How the Flat Belly Diet can save newspapers

This morning, I made a variation on Eggs Florentine with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto for Father’s Day breakfast. This is our 10th day on the diet, and we’ve lost several inches and a (depressingly) few pounds. Happily, we’ve not starved. But oh, how we’ve missed those India Pale Ales.
Because I am too cheap to purchase the books myself, I borrowed them from my in-laws, who ordered them online through Prevention magazine. For $40-plus bucks, you get a book explaining how the diet works: Eat four meals a day of no more than 400 calories; eat every four hours; and enjoy a MUFA at every meal (a “good” Mono-unsaturated fatty acid such as are found in olive/safflower/peanut oils, nuts and seeds, avocados and — here’s my favorite part — dark chocolate).

You also get a cookbook full of tasty and easy to follow recipes. Though I had to tinker with the recipe because I didn’t have any sun-dried tomato pesto, the Eggs Florentine brought to mind my favorite meal from my favorite breakfast restaurant, The Breakfast Club on Tybee Island.
With the inlaws about to return from their trip to Maine, last night I realized that I’ll need to return the books soon. So, like any smart web user and recession-weary cheap-O, I went to the Flat Belly Diet Web site to see if I could get the same recipe and materials for free.  I found plenty of promotional materials online, including videos of authors Liz Vaccariello and Cynthia Sass explaining the miracle of MUFAs and “sassy water.” There were also testimonials galore about how you, too, could lose 15 pounds in just 32 days!

But what I really wanted — the recipes — was nowhere to be found. Even Prevention magazine’s recipe finder didn’t include them.
Smart people, those flat-belly mavens.
If newspapers could make their juiciest content fee-based, maybe they could staunch the financial bleed-out.
But they’ve got to do what the MUFA ladies have done: They’ve got to give them material that means something — content that readers can’t find anywhere else. And these century-plus-old institutions have got to do it quicker than the usual bureaucratic pace they’re used to doing things.

Like dieting, it won’t be easy. There will be complaints, pangs of hunger for the old carb-fest days. There’ll need to be a complete overhaul in payment and ad-rate structures that will leave steady readers and advertisers clamoring for the days when they could have as many IPAs as they wanted. 

But eventually, over time, people will realize how good the new structure fits — like those favorite jeans you haven’t been able to get into for years but can’t bring yourself to donate to Goodwill.

Brave publishers and stockholders and business-minded folk, please unite and innovate our way out of this mess. Our very health depends on it.

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  2. bethmacy

     /  June 23, 2009

    Thanks, Ms. Fraught. Now that I’m blogging, I’m going to add your blog to my reader — a term I wasn’t even familiar with till, oh, about 72 hours ago! 🙂
    5 pounds and counting now . . . when do you suppose i could add back the occasional IPA’s?? 🙂

  3. fraught

     /  June 23, 2009

    Beth’s blogging! Thank the good heavens above — I was terribly afraid I’d have to go cold turkey while you were gone!

    Lovely posts, all. (And thanks for the recipe. No beer on the FBD? Uh-oh. I’m out.)

  4. Chris

     /  June 22, 2009

    After a certain age [say, 30] I don’t think a “flat belly” is all that dignified. Also, without a pot belly, what would I rest my coffee mug on while I’m reading the paper? Or my beer, for that matter?

  5. Mary Bishop

     /  June 21, 2009

    Who else would make the leap from a frustrating online search for pesto to the death throes of a mega-industry? So true, Beth. Our old biz has been giving itself away so long, it doesn’t know how to withhold and prosper….Mary

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