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November 12, 2008

Maenad Diet

Filed under: Dieting — Mr. Henry @ 5:02 pm

Once in a while someone sends a comment that overwhelms Mr. Henry with protective, avuncular feelings.

Avila writes :maenad.jpg

I believe I would be able to stick to this diet if I wasn’t essentially nocturnal. Any suggestions for a college student who gets hungry enough at 2AM to break rules 2, 4, 9, 13, and 16?

She is referring to Mr. Henry’s Dietary Dicta (with exceptions), an early screed posted way back in April 2006.

From the vantage point of his estimable age and education today he feels a positive obligation to expand upon his previous theme, even though he thought he had covered the topic quite nicely the first time.

As a prefatory aside, would it be too avuncular to expect you, Avila, a college student, before learning how to eat, an important life skill, to be sure, first to master an equally important life skill, namely, the rules for the subjunctive?

“if I wasn’t essentially nocturnal”  tsk tsk tsk.

Dear Avila, not only are you nocturnal, a biorhythm consistent with late adolescence, but you probably have the digestion of a linebacker, as well, which is to say your metabolism permits you to eat any darn thing you want, day or night, with the same wild abandon you hook up or break up with lovers.

Mr. Henry’s protective, avuncular thing is giving way to overpowering feelings of envy. Go ahead and have a cigarette while you’re at it, Avila. What the heck.

Once it’s mid-day and your Dionysiac urges are momentarily sated, dear maenad, please pause to think about what you are asking. You want to flout rules forbidding eating after dinner, skipping dessert after dinner, eating fried foods for dinner, eating candy, and most important of all, going to bed hungry! These are the essential tenets of the belief system, the sine qua non without which you don’t have nada…..except too much body fat.


Life can be long for those with genius for living. But to live long, unlike the great Antonio Gaudí, you must avoid getting run over by the tram.

As you get older you may notice that trams come along more frequently and from unexpected directions. There is the late night pizza tram, the ice cream in front of the TV tram, the third glass of wine tram, the crunchy snack food tram, and the “oh my feet hurt and I’ve had a long day so I’ll skip my workout” tram, any one of which will flatten you and fatten you dead.


  1. As someone who is essentially nocturnal, and as someone who made it through University on a diet of Coffee Crisp and espresso, I must say your correspondent is being unrealistic. S/he must redefine her/his terms. Breakfast is the first meal after you get up. For me, that’s between 2 and 4 pm. Lunch is the second meal, around 9. Dinner is the one you have around 3am. And the nightcap is the one you enjoy just as the birds start to sing.

    If you find you are unable to locate restaurants who will cater to these hours, you have the option of cooking for yourself or becoming a raw vegan. Growing up is the process of making choices like these.

    Comment by raincoaster — November 14, 2008 @ 1:11 am

  2. I will take issue with Mr. Henry – in fact, I will take two issues, thanks. The only tram which may fatten and flatten you dead is the “oh my feet hurt and I’ve had a long day so I’ll skip my workout” tram. The others will merely fatten you. The latter may not, in fact fatten the lucky, with the fast metabolism, but it will flatten them, nonetheless. It is the Not Working Out that lurks, waiting to drop us in our tracks – it is that which kills.

    And a cup of bitter brew, and an extra pound or two, for your unwarrented assumption! I know that when I was a college student, I did NOT have the digestion of a linebacker, nor could I eat any darn thing I wanted, day or night, and would have been mightily perturbed by your assumption that I could. In fact, since Avila wrote to you in an effort to discover how to combine the “healthy eating” with the “nocturnal biorythm”, it is quite possible that she does not.

    Comment by La BellaDonna — November 17, 2008 @ 3:25 pm

  3. In taking up his vaunted position here in the Manolosphere, La BellaDonna, Mr. Henry never promised to be even-tempered. In fact it is the prospect of a good grouse once or twice a week that keeps him getting up in the morning.

    Avila might very well be perturbed or even insulted by the comparison of her metabolism to a linebacker’s, and equally she might be one of those sedentary, thoughtful girls who tend toward puddling in the haunches. If, however, she wants to flaunt the boyish figure currently the desirable type, she must grow up, as raincoaster so succinctly put it, and forever abandon pizza at two in the morning.

    Is life really this cruel? You betcha.

    Comment by Mr. Henry — November 17, 2008 @ 5:57 pm

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