Monday, August 10, 2009

Don't Worry, Eat Cheese (and Tomatoes)--Live to 80

Today is Monday and the world seems to be obsessed with health care or lack of it. On CNN and've tuned in all day and now I'm ready to tune out. It's time to make a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough with tomatoes--like the Dutch do... After all, the stats show folks in the Netherlands live longer--to 80--than Americans do. And when I did a quick search about their diet I discovered that for breakfast--cheese and French bread are a thumbs up. What's more, the Netherlands is a hot spot for tomatoes.

It seems like health care companies are raising their premiums and deductibles and we the people in America are getting less not more health care. I flunked math in college but this formula doesn't add up. I'm not getting my money's worth or so it seems. I decided to downgrade my catastrophic insurance plan. It's depressing me. I'm still in "healthy tier 1" but it's my healthful lifestyle strategies not theirs that is keeping me healthy, poor (not wealthy), and wise...
So, what are the odds that I will get slammed by a catastrophe tomorrow, next month, next year, or in 10 years? In my Woman's World days, as the diet and nutrition columnist, I wrote, more than once, that 60% of all diseases such as cancer and heart disease can be prevented by eating a healthful, nutrient-dense diet. And in my book Doctors' Orders, the 101 docs dished out tons of personal tips on how diet and a healthful lifestyle can keep you happy and healthy. Plus, I figured out today that health insurance doesn't make you healthy (it's nice to have though in case a bear attacks me or I get snowbound in the wilderness for a week)--it's the lifestyle choices that play a big role in staying out of the hospital.

Meanwhile, I sort of wish I were anywhere else but here--a comforting place where everyone gets health care. No worries. Comfort. As a kid, I loved grilled cheese sandwiches. They're comfort food. Now, as a disgruntled baby boomer I'm craving a healthful sandwich: Edam and Gouda gourmet cheeses (I won't give these up) sliced on whole wheat French bread with fresh tomatoes off the vine. Grilled. No complicated instructions or hidden ingredients. It's simple. It will make me feel better. And maybe I will plan an escape to the Netherlands where everyone has health insurance, eats cheese and tomatoes. And then, I can plan on finding hobbies when I am ready to join the octogenarian group. Sounds like a doable plan to me.


  1. You have given us a recipe for a great Comfort Food! I don't think you should ever give up Edam and Gouda either. Our bakery (in Crete) has started baking "mini bread loaves." Whole wheat flour loaves perfect for a sandwich for 1 or 2 people. Edam cheese is easy to buy sliced for sandwiches we just choose the amount in grams (or kilos!) that we want and say "fetes yia sandwich" slices for sandwiches. I'm going to make this sandwich today!

  2. Hey there. And more good news: These foods are part of the health-boosting Mediterranean diet. So there you go. A traditional health plan that works.

  3. Cal, we couldn't decide who's turn it was to go to the bakery so we made the sandwich with Arabian pita. Yummy, but not so much a comfort food! I liked the crunchiness of the grilled pita.

    We have a regular sandwich grill with a lid that presses down so that both sides are grilled at the same time. How do you grill your sandwich?

  4. I like to use a frying pan and add a splash of olive oil. A small not big amount of butter (sibling does it this way) can work, too. You'll get the crunchies (to help you destress from the out of whack health care woes) and the comfort feel (of eating the gooey gourmet cheeses). And the tomatoes? Hey, these guys are chock-full of disease-fighting antioxidants and I love the pairing (been eating 'em for yrs). P.S. You can use the microwave but no crunchies to enjoy.

  5. I thought more about this and love to have one of those sandwich grill gadgets (saw on TV). Also, putting it in the oven broiler can work too to get the crispy, browned wonder. Prob healthier than "frying" but it's a choice thing.