I suppose I should ask what "high protein" means in the context of the study. I probably eat six to nine ounces of protein per day. I also eat one or two helpings of cruciferous vegetables, copious amounts of green salad, and most other vegetables except corn and white potatoes every day. I do eat eggs (which everyone thinks are bad for you; I'm not convinced) two or three times a week, and fish or seafood at least twice a week. I am well aware that cheese is very high in fat but to me low fat cheese tastes like Styrofoam, so I eat small amounts several times a week in place of other protein. Fat-free or low fat cheese can only be made by substituting some kind of synthetic ingredient. It's not real food, so I don't eat it. You are absolutely right that I need more exercise. Establishing a walking program five days a week and a weight-lifting program three times a week are my two summer goals.

When I was twenty, I lived in Paris for two years. During that time I ate like a horse, but everything was very fresh and homemade. I got away with it because Paris is a walking city, I walked nearly everywhere every day, and I was young. I also learned to love fresh food. Nuts had a taste I've never found here. I could buy eggs at 8am that had been laid that morning at 4am. Fruit and veggies were usually locally grown. Strawberries were tiny but bursting with flavour. When I returned to Canada, it took me nearly a year to stop tasting all the preservatives in grocery store food. The loss of taste in North American food is marked and perhaps one of the reasons for the popularity of salty snacks. The French don't snack but they do (or did) eat two, four course meals a day. All that is changing as the country becomes more Americanized, but it was a great lesson for me in how fantastic everyday food could taste.

As to why I eat cake, cookies and pie on special occasions, it's mostly a matter of good manners. When someone goes to the trouble of preparing a special meal or dessert, I am not about to ruin the mood or insult the hostess (usually one of my daughters or DIL) by refusing to eat it. Accepting a small portion of whatever is offered is both gracious and, I believe, not in any way injurious to my health. These dinners occur less than once a month. I eat a large green salad with some nuts, seeds or shrimp in it before we dine with family so that I'm not hungry on arrival. I always bring an apple, a hard-boiled egg, or a small container of fresh fruit with me so that I can eat a small amount of whatever is on offer and not go hungry. One of my diet rules is not to let myself get too hungry; another is to always have something acceptable with me to eat.

I find that sweets and grains seem to increase my appetite so that it is hard for me to limit portions. This isn't a problem when we're out because of my small portion rule, but is a problem when they are hanging around the kitchen while I cook. I had a bad snacking and large portion habit that were partially responsible for my weight gain. A lot of my food intake was mindless and habitual. Not having junk food in the house, especially pastries, ice cream and bread, has gone a long way towards helping me adhere to my diet. Overall, I feel so much better eating this way that until my doctor sees signs that the negatives outweigh the gains, I plan to continue. Because I need fewer medications than before (always hard on the liver), my doctor has so far encouraged me to stay the course.

I appreciate that you took the time to respond. Thank you.

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