After one of Mal's college dance recitals, we went with her roommates and dancer friends and their parents to have something to eat. I sat down next to one of the other moms and we started talking about books. I had just finished reading Wild, she was nearly finished with Wheat Belly. We compared books, promising we would read each other's choice and talk about it the next time we were together. I had been hearing a lot about her choice and she passed along some information she had learned since picking it up. The Cliff notes version is that wheat is bad for you.
Mark was across from us and couldn't hear the conversation. Besides, he was more interested in diving into the bread basket that had been set in front of us. I displayed enormous restraint seeing as how I was sitting next to a non-wheater eater.
On the way home I told him what I learned. "According to this book, wheat is bad for you and makes you fat. We just have to stop eating wheat and we'll be back to our high school weight in no time. Or maybe middle school. Maybe we should shoot for our middle school weight."
"NO BREAD??? Are you kidding me? How are we supposed to not eat bread?"
"Not just bread but rice, pasta, cereal, pretzels. Anything with wheat in it has to go."
"That's the dumbest idea I've ever heard of."
In teeny weeny increments I starting serving meals with less wheat in them. No longer did we have spaghetti or lasagna with garlic bread on a regular basis. Chicken stir-fry with rice went from white to brown (yuck) to some Costco blend that wasn't completely inedible. So tiny were the increments that over the course of months our combined weight loss fluctuated within a half pound range.
Coming from work one day, Mark ran into a neighborhood guy named Bill and they both biked their way home. "You wouldn't believe it, Kath, the guy has lost a ton of weight. I hardly recognized him. He's doing some wheat belly thing where you don't eat anything with wheat in it."
"Geez, Mark, we've had this conversation. Remember? The book I told you about that Mal's roommate's mom was reading? Last year? It's called Wheat Belly?"
"I don't remember that. Huh. So you get rid of all wheat? What are you stuck with? Cardboard and some lettuce?"
"We're supposed to eat like the cavemen. Meat and vegetables only. I'll fry us up some squirrel and kale in a little grapeseed oil. You pick some bark and tomatoes and we'll have dinner."
"I think that's a doable plan. I'm hairy and have noticed that I tend to drag my knuckles on the ground when I'm bowling. Maybe this is my destiny."
Last month Mark went out to dinner with a speaker who had come to town. He had recently lost 25 pounds.
"Kath, get this," he said when he got home. "Turns out the guy has a gluten allergy. He eliminated bread and the weight just fell off. Maybe we should try that. Eliminate bread and lose weight fast."
"Aye carumba, Mark. We've had this conversation. It's not just bread. It's all wheat. Pasta, cereal, snack stuff, anything with wheat in it. How was dinner? Did you have dessert? Did you get some of that carrot cake they serve? The kind they warm up and drizzle with icing?"
"Yeah, but it wasn't that big of a piece and after tonight never again. No wheat from here on out. You and me. Big changes coming our way. Yep. Getting rid of the wheat. So what are we left with?"
Our muffin tops, my darling neandertal.
That's what you and I always seem to be left with.