“Food insecurity”? When did that phrase become the way to describe being poor?

No more tracking down recipes for cauliflower pizza crust! Photo courtesy of Gail Caiazzo

Our mom did the best she could, but feeding eight children on limited resources was not easy. Once a month she would go to the town hall to collect surplus food. Powdered milk, processed cheese, butter and canned meat were staples in our house. Portions were never generous.

Day-old bread and rock-hard doughnuts from Cushman’s Bakery store in Biddeford meant a diet with lots of carbohydrates.

I was always hungry. Being fashionably thin in the 1950s and early ’60s was not the look I was going for. All my friends had curvy figures, while I was as flat as a pancake.

I graduated from Old Orchard Beach High School in 1963, got a job working for Webber Hospital and moved out of our family home. Having a salary afforded me the ability to never be hungry again. I could buy my own food and eat as much as I wanted. The concept of portion control was not part of my new life.

Unfortunately, just as Twiggy became popular, I started a lifetime of worrying about my weight. The truth is I watched the scale not for my health. I hopped on that hateful device every morning because of pure vanity.


I did win the battle of the bulge until my pregnancies. When my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, I was 15 pounds heavier. Weight Watchers was in its beginning years. I had witnessed several coworkers experience success, so off to the meetings I went. Portion control became the bane of my existence. The weight came off, but food was all I thought about. I learned in my 30s that the easiest thing to find is lost weight.

As the years passed, I tried every fad diet going. The grapefruit diet. The cabbage soup diet. The hot dog diet. I had closets full of clothes waiting to be worn when I was 10 pounds thinner.

Three years ago, I tried the keto diet. I loved eating all the bacon and butter I wanted while still losing weight. I made cauliflower pizza crust and every substitute for bread imaginable.

The scale showed a favorable outcome by denying myself carbohydrates. Giving up sugar is a healthy decision. Giving up warm, crusty bread and pasta? I always felt like I was being punished.

Much of my social life as a retired person revolves around going out to eat. Watching those hot rolls go by is torture. Looking for low-carb items on menus also means seeing every other delectable item on those same menus.

During COVID-19, I realize my skin has become too big for my body. It has nothing to do with the pandemic and everything to do with my age. When I look at my arms, I wonder, how did this happen? Wasn’t it yesterday that I was young?

Vanity is such a curse. The scale is still an addiction, but accepting the number has become easier.

So, I am quitting dieting. But wait … what is this intermittent-fasting thing?


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