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Lenore Skenazy
Lenore Skenazy
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Nuts for the Mediterranean Diet

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So now the new thing is to eat nuts. "Nuts keep you healthy." "Hearts love nuts." "Go nuts for the Mediterranean diet!" Let me tell you about nuts. Eating them is all I do. I'm a squirrel, and I coulda told you that nuts are the cat's meow — except I'm scared of cats.

Just as you humans are scared of heart attacks. So you keep testing out new drugs, new diets, new fads, such as eating lots of ever-rougher roughage. Hey, even squirrels are smart enough not to eat the shells! But you — if it's a miserable mouthful of unground grain, you just grind your way through it. All those whole-wheat crackers and whole-wheat shakes and now it turns out the answer to heart health was right under your nose. It even smelled good. It's Italian food.

Go for the wine, the women, the song... Wait. That's not right. Go for the wine, the olive oil and the nuts. In fact, the bottom line seems to be: Quit making yourselves miserable with all the low-fat cookies and baked-not-fried Cheetos. Not-fried Cheetos?! Come on. Would you eat a doughnut lightly sauteed in Pam?

And they say we're the ones with walnut-sized brains.

Walnuts!

Sorry. I just got so hungry that I had to dig up a snack. So where was I? Oh, yes, you humans and your snacks. My point is that ever since you discovered that nobody lives forever, you've been driving yourselves crazy trying to change that fact via health food. Back around 1910, it was Kellogg and his bran. Pfft! When I find a bran flake on the ground — which isn't all that often — I leave it for the pigeons. (As if they don't poop enough!)

Then, historically speaking, came cod liver oil. If that was such an essential liquid for life, how come no one drinks it anymore? In fact, if only someone woulda said right at the start, "Wait. Oil from the livers of fish?" That could've stopped the whole thing from ever getting off the ground.

But no, a whole generation had to gag down spoon after spoon of that stuff before it got thrown on the ash heap of health food history. (A nasty smelling heap that is. I had a rat friend once, and even she wouldn't go near it — except, sometimes, on a date. She never explained why, and I never asked.)

After the cod liver debacle came red meat. That was what was supposed to make you strong and healthy. Which it did — until it killed you at 37. In squirrel years, that's very respectable. But humans? They were less impressed. (And more dead.) So onward to another health trend.

Let's see. There were diet pills. Cabbage soup diets. And Dr. Robert Atkins. Good ol' Dr. "Let's Eat Everything We're Not Supposed to Eat, Slather It With Whipped Cream and Call It a Diet" Atkins. No wonder he was so popular! My friend Buddy — he's a dog — he lived with a family that went on Atkins, and he had the time of his life. Everything that fell from their table — and it was all so fatty that a lot of it just slid off — he loved. Good times.

But then the doctor "slipped on some ice" and died (you can fool the humans, but we squirrels are a little more skeptical), and along came more low-fat nonsense — and quinoa — and then, for the folks who were too cool for quinoa, farro.

Hey, farro — let my people go!

And now it has. You humans have finally realized you can go to the dinner table and eat a nice, normal meal and not worry! Just enjoy!

Which is what we squirrels have been doing all along. But I guess you guys had to figure it out for yourselves.

Lenore Skenazy is the author of "Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)" and "Who's the Blonde That Married What's-His-Name? The Ultimate Tip-of-the-Tongue Test of Everything You Know You Know — But Can't Remember Right Now." To find out more about Lenore Skenazy (lskenazy@yahoo.com) and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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