Sunday, February 15, 2004

Dieters, does low-crab grab ya?


Food stuff

Chuck Martin

This may be the week I start my new year's diet. I know, most people started dieting back in early January. But I figure, just as all those tubbies are giving up on their diets, I'm starting mine. I'll appear committed.

Yes, it's the middle of February, and I'm on the road to becoming a new, svelte man.

To be honest, though, I've been a little worried about which diet plan to choose. There are so many and most of the trendy diets, such as Atkins and South Beach, are low-carb. My simple understanding of these diets is you can eat all the protein you want, but few or no carbohydrates. Pounds of steak, but no potatoes. Rashers of bacon, but not a crumb of toast.

Don't get me wrong, this sounds wonderful. I love steak and bacon, but I want my potatoes and toast, too. For me, the low-carb diets require too much sacrifice.

Then I received an exciting e-mail from this woman in New York representing a sausage company:

"As you are well aware," she wrote, "the low crab lifestyle is growing leaps and bounds with 35 million Americans currently committed to this diet craze."

Low crab? I hadn't heard about this one. How could 35 million folks be on the low-crab diet without me knowing about it? And why would a woman who works for a sausage company push the low-crab diet?

Doesn't matter. This is the diet for me. Sure, I love crab - fried crab cakes, sweet, succulent, steamed Jonah crab claws drenched in butter.

But hey, if all it takes for me to lose a few pounds and feel better about myself is to cut back on crab, then I'm sold. When a crab craving strikes, I'll just eat that fake surimi stuff. I don't understand why eating less crab will make me a thinner guy, and I don't care. I just want the weight off fast.

Frankly, I'm relieved by this discovery because I feared the low carb regimen. I've heard a lot of people have lost weight on it. A couple of years ago, my brother-in-law burned about 40 pounds while eating according to Atkins. Of course, he had to go in for emergency bypass surgery. The doctors weren't sure the saturated fat from all that meat and cheese he ate clogged his arteries. But I'm guessing it didn't help.

And just this week, the debate continued over whether Dr. Robert Atkins, the low-carb, high-protein prophet, died last year from complications related to his daring diet.

But because I'll be low crab - not low carb - I won't have to worry about those potential side effects. And I won't have to humiliate myself ordering those silly low-carb foods at restaurants - the bunless burgers and crustless pizzas. Although sooner or later, those weasel restaurant chains will probably jump on the bandwagon and advertise specials as "low crab" - even though there wasn't a speck of crab in there in the first place. And someone will no doubt introduce a "no-crab" crab cake.

I'll survive without such feeble crutches.

Exercise regularly? Eat a variety of healthy foods? Forget it. Except for crab, I'll eat what I want and lie on the couch all day. If I'm good, maybe I'll fall off the wagon occasionally and treat myself to crab cocktail.

And when I shed the pounds like a soft-shell molting in May - when people start complimenting the return of my jaw line and my shrinking gut - I promise to never go on and on and on about the benefits of the low-crab diet. When I go over to someone's house, I'll never be rude enough to ask: "How much crab is in that?" OK, there's a chance I might bruise some sensitive crab-cooker's feelings. But the low crab diet is still a million times better than Atkins or South Beach.

There is one little thing that bothers me. That New York woman's e-mail contained a couple glaring spelling errors. I just hope that wasn't caused by an acute deficiency of crab.

E-mail cmartin@enquirer.com




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