20> Going Home

There has been a substantial discussion in the TNT Forum – almost an argument – repeated over and over again – concerning the counting of calories as well as the counting the grams of Fat, Protein and Carbs. The discussion centers on how much of each is appropriate in the TNT Diet. The authors of the diet where very careful to not state actual amounts of any component. They gave information on the foods that should be avoided and the foods that should be included. They also gave the general guideline that one should eat until satisfied – not stuffed. The usual 6 small meals per day is recommended.

My position has been stated and restated ad nauseam: “I do not count calories, or carbs or protein or fat. I refuse to enter my food on Fitday or any similar program. I want my eating to be as natural as it can. That is the way this program was designed. Follow it and it will work for you.”

The other opinion can be summed up by Nikemen:

“My opinion though, is that for many new participants, especially those who have been on low fat, or mixed CARB/FAT/PROTEIN diets, one isn’t really tuned in yet to WHAT one needs to eat in order to get to 65%+ FAT. I would think that someone moving from such a diet would actually UNDEREAT the FATs, just by habit or by learned effort. Their meals and diet are not yet trained for this effort.

By tracking things, at least during the first weeks or month, one can RE-LEARN what it means to eat along these diet lines, and as they eat can see where they might need to ADD FATs, or complement their eating in order to get that number up.

I know for one, I was eating a very balanced “traditional” diet, of 25-30% fat, 25-30% protein and 40-50% carbs. This was with very “healthful” foods like whole grains, fruit, lean meats, etc. I know this isn’t anything like this diet, but that was my habit. I had to really track my foods on TNT and realize that I HAD to ADD cream to eggs, cheese to hamburgers, get the 10% fat meats, eat the skin, etc, in order to get my FAT up to 60+%”

The question that has been bugging me is WHY was it so easy for me to put aside 40 years of Low Fat eating and adopt the High Fat TNT program? I had started down the Low Fat road in the early 70’s when I went on Weight Watchers and was very successful – in losing weight – but – not in maintaining it. From then until March 2007, I was suppose to be eating Low Fat. My weight went up and down – Yo- Yo – That is my nickname.

My mind has been coming back to this question – repeatedly. I think that I finally have the answer – at least as it applies to me.

I grew up in a household that still had its roots in the food of Eastern Europe. Let me give you an idea of some of the foods of my childhood.

Chicken Fat: The chicken fat was rendered in a large heavy pot. An old laying hen, which was very fatty was used. All the fat and skin was peeled off and thrown in the pot with sliced onions. It was then slowly cooked until the chicken fat was liquid and the onion and skin and other pieces of the chicken where crispy, soggy refuse. The Fat was then poured through a very fine sieve or cloth to separate out the cooked items from the purified fat. Those crispy pieces of skin and onion that were left called gribenes or grivn (cracklings), – were set out on the table for the children to grab pieces of – OMG – that was heaven. The smell of the house and the taste of slightly burnt onion – my oh my.

That Chicken Fat was then used in everything. Perhaps the most enjoyable: Chopped Chicken Liver. Fry up the liver, chop it fine – this was job for the kids. Add fried onion and hard boiled eggs, seasoning and a good helping of Chicken Fat. Now that was a tasty treat.

Chicken Soup was made from that old hen – also known as a soup chicken. It was fatty, tasty and the meat was not enjoyable as roast chicken. Cook up that Chicken with all those wonderful vegetables – the fat swirled on the top and gave it the flavor. Some of the chicken was left in the soup, the rest was taken out and made into chicken salad with real mayonnaise.

A Vegetable Soup was made with beef stock. The butcher gave you a bag of soup bones, with little to no meat on them – but with lots of fat and marrow. They were cooked into the soup and served with it. The Veggies – well all those expensive natural grains and beans that we now need to search for – they were the heart of the soup. And – if you were lucky – you got a soup bone and where able to suck the marrow out of it.

Lamb Chops were my favorite. They were cooked with the fat on the bone. I loved eating the crispy fat off the bone, as much as I loved the greasy meat.

Pot Roast was the staple not steak. It was cooked forever in a heavy pot with plenty of fat still on the meat and all those vegetables in the pot. When this – less than expensive – dish was done – the meat was tasty, fatty and fell off the bone.

Sour Cream was one of those things that we as children had to grow into liking. A dish of full fat sour cream with vegetables in it. A large spoon full of sour cream dropped into a bowl of cold beet soup. It was everywhere.

Real Butter was the norm. Mashed potatoes had a large spoonful of butter in the center. My mother would float a spoonful of butter on top of a bowl of soup. Even a side of egg noodles was mixed in butter. Bread was merely the conveyance to bring butter to your mouth.

Eggs were a daily occurrence. When you grow up in the country and your father had an animal feeds business, eggs where a part of your life. Many eggs – many days of the week. They were either breakfast, lunch or a late evening snack.

So in the early 70’s, when the mantra of low fat started to be repeated by everyone, I tried to adopt that way of eating. My wife would cook that way. We would buy food that was low fat – not realizing that it was high in Carbs. We bought margarine – I was not allowed to fry an egg in butter – so sad – so tasteless. When margarine became evil – than spray on a bit of Pam. The eggs tasted like plastic. Egg white omelets – sorry – they made me puke.

And – I became the sneaky eater of fat.

I would be scolded for eating butter.  I would add the turkey fat to the gravy – behind my wife’s back. At a restaurant – they would grab the butter and get it off the table. Was not even allowed to have olive oil in an Italian restaurant. Got the picture.

So simply stated: Adopting the TNT diet was going home. It was taking that old comfortable sweater out of the closet and slipping it on. It felt good.  All was right with the world. And – it was – and it is.

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