Blog | Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Let's eat right for success and popularity

This one is for all you perplexed nutrition-conscious readers! You know who you are. You’ve had it with all that nutritional advice and diet plans; where has it gotten you? Weight control is a bore as well as an elusive and vain pursuit; just as all the studies attest, you’ve always gained back everything you lost after a year has elapsed. Are you any the better for it? It’s time to rethink your goals. The real reason we want to lose weight isn’t to live longer, it’s to live better. So why not keep your eyes on the prize and aim for the real goal: success and popularity!

How can a diet help you win friends and influence people? Over the past 30 years of intense research and testing, my partner (Mrs. Dr. Sack) and I have discovered the secrets of eating your way to success and popularity. In the next few paragraphs, we will share with you a synopsis of these valuable lessons. If you find them useful, you can send for the full text of our revolutionary new method at the ridiculously low price of only $15.99 plus postage.

Chapter 1. What not to eat at the cocktail party

Never mind what you should eat at the party. Just mind what you shouldn’t.

With your first drink: Avoid cheese and crackers. They always break and you will look foolish. Don’t eat the shrimp if it has tails you have to leave over. It looks bad on your plate. Stick to the hors d’oeuvres that pop in the mouth and leave little residue. And under no circumstances choose the pigs-in-blankets; it immediately marks you as low-class.

With your second drink, try to avoid things that will leave a stain when you spill them, or if you are wearing anything low-cut and pushed up, that might dribble in. Unless you are aiming to attract attention, in which case choose something creamy and not mustard or cocktail sauce.

With your third drink, be sure not to choose things that roll, such as olives. By now your balance is off and so will your game be if you are more focused on the orb on your plate than on gazing into those gorgeous orbs in front of you.

With the fourth drink, STAY AWAY from anything with toothpicks in it! We are serious. Toothpicks are one of the most frequently swallowed foreign objects we are called to remove from stomachs or even colons, and most often this occurs as a result of distracted deglutition (i.e., masticating while drunk). No joke.

With your fifth drink, the only caveat is to choose foods that will taste just as good going down as they will coming back in the other direction, since at the very least you will be experiencing some repeat tastes and at worst a recap of your evening’s alimentary activities.

Chapter 2. So-called “junk” food that will put a smile on your face and all those around you

We are constantly reminded that rapidly absorbed carbohydrates and fructose especially lead to fatty liver, obesity, diabetes, slovenliness, bad skin, sloth, torpor, flatulence and a propensity to gambling, as is well-known to anyone who has gone into the fast-mart for a Snickers while gassing up and then been tempted to buy a lottery ticket while at the counter. But why doesn’t anyone mention all the ways in which “junk” food can enhance your appearance and popularity? Here are some:

1. There is a reason people speak of a “sugar high.” It’s because sucrose lifts your mood. Any 5-year-old can tell you that. And when you are happy, those around you sense it and are attracted by your charisma. You will smile more and use far fewer of those horrid frown muscles everyone has cautioned you about exerting. Your good attitude will infuse your work. The alleged “low” that follows a burst of sugar is easily deferred by consuming more sugar, until you can safely remove your social persona for the evening.

2. Junk foods can improve your social acceptability. Got halitosis? Sure you can keep those nasty Listerine film strips on your person. But Thin Mints and Peppermint Patties are much more tasty and will give your breath the same freshness that you just can’t get from kale chips.

3. Payday Bars have peanuts. Nuts are good for you. The syllogism should be obvious. Ditto for peanut M&M’s, peanut clusters, and turtles (the chocolate kind, not the terrapins).

Chapter 3. Flatulence-free foods for small meeting rooms and intimate occasions

It should hardly need saying that nothing spoils a date like an unexpected announcement blaring from the hindquarters occurring in close quarters. Many a ride back from a nice first date at a tony restaurant with that hot guy/gal you met on has come to grief when the vehicle’s operator failed his or her emissions test. Sometimes the standard dietary don’ts and “no, really don’ts!” are not enough. We all know about avoiding beans, onions, broccoli etc. You’ve already gone that route. And what can you do if you are already flatulent no matter what you eat? Here is where Dr. Mrs. and Dr. Sack can really help you avoid alienating those most important in your path to success and riches.

1. Feed a cold but starve a colon! In the board room (or at the sales pitch): Your colon can’t make much gas if you don’t eat anything with metabolic value. If the occasion does not call for food, such as a business meeting, be continent! (behaviorally, of course.) But if you must eat, simply don’t consume anything organic from the time you awaken to the time of the meeting. And you don’t have to go hungry, either. Our recipes chapter teaches you how to create mouth-watering dishes such as our no-calorie omelet made using only methylcellulose (an inert product made by chemically treating wood pulp or such), Splenda, sliced dried mushrooms, a few spices, yellow dye #5, and Bacon Bits. Some substances, even coliforms won’t eat.

2. And for you organic types out there who insist on all natural ingredients, try our kale and sprout shake with a touch of agave nectar and liberally laced with Jagermeister. You might not like the first sip, but after a few it truly grows on you.

3. OK, so diet isn’t everything. Sometimes drugs are called for to keep your microbiota stymied! A good burst of non-absorbed antibiotics the night before your social plans can drastically cut down on the fermentation that normally occurs in your lower GI tract. We recommend two tablespoons of Pepto-Bismol with a capful of Miralax.

Chapter 4. Foods that say, “Come hither” you can dispense from your cubicle

Everybody loves a winner. And nothing says “winner!” better than the sight of smiling and occasionally laughing co-workers gathered around your desk from time to time. Others may assume you are entertaining them with your wit or that they are seeking your advice. Everyone knows the office colleague who keeps a bowl of M&M’s or mints by the desk. But if you can go one better, you can enhance your position in the office social order. Why not go all out?

A microwave under your desk can easily be used to keep a bowl of popcorn ready at a moment’s notice. But why stop there? You can find microwave cookies and even brownies; the recipes are readily available nowadays on the web. There was even a piece about it on NPR recently! They’ll be flocking to your desk like pigeons in St. Mark’s square to a tourist covered with birdseed.

Beverages, too, can gain you points at work. A bit of vodka will never be noticed in the thermos of coconut water you keep on your desk, but it will certainly improve your colleagues’ attitudes! Imagine the places you’ll go with a little creativity.

Chapter 5. Party-stimulating additives your guests will never guess

Whether it be a dinner party or a discussion group, your friends will leave with a positive attitude toward you if they leave having had a good time. While we heartily recommend alcohol as a social lubricant (see Chapter 4), not everyone wants or needs a drink to enjoy a party. Some people will enjoy themselves more if they feel charming, energetic, or less inhibited, and food can work the same magic:

1. Certain spices are known mental stimulants. Tea has long been popular in this regard. But if you frequent the natural medicine web sites, including WebMD, you will find scores of assuredly safe herbal products purported to increase energy and well-being by the thousands of clearly objective reviewers. Given their safety, what’s the harm in adding them to your cooking?

2. Use caffeine as an ingredient. Your guests may opt for decaf when it’s time to leave, but why not keep them lively during the soiree? Dark chocolate, rich in caffeine, may be used in your mole sauce, and instead of root beer in your brisket recipe, try using Coca-Cola with a touch of Red Bull. Did you know that manufacturers are adding caffeine to everything from waffles to jelly beans? Caffeine is an ingredient in many products nowadays, even oatmeal. Imagine the lively conversation you could stimulate by starting your Scottish Food night with haggis made from caffeine-laced oatmeal! (Yes, it is really available.)

3. Good old-fashioned Alice B. Toklas brownies are legal in many states and have no more calories than conventional ones. Your guests will go home raving about the wonderful meal they had, and if not, at least raving in general. [BLACK BOX WARNING: Illegal in Many States and Unethical in All. Do NOT act on this advice. It is intended as SATIRE!]

Further chapters we have no room to summarize in this post that we will share in our book:

Chapter 6. Foods guaranteed to enlarge your male or female anatomy

In this chapter we will share nutritional strategies to spare you from replying to all those offers you get in your email for costly and artificial treatments. Here’s how to eat your way to success in bed (and not by reading fortune cookies!).

Chapter 7. When “empty” calories leave room for more

In this chapter, we expand on the notion that “there is always room for Jell-O”. We reveal the miracle foods with negative calories.

Chapter 8. Antidotes to food indiscretions

Who hasn’t committed a food mistake at one time or another? In this chapter we reveal our nutritional “morning-after pill.”

Chapter 9. Secrets we can’t even share in this post

You’ll just have to buy the book.

David M. Sack, MD, is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. He attended Harvard and Johns Hopkins Medical School. He completed his residency at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and a gastroenterology fellowship at Beth Israel-Deaconess, which he completed in 1983. Since then he has practiced general gastroenterology at a small community hospital in Connecticut. This post originally appeared at his blog, Prescriptions, a series of musings on medicine, medical care, the health care system and medical ethics, in no particular order.