How to Eat Right

by Richard Key

1-1248162279aYOFLet’s say you want to eat healthier.

First of all, thanks to the tireless work of scientists, physicians, nutritionists, and Joey Chestnut, there is much more information available than when you were a kid. “Eat a balanced diet,” your mother would say sometime back in the Bronze Age. “All things in moderation,” your priest would admonish.

Well, just forget everything they ever said. It’s all been replaced by up-to-date studies, twenty-first century studies hot off the presses—I mean, laser printers. Studies on top of studies. Some are written in German. And they all take into account the latest in medical research by real PhDs, much of which is based on actual data that wasn’t just made up to get some pain-in-the-ass professor off their backs.

All this information is great news for those of us who want to stay healthy by following a few guidelines for our diet. “You are what you eat,” they used to say—your mom and that priest, neither of whom knew anything, we’re finding out by the day. Of course, in effect you are what you eat, eventually, and so it’s important to pay attention to what’s going down the hatch, so to speak.

But it’s terrible news for those of us who like food to taste good. You can’t have it both ways is the bottom line. First off, you can never ever have pizza again in this life. It’s extremely high in sodium. You get as much sodium as you need in one day just from picking up the telephone to call in an order of pizza. More if you order online. Add to that the fat, the carbs, the sugar in the tomato sauce, and you might as well jump in front of a train.

So, that’s the worst of the bad news: no pizza ever. Not even if it’s your birthday. Not even thin crust with veggies and half the cheese. Not even if your eight-year-old nephew who’s dying of leukemia contacts Make-A-Wish Foundation and his only request is for you to have a pizza before he dies. Ever.

So, now we turn to organic foods, one of the most exciting agricultural developments of recent years. Why is organic so important? Because committing to eating organically grown foods whenever possible ensures that you will pay twice as much for groceries. Then, when your family finds itself struggling financially, you will be forced to forage for food in your own backyard, if you still have one. This is what we call “eating locally,” the second most important development in the food industry. If your house goes into foreclosure, that’s even better, since you can look for local food items as you push your belongings down the street in a shopping cart.

Eating locally is good for you and good for the planet. Of course, you’ll have to say good-bye to bananas, not to mention papaya and kiwi fruit. You won’t miss them. They’re probably covered with pesticide anyway—the kind that doesn’t wash off, even when you scrub. The kind that immediately enters your bloodstream and melds with your DNA to wreak all sorts of havoc.

That’s why organic foods are so important. They’re grown entirely without harmful chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones. But on the way to your house from California they lose all of their nutritional value and are basically worthless. You should still buy them anyway, though, to encourage the industry, so that we don’t get stuck in the present cycle of death. Maybe you can throw your expensive groceries into a compost heap out back and plant blueberries.

Now, take a marker and walk over to the large canisters on your kitchen counter that contain sugar and flour. If you’re good with art, draw a skull and crossbones on the front of each. If you’re not so good with drawing, and your skull looks more like Casper the Friendly Ghost, just write “rat poison” in large letters. We now know that sugar and white flour are two of the worst things you can put into your body. Oh, sure, your mom used them to make you pancakes every Saturday morning and even gave you warmed-up maple syrup to pour over them. Well, it’s becoming crystal clear where Mom stands in all this, isn’t it? Lee Harvey Oswald has nothing on Mom. With you out of the picture, what’s to stop her from running off with that priest, scandalizing the whole country, dropping weak platitudes and worn-out aphorisms from the car windows as they look for another sleazy motel to shack up in.

That about sums it up. Basically, the best thing to do is to limit your diet to organic blueberries grown in your own yard. You may have an egg every now and then, if they’re from chickens that are allowed to roam free in a happy, carefree existence, with ready access to public transportation and high-quality literature. In case you’re wondering, it’s not difficult to get a library card for a chicken. Just go to the desk when that loopy girl with the long fingernails and the curly hair is engrossed in some texting marathon.

If you have no yard or anyplace to grow things, take the bus out into the countryside, far from the city and all pollutants. There you can jump up and catch bugs with your mouth right out of the air. High in protein and low in fat, bugs are almost the perfect food, not to mention free, except for the bus ride. And the jumping is excellent exercise. They tell us frogs have some of the lowest rates of heart disease among amphibians.



Category: Short Story