When I was waiting in line at the credit union to deposit a check the other week, I heard one of the tellers ask another, "So, how's the cookie diet going?" The second laughed and replied, "Well, the cookie jar is lighter!"
I assumed it was an inside joke. The two of them had probably been talking about fitness when someone said, "You know, I saw some ads for books in a magazine called, like, The Ice Cream Diet and The Peanut Butter Diet. Wouldn't it be great if we could just eat ice cream and peanut butter all day and lose weight?"
"Or cookies! Like a grapefruit diet, but with chocolate chips!"
"Ooh, chocolate! We should make an Oreo diet."
"Yeah, we should totally do it. We'll eat nothing but Double Stuffed for a month, lose a ton of weight and then write a book about it and make millions." [laff]
The invention of a "cookie diet" is a gag, like when Woody Allen wakes up in the 22nd century to find that cream pies and hot fudge are considered health foods. So imagine my surprise when I read yesterday that the diet is real!
Apparently people will pay some company $50+ a week--not for prepackaged meals or protein shakes--but for cookies. Cookies that contain, according to Dr. Sanford Siegal the Cookie Guru: "protein derived from meat, eggs, milk and other sources...microcrystalline cellulose...and sugar." Mmm, beef & grass snickerdoodles.
Apparently, this fad has the celebrity endorsements of Denise Richards, Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson (ABC). Yeah, well, Gwyneth Paltrow advocates detoxifying the body by drinking castor oil, which I'm pretty sure was used as a Fascist method of mob violence.
The diet is such an easy target I feel lowly for picking at it. It commits every laundry-list sin of marketing-driven fads: too restrictive, can't be maintained long-term, could lead to nutrient deficiency, and takes shameless advantage of desperate quick-fix-seeking consumers.
I mean, seriously. If you want to eat cookies and lose weight, there are cheaper and less drastic ways to do it. For breakfast, bake a batch of monster oatmeal raisin walnut cookies using applesauce instead of butter (or use my recipe for bars). For lunch, accompany some lean meats and veggies with a beta-carotene-happy pumpkin cookie. Eat a decent non-pasta dinner to leave room for a couple of small crunchy treats like these awesome-looking whole-wheat animal crackers (I want to try cocoa powder in them!). Have some fruit and mixed nuts for snacks, and you're golden.
Tada, a sane "cookie diet." Sure it doesn't give you the ideal nutritional profile, but it's more or less balanced if you don't eat too many carbohydrates on the side. Theoretically, you'll eventually learn that even cookies aren't taboo and train yourself to eat them in moderation. And there will be fewers zeros in the number on your credit card statement.