when it senses intake of sweets and then no calories. As another article in Science News noted, this area of the brain then learns to ignore sweet foods because they "no longer provide a reliable gauge of energy consumption." This leads to overeating, which leads to overweight. So diet soda may seem like a good idea, but tricking the brain never is.

The second article is this interesting opinion piece from cookbook author Lindsay S. Nixon, also known as the "Happy Herbivore." She noticed in her preparation of meal plans that the difference between someone who is 100 pounds overweight and someone who is at his or her ideal weight is about 3 extra Oreo cookies per day. Yes, you read that right. She even provides the "Math on Oreos: 3 cookies = 120 calories * 365 days = 43,800 calories/3500 calories in a pound = 12.51 pounds per year * 8 years = 100 pounds." Another reminder of how the wrong foods are always working against us, even if they seem like "just a small indulgence." This is how obesity creeps up on us slowly, imperceptibly.

Also, I have to add that you could eat a whole meal of Oreo cookies and diet soda for dinner tonight and still fulfill the "Meatless" prescription of MM entirely. But this isn't in keeping with the www.healthymonday.com or #HealthyMonday spirit of the MM movement. The health problems and obesity-related conditions rampant in Western society today are as much a function of processed grains and sweets as they are of animal-sourced foods. The more whole, unprocessed plant foods we can bring into our regular rotation, the better off we are. Don't think of it as "cutting out" meat, dairy and processed junk food; think of it as "crowding out" with the addition of lots of delicious fruits, veg, nuts, legumes and whole grains... those foods which most contribute to our optimum health.

So that's taken care of, then. Sorted, as they say. We begin today with trying to add to our list of favourite fruits and vegetables by trying something new. Not many people seem to be fond of eggplant, so for this week's recipe, I'm also going to try something new. Instead of posting a recipe of my own, I'm pointing you to my review of someone else's recipe, which includes preparation photos and my results. This is a new idea for me and enjoying eggplant may be something new for you. Buono appetito, as they say in Naples.