Thursday, February 15, 2007

FIve Percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance of Riboflavin

Being a healthy person is more difficult than it should be. I am over forty years old, so I am supposed to be aware of what my body is saying. The problem is when my body is telling me to put down the candy bar and have a mess of broccoli; it is speaking in some arcane dialect of an indigenous tribe from the darkest recesses of the Amazon rain forest. Okay, I lied. I can understand what my body is telling me. I just don’t like what it is saying.
To accurately characterize the way my body talks to me I would have to say it is more like peeved grumbling than whimsical extemporizing. This happens most often after I have been doing physical labor for an extended amount of time (extended for me is anything which is longer than the attention span of your typical three year old watching C-Span, heck anyone watching C-Span). Shoveling snow a few weeks ago caused my body to not only grumble but to use words I cannot print in a newspaper which is not edited by Lenny Bruce.
One of the big problems with staying healthy as you get older is there is a ton of false advertising when you are younger. A double cheeseburger with onion rings and French fries followed by a chocolate shake was normal for me in college. It didn’t cause any change to my waistline and heartburn was a myth akin to Bigfoot, heard of but never experienced firsthand. No one ever told me that those things accumulated over time and when I turned 30 I’d wake up to find the size 32’s I had worn since high school were less likely to button up than Rosie O’Donnell’s mouth at a Donald Trump awards dinner. Also, the income I threw into fast food would have been much better utilized acquiring stock in the Tums Corporation because I now consume more of them than the number of Tic Tacs consumed at the 29th Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California. (There is such a thing. I looked it up.)
The other day I decided I needed to look into what foods were best for enhancing mood. If I am not totally healthy maybe I can at least be happy as I slowly damage various parts of my body. So I went to “The Google” (as President Bush would say) and did some research. I found an article on WebMD which described nutritional ways to manage mood. I hoped it would say Dr. Pepper and cherry Danishes were the secret to creating a happy individual. Unfortunately, the advice was stuff which would make me healthy, no hot fudge or mass quantities of Fritos.
Point one was to maintain stable blood sugar. Sugar, cool, I like sugar. The doctor-type people went on to explain their idea of sugar was fruit and whole grains. Where did these guys go to medical school? Sugar is Twinkies. Sugar is Ding Dongs. Sugar is Ho Hos. Sugar has happy names with a certain sense of onomatopoeiatic (I think I just made that word up) flights of imagination.
The experts also said to exercise 20 minutes a day to enhance mood. That is counter-intuitive. “Sir, we would like you to run on a treadmill for twenty minutes so you end up at the same place you started out, causing sweat to pour from various parts of your body, which will offend the olfactory senses of anyone within fifteen feet of you, after which you may very well think your legs are made of molten lead because they burn like crazy and you are not able to lift them without using your hand and arm muscles to help, and we will only charge you fifty bucks a month for the privilege.” Sure, that would cheer anybody up.
There was a brief glimmer of hope. The article said not to follow an extremely low-fat diet. This is because fat is needed for anti-depression. Eureka! In order to fight depression I need doughnuts! My glee was brought to an abrupt halt. They said I needed healthy omega-3 fats which were found in flaxseeds.
This called for another quick spin on the internet. Wikipedia describes Flaxseed as follows: It is an erect annual plant growing to 120 cm tall, with slender stems. The leaves are glaucous green, slender lanceolate, 2-4 cm long and 3 mm broad. The flowers are pure pale blue, 1.5-2.5 cm diameter, with five petals. The fruit is a round, dry capsule 5-9 mm diameter, containing several glossy brown seeds shaped like an apple pip, 4-7 mm long. Mmmmm, mmmm, don’t that sound like somethin’ straight from Aunt Bea’s kitchen.