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This is more than a diet book. It’s a food book.

I know what you’re thinking. The Midlife Second Wife has really done it now. She drank the Kool-Aid. Have you not been following this? Kool-Aid is not allowed on the Digest Diet. But yes, I agree with you. Two exclamation points in one headline is a tad zealous. In my defense I could not help myself. Why? I weighed myself this morning and since starting this diet 18 days ago, I have lost nearly nine pounds. (Eight pounds six ounces, for the sticklers among you.) I am less than one pound away from my implicit goal: to get my weight under 200 pounds. Put another way, I began at 209 pounds four ounces, and I now weigh 200 pounds eight ounces. I have lost eight one-pound packages of butter, for crying out loud. Can you blame me for expressing a bit of fervor?

How is this even possible? I have rarely felt hungry, I haven’t had a single craving for anything I used to consume with such abandon, and I really enjoy preparing the foods in this diet book. To call it a diet book, however, seems wrong, somehow; I think—and I hope the coming weeks will bear this out—that this is really a food book. A book on the best food to eat, how to eat it, and how often.

Collateral benefits? I’ve had a few. My knee joints are not as painful as they once were. I have more energy. And my skin has much more clarity than it did two-and-a-half weeks ago.

Let me tell you what I had for lunch recently. No wait. I’ll show you first.

Gazpacho served with five-grain whole wheat bread and skim milk

Here’s how easy it was to prepare this lunch. First, go to the market and buy a small
boule (French for ball) loaf of five-grain whole wheat bread and a carton of skim milk. For the gazpacho, which is served cold or at room temperature, grab a couple of plum or Roma tomatoes, a cucumber, a small red onion, and—if you don’t already have some stored in your refrigerator—flaxseed meal. You probably have the rest of the ingredients in your pantry (red wine vinegar and Cayenne pepper). Then, do this:

Spicy Blender Gazpacho
—Makes One Serving

Coarsely chop two plum tomatoes, one-half of a cucumber (peeled), and one-eighth of a small red onion. Throw ’em in the blender. Add two tablespoons of flaxseed meal. Then, to your taste, add cayenne pepper and red-wine vinegar. Blend for about as long as it takes you to pour a half-glass of skim milk.

And that, my friends, is that. Delicious. And as I’ve found so often with these recipes, I couldn’t finish the entire serving. I’m going to have the one-quarter cup or so of gazpacho for lunch today with a tuna, egg, chickpea, and arugula salad (with buttermilk dressing, if you can believe it) that I made for lunch yesterday.

I’d hang around and tell you more about all of this, but it’s time for my mid-morning snack. What am I having, you ask? It’s a dreamy little concoction that reminds me of a prune Danish without the pastry. I stir two chopped organic prunes into one-quarter cup of low-fat ricotta cheese and add a pinch of cinnamon to taste.

(The book calls for dates but I don’t have any; I do, however, have a package of organic prunes in the fridge. It also asks for fat-free ricotta but I wasn’t able to find that.) Even using low-fat rather than fat-free ricotta, I’m on a roll. And it’s better to be on a roll than to have one around your middle. My roll, dear friends, is deflating as we speak.

Other than providing me with a copy of The Digest Diet, Readers’ Digest is not paying me to blog about my experience on the program. (If I lose the weight I hope to lose, that will be compensation enough.)