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A New Year, New Resolutions by Jason Longman

I’m having a wee bit of a problem these days, even though work is going great. Home life is awesome. My kids are healthy, my wife is happy, and my car has halted its annoying habit of breaking down on the fifteenth of the month. So what’s wrong?

Oh, just your garden variety battle for my soul.

A little background. If you’re like me—and let’s be honest, let’s hope you’re not—but if you are, New Year’s Resolutions tend to be the cause of some panic/mild hysteria. I have heard rumor of rare creatures that have their resolutions set in stone months in advance. To steal a line from Seinfeld, I believe this is a myth, something along the lines of Sasquatch or its North American cousin, the Yeti.

I firmly believe that the majority of people who make resolutions do so at approximately 11:49 p.m. on December 31. This particular time and date are really not conducive to clear-headed, rational decision making. Let’s face it: resolutions are big decisions because they’re supposed to last an entire year. Yet millions of Americans, just before the ball drops in Times Square, blurt out something inane like “I’m going to lose weight” or “Quit snacking,” or even the one I made last year: “Stop secretly adjusting the seat in my wife’s car everyday just to drive her crazy, and then secretly tape her phone call to the Toyota dealership as she tries to explain the problem.” I would love to tell you that this year was different. It was not.

Pressured by my neighbors at dinner on New Year’s Eve, I actually came up with not one, but two resolutions, which greatly impressed everyone around the table. One stupid resolution would have been fine, but I had to go out and be cooler than everyone else.

Big mistake.

Why? Because my resolutions are my archenemies.

My first resolution was to lose ten pounds in 2008. Should be a snap. I eat a healthy diet that would be Jordan Rubin-approved, for the most part. The way I view things, all I need to do is get into the gym after a long hiatus and start working out. In no time, ten pounds would melt off my frame. A pretty simple resolution.

Then there was the second resolution—the one where I resolved to become an expert . . . baker. I’m talking cookies. Cake. Pies. Brownies—items generally not Jordan Rubin-approved, unless made with organic ingredients. That was going to be a problem. In case you weren’t aware of these things, baked goods usually have ingredients like sugar, brown sugar, confectioner’s sugar, and occasionally corn syrup (a fancy name for liquid sugar). Of course, there is also bread and its main ingredient, flour—as in, “flour the evil third cousin to sugar where diets are concerned.”

A word on the baking thing. I grew up in a household where baked goods were commonplace. My father introduced me to such culinary delights as salt-rising bread, the first bite of which still lingers on my tongue to this day. My grandmother actually had a key lime tree in her yard, and the memory of her homemade Key Lime Pie still makes my knees weak. My mother also made these delicious cheese straws that reminded me of the Lay’s potato chip jingle: “Bet you can’t eat just one.” I couldn’t. I usually wolfed down the entire batch of cheese straws.

As you can see, baking is in my genes, and the one thing that has been drilled into my head is that if you want to become a great baker, you need to constantly ply your trade. Hence my New Year’s resolution.

The beginning was pure hell. On New Year’s Day, I made chocolate chip cookies with three kinds of chocolate. Of course, the recipe wasn’t perfect, so I had to tinker and make another batch. The resulting guilt of “testing” two batches of cookies manifested itself in a couple of two-hour sessions at the gym. Basically for every hour I spent baking, I was having to spend an equal number of hours exercising.

I actually tallied up the time I would spend if I fully committed to both resolutions. When added to activities that must take place like work, sleep, and watching Season 3 of Lost on DVD, I found that I would have to cut out some non-essential things in order to make my schedule work. Things like bathing, speaking to my wife, and taking part in child-rearing.

Something had to give. Seven days later—and two batches of cookies, a Texas sheet cake, and a loaf of honey-wheat bread and 13 hours at the gym—I was beginning to crack. Of course the answer, like so many answers do, knocked on my door at six o’clock one evening.

My neighbor wanted to borrow some tin foil to cover the lasagna she was baking. In the process she supplied me with an ingenious plan. A plan so twisted and evil that I believe one day they will make a Lifetime movie about it.

The next morning I carefully placed a selection of goodies into plastic containers that I planned to leave on neighbor’s doorsteps. I wrote little notes on them saying that I wanted everyone to try my baked goodies and let me know if they liked them. On the way to church that Sunday morning, I stopped by several houses and left cookies and cake at the front door of several neighbors—neighbors and friends who undoubtedly had made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight.

Am I sabotaging their diets? I don’t think so. In fact, I think my idea is a win-win for me and for them, and here’s why. First, I’ve found an audience to share the heavenly output of my desire to bake some really great-tasting desserts and homemade breads. Win for me. Because I’m delivering these treats just once a week, I’m not causing anyone to fall off the diet wagon. After all, moderation is the key, and even Jordan said it was okay to include a “cheat” meal or treat a couple of times a week in his new book, Perfect Weight America. A win for them.

My neighbors now know that once a week, they will get a small package of yummy goodness that must last them through the week. Made by hand and with joy in my heart, I like to think that my neighbors savor the moment they get to eat their just desserts. “One cookie among a sea of healthy foods and exercise shall do no harm.” That’s my presidential motto for 2008, and right now I have the full support of the Winfield subdivision.

This will all change in 2009, however, when I unveil my new resolution: Learn how to cook with beans.

To find some really healthy foods, go to my new company, Beyond Organic

New Chapter Natural Bone Health
New Chapter Natural Bone Health
Common Makers Diet Jordan Rubin misspellings are Jordan Ruben, Jordan Reuben, Jordon Rubin, Jordon Ruben, or Jordon Reuben