The New Chef in Town – Part II

By Johnny Jones

This is the second of two articles written by Johnny Jones, a semi-pro triathlete who visited aboard MV Poseidon recently.

My Food Issues

I was a fat kid growing up but a strange desire to be a triathlete changed all that (and, of course, being fat, no one believed I’d ever fulfill this particular ambition).  On my mission to convert tubola to lean, I counted calories, obsessed over fat content and pursued every diet dujour.  Training with the same fanaticism as I pursued these dietary foibles, I lost weight and did indeed become a successful athlete.  However, the food issues never went away – and never will.  On a mental level I know full well that it was the mega-training that changed my health and body-shape.  Emotionally, food remains the devil’s work.

The irony, of course, is that I love to eat and therefore meal times become a civil war zone.

When John and Linda invited me aboard Poseidon, to share their passion for food and wine, and for their boating lifestyle, I was apprehensive.  What if their definition of ‘healthy eating’ and mine were different?  What would I be able to eat and how might I politely decline anything that crossed my food boundaries?  What if I were seasick (which I’ve experienced even on ocean swims … ).

Healthy Eating – the Debate

From the moment we set out on this voyage – a short trip to Santa Cruz – we opened our culinary conversation, because we’re all passionate about food in our different ways.    Challenging to someone like me, with my rigid rules and prejudices, is their more pragmatic attitude:

“We have three rules:  shop local, no processed food, and buy organic.”  So far, so good, I thought.  Then Linda added, “but we’re not fanatics.  When we have to, we break those rules without much guilt.”  O-kay, I said to myself.  I suppose that works – but then John had to throw in his two cents:

“And it has to taste good!” He said, an emphatic statement accompanied with a vehement gesture.  He speaks eloquently with his hands.  “I want to enjoy my life.  I love good food and fine wines and I’ll be damned if I’m going to worry over a gram of fat or the latest miserable food nanny’s lecture about red meat … “

I probably fall into the red-meat-food-nanny category but we were now pretty much beyond even my swim range from shore, I had little choice but to go along.

Here’s what I learned during my couple of days aboard Poseidon – that it’s really not that difficult to eat well, healthily and, above all, deliciously.  Sure, some of Linda’s recipes  are too rich and too red for my taste but simply by avoiding processed foods, concentrating on organic and fresh (and, in my case, curbing my tendency to want to eat everything on the table), it’s easy to feel good about eating again.

Balance Is Everything

The proof, for me, is simply the way I feel.  When I binge on ‘bad’ food – which I still do from time to time – I’m uncomfortable, ticked off and low on energy.  On Poseidon, I ate more or less to my heart’s content.  I loved the tastes and textures and never once did I remember to beat myself up for abusing my body, even though I know that I must have broken my own food rules several times.

I felt good.  I put in a couple of long, strong training swims.  I wondered if I had begun to find some food balance in my life.

I doubt I’ll be eating Linda’s Osso Buco or her Veal Saltimboca Poseidon any time soon, but so what?  She has plenty of other recipes that work for me.  I’m looking for to the publication of the cookbook  she’s now writing and, as I said in Part I, if I can only win a few races I might be invited aboard again …