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Little Spouse On The Prairie: Large Curd Cottage Cheese

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Valerie Brown-Kuchera
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Although I talked about nicknames a few episodes ago, I have an update. Joel’s new nickname for me is Large Curd.  I’m just about as impressed with this one as I was Val Movement from back in grade school.  Let me explain.

After New Year’s, I thought I’d give the extremely low carb diet a go.  I’ve had several friends who dropped 20 pounds in as many days. I planned to use the rapid weight loss associated with extremely low carb dieting as a jump start to a healthier new year.  I can stick with anything for a few weeks, and after the initial plummet, I planned to moderate by adding a few unprocessed carbs from fruits and vegetables.

I acquired my lovely new nickname when I was still in the beginning stages of the ultra-low-carb diet – this was back before I had lost the will to live.  I had just finished eating a surprisingly delicious carb-free dinner of cooked cabbage and salt-pork while my family had homemade spaghetti and meatballs.  My children and spouse were arguing over the best toppings to put on their dessert of French vanilla ice-cream, and I simply made the remark, “Hmm.  I can’t decide whether to have a dish of large-curd cottage cheese or a cup of hot tea with cinnamon?

I’m not exactly sure why, but the room erupted into cruel laughter at that point, and my always supportive husband started hollering, “God forbid you’d have small-curd.  No!  You’ve gotta have large-curd.”

Clementine said, “Poor Small-Curd.  Small-Curd is going to feel bad. Do you not like little things, Mommy?”

The teenagers jumped on the bandwagon and started chanting, ‘Large-Curd! Large-Curd! Large-Curd!”

Luckily, the bullying didn’t last long, since their French vanilla ice cream with various toppings was melting and they needed to focus on finishing up those processed carbs. I went with the hot tea.

I was as dedicated to the ultra-low-carb diet as I have been to anything in my life.  I had preplanned only one day of indulgence on my daughter’s 16th birthday party, but other than that, I was eating only meat, dairy, and nuts. In a great show of solidarity, Joel said, “Listen, Large Curd, I’ll take a cheat day on Millie’s birthday as well. Instead of my usual four Dr. Peppers, I’ll have five, and I’ll eat three large slices of chocolate cake instead of two at the party.”

For 30 days, I passed on cookies, bread, pasta, cakes, candies, and even fruit and colorful vegetables.  I ate hamburgers without buns, pizza with no crust, chili with no crackers, and peanut butter with no bread.  For a snack, I had a boiled egg with vinegar on it.  For lunch at work, I ate a pile of tuna on a no-carb cracker that resembled something that a semi-truck ran over and tasted worse (not that I make it habit to eat something a truck ran over).  Since the crackers looked like wood shingles and were probably more weather resistant, I suggested we use them on the shed, but Joel said they cost more than cedar.

By the way, why does food that has fewer ingredients and less processing cost more than highly processed food with an ingredient list that takes a degree in chemistry to understand?

And what did I achieve in my miraculous month of self-denial and food austerity?  I gained three pounds. Weight and a new nickname weren’t the only things I did not lose.  I think I made a grand total of three solid waste trips to the restroom during that entire month.  My pants felt tight. I was miserable. My friends, who had jettisoned half their body weight in a month on the ultra-low-carb diet, assumed I was lying about my eating habits. And despite my growing attachment to my new nickname, I was starting to fear Joel would drop the “Curd” part and just start calling me, “Large.”

So I called it off.  I went back to my usual eating habits, and within a few days, had lost the weight I gained during the failed experiment.  My family is happy that I’m not making pasta out of turnips anymore, and I am happy that I can enjoy carrot sticks again.

Host of Little Spouse on the Prairie, a regional comedy feature that airs Sundays at 8:35 a.m. during Weekend Edition.