Dave Barry on Nutrition, Diets, and Doctors 
Author Message
 Dave Barry on Nutrition, Diets, and Doctors

The following is some material from Dave Barry's `Stay Fit & Healthy
Until You're Dead'.  I figured that, since it uses the same logic many
sci.med posters apply, it was appropriate here....

(For those who want the full effect, the book, replete with
illustrations, can be found in the HUMOUR SECTION [hint hint] of your
local bookstore.  The publisher is Rodale, ISBN 0-87857-570-7.)

                        *       *       *


Your digestive system is your body's Fun House, whereby cooking.net">food goes on a
long, dark, scary ride, taking all kinds of unexpected twists and
turns, being attacked by vicious secretions along the way, and not
knowing until the last minute whether it will be turned into a useful
body part or ejected into the Dark Hole by Minster Sphincter.  You must
be careful about what you eat, unless you want your body making heart
valves out of things like bean dip.

                        *       *       *


Your respiratory system takes in oxygen and gives off carbon monoxide,
a deadly gas, by a process called ``photosynthesis.''  This takes place
in your lungs, yam-shaped organs in your chest containing millions of
tiny little air sacs, called ``Bernice.''  In a normal person, these
sacs are healthy and pink, whereas in smokers they have the wretched,
soot-stained, anguished look of the people fleeing Atlanta in *Gone
with the Wind*.  This has led many noted medical researchers to
conclude that smoking is unhealthy, but we must weigh this against the
fact that most of the people in cigarette adverti{*filter*}ts are generally
horse-riding, helicopter-flying hunks of major-league manhood, whereas
your noted medical researchers tend to be pasty little wimps of the
variety that you routinely held upside down over the toilet in junior
high school.


This is, of course, your heart, a fist-sized muscle in your chest with
a two-inch-thick layer of greasy fat clinging to it consisting of every
Milky Way you ever ate.  Your heart's job is to pump your {*filter*}, which
appears to be nothing more than a red liquid but which, according to
biologists (this should come as no surprise), is actually teeming with
millions of organisms, some of htem with tentacles so they can teem
more efficiently.

                        *       *       *


In your great-great-grandfather's day, nobody had to worry about proper
nutrition, because people lived on farms and ate wholesome, natural
foods.  Whenever they needed meat, they just went out and whacked off a
sector of the family cow.  When they needed bread, they just cut down
some wheat, then they threshed it, then they took the grain and started
grinding it up, then they said, ``Nah, the hell with it; let's just eat
sector of cow tonight.''

Today, unfortunately, most cows are grown by giant multinational
corporations, who feed them harmful preservatives day and night for the
express purpose of killing innocent consumers.  Many cows are so full
of toxic chemicals that they explode right in the pasture, leaving
behind only billowing clouds of greenish fumes, which cause acid rain.
You have the same kind of problems with white bread and refined sugar,
both of which, if eaten, cause death within hours.  This is why it's so
important in today's world that you watch what you eat, at least until
you get it inside your mouth.  After that, it gets pretty disgusting.

                        *       *       *


Virtually nothing.  I mean, if the product contains some dangerous
chemical, you don't think the label writer, who has a mortgage and kids
with braces just the same as you do, is going to risk his job by saying
so, do you?  Of course not.  This is why all labels are written in
label jargon, such as ``This product contains not less than 0.02
percent of rehydroxylated glutonium or abstract of debentured soybean
{*filter*}ia, whichever comes first.''  The more of this kind of jargon
you see, the more likely it is that the label writer has something to

So what I recomment is, instead of trying to understand the words on
the label, you simply figure out the average number of syllables per
word.  If the average is two or below, the product is probably safe to
eat in small quantities.  If the average is three or four, you're
probably dealing with a product that cauess grave concern in laboratory
rats.  If the average is five or more, you should set the container
down very carefully and flee the vicinity on foot.


Vitamins are little pills named A, B, C, D, E, and K that the
government recomments you have certain amounts of.  These
recommendations are based on the requirements of the Minimum Daily
{*filter*}, a truly pathetic individual that the government keeps in this
special facility in Washington, D.C., where he is fed things with names
like ``riboflavin.''

Physicians generally pooh-pooh the value of vitamins, but this is
because you can get vitamins into your body without the aid of
physicians.  If the only way it could be done was for a team of eight
surgeons to implant a special $263,000 trapdoor in your head,
physicians would say vitamins were the best thing since luxury German

The truth is that vitamins are very good for you, and each morning you
should take a vitamin A pill, followed by a vitamin D pill, followed by
an E, until you have spelled the healthful mnemonic phrase ``A DEAD CAD
BAKED A BAD CAKE, ACE.''  This will probably be plenty of vitamins for
you, but be alert for the Four Major Warning Signs of Vitamin
Deficiency, which are:


    A sudden fondness for Wayne Newton

    Unusually thick coats on wooly caterpillars


If you notice any of these signs, you should add the phrase ``A BEAKED

                        *       *       *


Fiber is definitely the number one hot trend in the world of natural
health, threatening to break all the old records set by ``pH
balance.''  Remember, back in the 70s, when every product you
bought---food, shampoo, tires---was advertised as being pH balanced,
even though nobody ever knew what the hell it meant?  Well, it's like
that with fiber today, and so naturally I recommend you eat all the
fiber-rich foods you can shove down your throat.  These would be mainly
your cotton candy and your Slim Jims.

                        *       *       *


To answer that question, locate yourself on the medical chart provided
here.  [Sorry, not provided; however, all entries are of the form `you
really ought to lose some weight.']  Chances are the chart shows that
you're above your proper weight.  The reason is that you eat too many
foods that are high in ``calories'', which are little units that
measure how good a particular cooking.net">food tastes.  Fudge, for example, has a
great many calories, whereas celery, which is not really a cooking.net">food at all
but a member of the plywood family, provided by Mother Nature so that
mankind would have a way to get onion dip into his mouth at parties,
has none.


Obviously, the only sane way to lose weight, and to keep it off, is
to...  *Hey!*  Who *are* you guys?!!  Wait a minute!! You can't just
barge in here and...

                        IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

        Ladies and Gentlemen:  Please do not be alarmed.  This
        book has been temporarily taken over by the brotherhood
        of diet book authors.  It has come to our attention that
        Mr. Barry was about to tell you that---ha ha, this is a
        good one---Mr. Barry was about to tell you that the only
        sane way to lose weight is simply to eat less and get
        some exercise.  Ha ha, what a crazy idea.  Of course, if
        it were that simple, there would be no need for us to
        write roughly 6,000 lengthy new diet books every year,
        would there?

        Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this
        interruption has caused.  We will return Mr. Barry to
        you just as soon as our enforcement division, headed by
        the paramecium brothers, Anthony and Victor, finishes
        explaining our position to Mr. Barry through a piece of
        industrial drainpipe inserted into his ear.  Thank you.

So as I was saying, the only sane way to lose weight is to get yourself
on, and then stick to, a regular, planned, conscientious program of
purchasing newly published diet books.  Here are some that I especially

    The Handsome Sincere Random Doctor Medical Diet

    Poop Yourself Thin

    The Elvis Presley Memorial Diet

    The Total Tapeworm Diet

    How to Lose Weight in the Coming Depression

    Shed Unwanted Ounces the Orson Welles Way

    The Dead Preppy Cat Microcomputer Diet Book

    The All-Goat-Products Diet

    The Frequent Casual Motel Sex Diet

    The Amazing Mother Theresa Weight Loss Plan

All of these books are very excellent, and there are thousands more
that are just as good, many of them offering such proven and
time-tested features as consecutively numbered pages.

                        *       *       *


Even the healthiest person, if he follows the fitness program described
in this book, will eventually need medical care.  Fortunately, we
Americans live in a nation where the medical-care system is second to
none in the world, unless you count maybe 25 or 30 little scuzball
countries like Scotland that we could vaporize in seconds if we felt
like it.

What we're going to talk about in this chapter is how you can become
more aware of the various problems that your body can develop, so that
you'll be better able to worry about them.  We'll also talk about how,
if you actually do become sick, you can explain your problems to the
medical-care establishment in such a way that it does not immediately
yank out a useful organ.

                        *       *       *


To get the most out of a doctor, you have to understand how he
perceives the world, which is best summed up by the last sentence of
the Hippocratic Oath:


Yes, doctors tend to feel just a tad superior to the general public,
but this is understandable.  Doctors are generally smart people, the
kind who were attending meetings of the National Honor Society while
you were leaning out the study hall window seeing if you could spit on
passing nuns.  In college and medical school, doctors spend years
associating with other smart people and learning complicated things
like the location of the pituitary gland.  When they get out, the last
thing they feel like doing is consorting with a bunch of cretin
patients, who not only have no idea where the pituitary gland is, but
are often sick besides.

So, the important rule to remember when you're dealing with a doctor is
this: *never* tell him what you think the problem is, even if you're
absolutely certain.  If you tell him what you think, he'll become
irritated and go out of his way to prove you're wrong:

    YOU:  Doctor, I think I have suffered a knife would to the

    DOCTOR (sneering):  Oh you do, do you?  And what makes you
    think that?

    YOU:  Well, several hostile urban youths accosted me on the
    street and stuck a knife in my stomach.  See?  Here's the knife
    handle, sticking out of my stomach.

    DOCTOR (examining your foot):  That could be caused by any
    number of conditions, such as an amalgamation of the pyloric
    valve or an interdiction of the right epistolary oracle.  I'm
    going to send you to the hospital for some tests next week.

The phrase ``send you to the hospital for some tests'' is medical code
for ``drain all the {*filter*} out of your body.''  {*filter*} removal is the
primary form of health care in the United States, and it has been ever
since April 4, 1906, when the founder of the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Ted
Clinic, happened to be cutting open diseased woodland creatures, as was
his wont, and made an amazing discovery: all of the creatures contained
{*filter*}.  He concluded that {*filter*} must be a leading cause of disease,
which is why today when you go into the hospital, various personnel are
always lunging at you with needles.  They are very conscientious about
this because they don't want to get a {*filter*} note from the doctor (``3
PM---Patient still contains traces of {*filter*}!  Let's not let this happen

                        *       *       *
In-Real-Life: Chris Torek, Univ of MD Comp Sci Dept (+1 301 454 7163)

Mon, 19 Apr 1993 06:27:00 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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