Have ?pita' on a guy who likes his carbs - Clay Wilson

When it gets to the pita bread, someone has to draw the line.

It looks as if that someone will have to be me, since just about everybody else seems to be running along willy-nilly with the low carb/no carb craze.

I was perfectly content to let it pass me by when it all started. I heard about the Atkins diet several years ago, before it surged to popularity.

An avid consumer of bread, rice, pasta n pretty much all things carb-laden n I remember thinking, "What a horrible regimen. I don't think I could endure it."

But then the Atkins Diet went mainstream, and food companies began falling all over themselves to churn out lower-carb-than-thou products. We've got low-carb pizzas, low-carb potato chips, and low-carb chocolate.

We've even got low-carb bread. It's bread, for crying out loud! It's practically the definition of carbohydrate! Why don't we just manufacture low-carb starch and be done with it?

I began to sense trouble when even fast-food restaurants came out with low-carb offerings. When Burger King® started advertising a low-carb menu, I knew the end was near. Or so I thought.

Lest I be criticized for writing on something of which I am ignorant, I should point out that I do have a little experience with low-carb food. Several weeks ago my father n who generally defines health food as regular-sized packs of M&Ms® instead of king-sized n brought home a box of cereal with the Atkins label on it.

He warned my mother n the consummate bargain shopper who thinks a cereal that costs more than 98 cents a box is just pretentious n that she wouldn't be pleased with what he had paid.

How much, she inquired. Four dollars? Seven, Dad told her, at which point she remembered why she's grateful she keeps the checkbook.

After she had related this story to me, I was sure the Atkins cereal was going to be a culinary delight. I popped it into my mouth ? and immediately spit it out.

It tasted like dirt. Not that I've ever eaten dirt, mind; but given the choice between another bite of that cereal and a big, moist morsel of potting soil, I'd have to think for a while.

My parents either would have thrown the cereal away or Dad, who hasn't forgotten his mother's admonitions about the starving kids in China, would have eaten it and washed it down with several Fun-Size Butterfingers®.

Not particularly liking either of these alternatives, I gave the cereal to a friend who is on a low-carb diet. I'm sure that after my glowing review she devoured it with gusto.

I know, I know n some people swear by low-carb diets. The aforementioned friend has lost about 15 pounds on a modified version of Atkins.

And I can imagine that people who have struggled with weight problems all their lives would look at anything that works as a gift from heaven.

But here's the straw that broke the camel's back: I've grown quite fond of pita bread and hummus. I eat it about twice a week.

So the other night I went into my favorite grocery store and casually strolled up to the shelf that normally bears my usual pita choice.

Imagine my horror when all the available pita packages read, "New Low Carb! Only Two Grams of Carbohydrates per Serving!"

I don't want low-carb pitas! I want my old high-carb pitas! I don't have a weight problem, so I shouldn't be forced to give up the one vice in which I unashamedly indulge n my carbs. Should I?

Maybe I should. Maybe Father Atkins does know best. Maybe I should just surrender my remaining dinner rolls to the local carb police.

I just can't think about it anymore. It's been a long day, and I'm really hungry.

I think I'll go munch on some dirt.

Clay Wilson is the education reporter for the Daily Herald. His column appears on Wednesdays. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or by e-mail at cwilson@henryherald.com.