#AtoZChallenge: 🥗 S is for Salad Sucks

photo credit: Homeless Trooper via photopin (license)

It’s a constant battle, isn’t it?

letter SWhat we shove in our pie holes. You are what you eat, they say. If that’s the case, I’m the love child of a pizzeria and a cheese monger’s workshop. With KitKat lined up around the edge. That’s not to say I never, ever eat healthy, because I do. For instance, how I eat cheeseburgers.

If tomatoes come on them, I don’t ask for them to hold them. That’s practically salad.

Instead, I pull tomatoes out from between patty and bun, toss a dash of salt and pepper on them, and enjoy. I told a soccer dad just tonight that my favorite salad ever is a supreme pizza. Tomatoes, green pepper, onion, mushroom … I might as well be vegan.

I read on CRAVESAdventure a quote that stuck with me: I am about nurturing and nourishing my whole being for good health!

Whole. Being. That’s not an excuse to eat fried chicken and York peppermint patties for breakfast. Mostly, dinner I make will include a side of veggies. Not every pancake shall be pocked with chocolate chips. I’ll drink a glass of water between fill-ups of Coke Zero.

I don’t believe in diets.

Me and my fatty liver

After a medical exam in college revealed elevated enzyme levels in my blood, my doctor prodded around my abdomen for answers. He found them, tucked under my rib cage on the right: A fatty liver.

It sounds way more like it’s justified to blame my mom and refried beans for that.

It’s not. When was the last time you were able to target fat cells in your liver with exercise? Right. It was an unfortunate state for me. I read a book called The Liver Cleansing Diet, by Dr. Sandra Cabot. It’s all about reversing fatty liver! And it worked. Miserably so.

I looked svelte as a bulldog-shaped man could expect.

Yes, I fit in size 32s again.

I looked svelte. Svelte as a bulldog-shaped man could expect. I see it in pictures from that era. Know what was missing, though? Just little things. Joy. Fulfillment. Satisfaction. A place in this universe. (That one proves tough to attain, and it has nothing to do with diet.)

Long as I stuck to a diet that included almond milk and ratatouille, I kept that look. Sleek lines. Aerodynamic build. I looked … sick. My face reflected a life devoid of … cow milk and food with flavor. Eight weeks in, I quit the liver cleansing diet for good. (Sorry, Doc.)

Foodie daydreams: The Best

I’d lost weight, sure, but at what cost?

Ever peeked inside the daydreams of a foodie? Lord, have mercy. It’s a beautiful thing. I get it, though. A man can’t eat like a boy of 14 when he’s 44. And a half.

Today, I try to rely on my instincts, which tell me I need to move more to justify and battle what I’ve eaten – or dreamed of eating.

If I could only turn that into an app

diet quote


  1. rachel says:

    eating like that can’t really feel good, can it?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      What, that diet? Heck no. I wanted to try my kids’ plastic play food for an upgrade in flavor, Rachel.

      1. rachel says:

        🙄 oh coach…you’re hopeless.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        acceptance is the first step. First step to what, I’m not sure.

      3. rachel says:

        look at you taking steps!! you’re on your way!

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        When’s lunch?

      5. rachel says:


  2. I hear ya! I don’t understand people who don’t love to taste certain foods; people who aren’t transcended by flavor combinations.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Flavor’s the thing, Sue. If I’d been narrow-minded, I wouldn’t have discovered a love of pad Thai so late in my life.

      1. Better late than never. These days I give my chicken/veggie soup a Thai twist by flavoring the broth with curry paste, fresh grated ginger, and coconut milk. So good! (And low carb!).

  3. Nikki says:

    The age old theory of everything in moderation. For every bacon-covered cheeseburger and thick, luscious, creamy vanilla milkshake we savor, there has to be a balance of sweat equity in our own health and well-being. That said, I’m a girl with curves who is happy in them but also cognizant of the fact that I want to be around for grandbabies at some point so…balance. Gimme a snack sized Reese’s then help me work it off later with a long walk 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Moderation, yes. I will take my time and love every bite of the good stuff; I will put cauliflower and green beans down my gullet in record time.

      But they both get there.

      I’ll be a happier dad and grandpa (someday) if I can find that balance.

  4. shoes says:

    Ha, love it! And really what is the point of looking great and being healthy if your life is devoid of joy and pizza? 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks! A comedian once noticed that the people coming out of a health-food store were skinny and drab, unsmiling. Those coming out of a steakhouse were chubby, with ruddy cheeks, but smiling.


      And really, live without pizza? Not worth the carbon I’m taking up.

  5. Kathy G says:

    I’m reading this while eating my lunch. A honking big spinach salad with mushrooms, zucchini, yellow peppers, and tomato. I threw in some canned chili beans and extra salsa. For good measure I crunched up tortilla chips and sprinkled them on top. I think the crunch is what changes the meal from meh to wow.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      See, I like that. Lots of flavors, a touch of crunch. The crunch always gets it, Kathy!

  6. This post made me laugh… “I might as well be vegan.” 😀 That was awesome.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad you laughed, Sandra. I swear, veganism isn’t far from it, you know? Add bacon, please.

      1. Bacon makes everything better, after all. 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        If there’s any doubt, also add cheese.

      3. Of course. My Italian dad would be confused if no cheese was present. 🙂

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        I think I was Italian in a past life.

  7. Kisma says:

    Diet is a four letter word, by the same token, pizza doesn’t count as a salad which what I tell my son who like you loves his pizza😉 lol.

    Thanks for the laugh this lunch break!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      But if it has tons of veggies on it – in and among the various means of dead pig – doesn’t it count? I wonder what you had for lunch …

      1. Kisma says:

        …. An actual salad 😉

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Without pizza underneath?


  8. Thanks so much for sharing Eli – appreciate it! Great Post – ha! I threw the word diet out of my vocabulary along with the weight scale. I focus on balance and moderation and that food is not the enemy since I am the one making the choices as to what I put in my pie hole – hehe. If my stomach is not growling and I feel hungry I know it is time to consume some much needed water. I carry a water bottle with me. Wishing you the BEST – Good Luck 🙂 Happy Day – Enjoy

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      So glad you saw it, and liked it. I hope both diet and scale fell with a satisfying thud.

      I choose so savor, not devour, and that helps (as does when my kids give me their pizza crusts still.)

      I tried this thing where I drank a glass of water first thing in the morning, and ate a piece of fruit and drank another glass of water before every meal. If I could stick with that …

      Hey, maybe that’s a post.

      1. Yes to a satisfying thud! Bye, bye!

        I do savor too and it makes me slow down to enjoy what I am savoring too 🙂

        Great Post Idea! I suggest finding a recyclable water bottle that you like and keep it to have water at hand for hydration throughout the day. I use a Camelbak Insulated Chute and love it! I also have a Camelbak hydration pack that I use for hiking, long walks and biking.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        *nods head while polishing off his first Coke Zero at 10:08 a.m*

  9. Lyn says:

    Diet is Die with a “t.” I’ve been trying to lose weight for about 50 years. That’s half a century of struggle. Half a century to reach the point where I’m in a better mindset to succeed but can no longer go walking let alone go to the gym. I think one of the secret to enjoying treats is have one chocolate chip cookie not the whole packet, or one slice of chocolate cake instead of, “Oh, please do have another slice, it will only go to waste.” Or should that be waist 😀

  10. ksbeth says:

    i totally get this!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      all who do should meet – at a pizza buffet. i feel compelled to get a small salad at a pizza buffet.

  11. Sounds like we could totally share a pizza as yes to all of the toppings you would order! 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’d even let you pick the first slice, Janine.

  12. Eric says:

    I was lucky to be born with the “skinny gene”. I have only gained 5 lbs since graduating high school 20 years ago. Sometimes I eat healthy, sometimes not. Either way, my pants are still too long.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Lucky boy. I’ve gained and lost and am down at the moment about 20 pounds. I had a lot of hair in high school, but that’s a different story.

      The cuffs of my pants would suggest I swab the deck on a pirate ship, Eric.

  13. kristin says:

    My doctor just threw the fatty liver at me Monday. I think I will read the book. My knees would also appreciate the loss of some weight, not to mention my blood pressure. I figure, work on it, get the weight down, then add more exercise if I want to eat some bacon and chocolate cake.

    Finding Eliza

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m sorry, Kristin. The book is a good read for understanding what the hell it is we have. That probably wasn’t the healthiest way for me to drop weight so fast, either – it was pretty dramatic.

      Bacon and chocolate cake are incredible motivators. Don’t get it crooked.

  14. Rorybore says:

    Pizza with Kit Kat around the edges!!! You’re brilliant. Get someone on that STAT.
    And I got just the exercise program to work it off. ha.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s fuel for the gods and goddesses, Les. It’s less brilliance and more divinity. I just considered that the KitKat will melt in any sort of heat, though.

      1. Rorybore says:

        OMG melted chocolate … you just made it better. 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Totally by accident!

  15. Yes, eating healthy sucks. Especially with so many temptations around and ESPECIALLY when your spouse isn’t in on it. Good luck finding new ways to be healthy.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think I love your blog title. Eating to feed the ego isn’t an easy task. Is it the ego I’m feeding? I don’t know, I only know that what it craves isn’t kale leaves.

      I’d rather do everything else for possible health than to forgo food.

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