Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Food Writer Turns Page on Weight; How I Did It; 'I Knew a Lot about Food but Nothing about Nutrition.'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Food Writer Turns Page on Weight; How I Did It; 'I Knew a Lot about Food but Nothing about Nutrition.'

Article excerpt

Weight gain is an occupational hazard for Pat Eby, a St. Louis- based food writer or anyone else who cooks, eats or writes about cooking and eating for a living.

But it became more clear last year when her doctor said her health numbers were prediabetic. "At my age, I didn't want to go on with diabetes in my future," Eby said.

In May 2011, she had reached 250 pounds. "I've always been heavy," she said. "My whole life, size 16 was skinny for me." Still, she had to make a change and under some rough circumstances.

Eby writes about food for Feast Magazine and does freelance articles for the Post-Dispatch as well as two food and art blogs. That means she's surrounded constantly not only by food, but by food that has been prepared by professional chefs, restaurant owners and otherwise splendid cooks. When she's not sampling, she's discussing food or recipes.

Even when she was alone, writing or planning to write, she's inundated by the thought of food.

"That was it; I like good food a lot," she said.

But was it worth her life? Did she have to give it up to reclaim good health?

She took a moment to look at some things going for her. She reads a lot, especially about food. She knows things about food that a layman may not. More than that she said, she realized her shortcomings. "I knew a lot about food but nothing about nutrition," she said.

So she listened to her first advice: from her doctor. Cut back on empty carbs and increase the fiber. "She told me to have beans five times a week," Eby said. She also cut back on meat because of its fat content.

Then she started reading. One of the books she picked up was by New Orleans superchef Paul Prudhomme, who at 485 pounds went on a trek that led to his loss of 130 pounds. He wrote "Fork in the Road," which taught Eby how to rely on spices rather than butter and cream for flavor and texture.

One example, she began to make her own yogurt cheese: Put yogurt in a coffee filter and strainer overnight. The next morning, the moisture has drained away and a thick spread remains that she uses in place of butter. …

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