Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Eating in the Evening Years


Once we leave off the pursuit of the almighty-dollar we usually experience a sudden drop off in bustle and agitation. Career-chasing busyness disappears. However whatever retirement advice we took probably left out a little-understood downside of this otherwise welcome sea-change in our status. We may not have realised that the franticness of our working day had helped balance our daily fuel intake with the energy we used up.

My current work-free lifestyle plays havoc with that energy equation so that I’m now fighting the Great Girth Battle of the sunset years. Rising when the sun is up to linger over a newspaper as I make time for a full breakfast, I follow with a leisurely stroll across the patio to admire the Spring flowers before I sink into a good chair to start the day’s reading. Maybe this is interrupted by a lazy lunch with a pal down at a local pub. A restorative snack mid-afternoon is a must to make it through to rounding out the day with a full dinner and conversation, plus a glass or two of Ontario’s finest. At that point each day I have the completed the recipe for sustaining a much fuller waistline.

The worst of it is that the food I eat actually seems to look and taste better than it used to. When anyone who might be across the table from me demands little more than gentle attention, I have the time to savour my meals and notice how well they have been prepared.

When retired who really minds if that fascinating souffléed whatsitsname is going to take longer to make than a salad? No longer is there a desired outcome hanging over nearly every meal away from home. No more are cutting a deal, scooping industry intel, or just getting to the bill in time for meeting my next engagement the natural partners of a meal out.

Can there be any logic to dieting in life's later chapters? For myself, surely making it safely into late life earns me some reward for all those years of endless business lunches? They gave me a notion of what makes fine dining and only now can I find the time to appreciate eating in all its richness.

Who cares if one’s formerly authoritative profile in full business rigout is no longer? After all, what’s a suit for in retirement except funerals? We finally are free to be our baggy, slouchy senior selves. Sad old tofu just doesn’t cut it. And the Paleolithic Diet can only make sense for those sour folk who have no feel for the finer products of the grain. My advice is not to delay in giving away your full length mirrors. Find and frame a cheery picture of Mr Pickwick for your credenza. Then bring out your scrumptious cream sauces, your ravishingly crumbly pastries and heady malt whiskies!

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