Have you ever seen someone turn down good food because they were afraid to eat it? Their fears are grounded in the belief that anything that tastes good must be bad for their figure. In their minds Dutch oven cooking has a bad rap.
In the early nineteen nineties I fell in line with the low-fat, no sugar, no salt craze. It felt good to eat healthy food, but it didn’t do me any good unless I followed a stringent course of exercise—something to get my pulse up.
It worked. The pounds dropped off, and I was able to buy clothes off the rack at Walmart for the first time in my life. Then I injured my shoulder and found I couldn’t use my bicycle. It hurt to use my stationary bike as well. Rather than resort to walking, I got lazy. Soon my eating habits returned to what they were before the program, and I started to gain weight.
While on the program, I became a label junkie. I checked the nutrition labels on everything. I found most low-fat foods were a cheat. The manufacturers of those cookies did take out the fat, but they usually replaced it with something else I was trying to avoid. In other the words the low-fat cookies had increased sugar, more than with normal cookies.
Since then, I acquired a Dutch oven cooking hobby and I don’t follow the stringent program of counting fat grams. But I learned that healthy eating is more than limiting certain foods. It’s eating food that is good for you. The ingredients can be just as important as the lack of them.
A few years ago, I was laboring over my Dutch ovens in a competition and a spectator took one look at me and said, “Aren’t any of you Dutch oven cooks thin?” I said something smart like, “Would you trust a skinny camp cook?” I wish I’d said something like, it’s not the food, it’s the lack of exercise. Many of my Dutch oven peers live sedentary lives, but many more of them don't, and they're thin.
Be wise, eat in moderation. The important thing is to get up off your other end and get your heart started. Did you ever wonder why farmers can eat such a fat laden breakfast, day after day, and still keep the weight down? It’s because they work hard all day doing physical things. So when you’re tempted to turn down a Dutch oven meal because it isn’t in your diet, remember your body was designed to move and work hard.
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground Gen. 3:19
By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou shalt return unto the ground Moses 4:25
Still, it is possible to cook lite in a Dutch oven. Use everything in moderation. Use the best ingredients possible. Buy fresh foods, use herbs, cook lean meats and fish, and follow your favorite recipes. Put meat on a rack inside the pot to get it out of the fatty juices. But again, remember, eating lite will do very little for you unless you get moving.
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