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May 04, 2016

Soy Sorry, Mr. B!

Say You're Sorry With Make Up Steak 
Whoever said "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" was probably not making reference to dietary topics, but in my own life--and unfortunately, Mr. B's--there is not a more significant quote that applies to the outcome of several dietary changes that I put into action earlier this year.

Long a proponent of a plant-based diet, one night back in January, with a copy of Mark Bittman's Vegan Before 6:00 PM tucked under my arm, I served Mr. B a very well-made vodka martini and snuggled in beside him on the couch. I'd been meaning to have 'that talk' with him for a long while, that talk that most wives initiate every so often, the one that begins something like, "Look, I know you really love red meat, but...," the talk that smart women strive to avoid altogether, unless of course, circumstances and pure stubbornness lead the way.

By the second martini, I had Mr. B convinced that he could live without with slightly less red meat and by the time I was skewering the olives for his third martini, I had him singing the praises of eating more soy and almost, but not quite, salivating over the pictures of the recipes that I was planning on making over the next several weeks. It's true; he did seem a little tipsy as he was pointing to the beautifully photographed dishes and saying, "Wow! That looks good," but, he seemed to be enjoying the evening. Though disappointed by his faulty recall, I can't say I was entirely surprised that he remembered very little of our conversation the next day.

Undeterred by his foggy memory, I handed him a few aspirin, gave him a peck on the cheek, and headed to the grocery store to stock the pantry with all sorts of 'healthy' goodies. I should point out two things here: the first, VB6 doesn't advocate excessive intake of soy products, but rather includes a variety of plant-based recipes. Secondly, I confess that while it may seem unbelievable, I am an admitted soy addict--soyrizo, soy milk, tofu, edamame--bring it on! Which I did--in copious amounts--proving for once and for all that the excessive consumption of even the healthiest foods can have dire consequences.

Flash forward several months and picture, if you will, me sitting with my doctor in the examination room as she tells me that she's pretty sure the best diagnosis is that I had a kidney stone, which explained the excruciating pain I endured over the previous week and the likely reason my usually sunny disposition turned south, leaving me with a colorful vocabulary and a quick temper.

I'd never had reason to research kidney stones before, but after a quick internet search for causes, I found that I had been living--yes, living--on a diet of foods high in oxalates and even worse, had been feeding Mr. B the exact foods destined to bring on gout, a condition he'd recently been suffering through and one so painful, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

Though I didn't want to, I had to tell Mr. B that the diet I'd been feeding us was the likely cause of our diminishing health, a painful conversation indeed, though not for the reasons you may think. Mr. B has always looked to me for my nutritional smarts, my in-depth knowledge of the best and most healthiest foods and now, I was afraid he'd doubt me, never again paying attention when I would passionately extol the benefits of this nutrient or that food.

When I finally did confess a few days later, I armed myself with two martinis--one for each of us--and approached him where he lay on the couch, his foot propped on a precarious stack of pillows. He listened to me, attentive to my story, his face expressionless and when I got to the end of my tale, he waited a moment and then said very, very loudly, "You tried to kill me!"

He couldn't stay mad at me forever, though, even with the pain he was enduring. I knew his weaknesses and how to make the perfect martini. I also had an impossibly thick steak that I was cooking for dinner and I was positive that once he got a whiff of that steak searing in a hot cast iron pan with a little garlic, he'd quickly forgive me.