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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    It’s all about the fiber

    My dad quietly panted in the chair with his hands on his belly and his face in a scowl, listening to my aunt talk about the regulating effects of kale. He had been skeptical since her first insistence on the conversation, when she had brought out a jar of those white beans with the curious black spots and attempted to prepare them for breakfast.

    “”Bowel movements are crucial to healthy metabolism,”” she said nonchalantly. “”It’s all about fiber.”” She whipped up a vegetable omelet instead that could be eaten alone, and wrapped it in a brown tortilla. “”It’s got 10 percent of your daily fiber intake, all in one wrap.””

    My dad stared blankly past the previous night’s half-empty wine bottle on the other side of the table, and remained silent.

    “”You’ve got to learn that meat is really unhealthy for you,”” she went on. “”The fat content is huge compared to the nutrients. When I go out, I get pad thai with tofu because it has fiber. Better on the toilet. Wheat pastas, quinoa, pinto beans, bran – anything bran.””

    My dad wasn’t buying it. When he thought about dieting at all, he justified his intake by referring to the doctrine of portion control, a vague and accepting term that justified eating atrocities like fried Twinkies and popcorn.

    The fact was my dad needed to lose a little weight. Every year, the giant Easter egg underneath his shirt appeared firmer and more prominent, and the bag of diabetes pills he carried got bigger as well.

    “”Isn’t pad thai fattening because it has a lot of carbs?”” I asked.

    “”No, in this diet, it’s all about fiber.”” Then she showed us her fiber drawer, which was packed to the brim with the tiniest rices in the world. There must have been 20 different bags of assorted rice miniatures, all dry, brown and the size of salt. Then she showed us her bean closet. Like most, I’m a fan of the occasional bean – minestrone soup, Mr. Bean – but my aunt had scoured the depths of the inedible bean aisle at some organic market and came up with 10 varieties of lima.

    But I think the show and tell worked a little, because my dad was letting his guard down.

    “”OK, who wants to get lunch?”” she asked, and then piled us into the car and sped off toward a Chinese restaurant, where she instantly forgot her previous advice and ordered two dishes for each person.

    As I piled the house chow fun onto my plate and continued to eat so much that I could feel a non-fiber bowel movement forming in my stomach, I pondered our food culture’s obsession with poop.

    It’s pretty much common thought that pooping more will help you lose weight, but throughout my eating life, I’ve found that the times I’ve pooped the most were when I ate the most heinous amounts of crap. It isn’t exactly a scientific viewpoint, but it seems to me that pooping doesn’t have anything to do with eating healthy. Pooping is a scapegoat, a farce. It’s the easiest way to feel like you’re losing weight; after all, you technically are, but are you really burning any calories sitting on the toilet?

    The other day, I ate two veggie sandwiches with cream cheese and wheat bread, poured some mayo on for good measure, and felt the calories dripping away. It may have been the enormous weight gain from the mango pudding, but after a few days I hadn’t seemed to lose anything. I considered buying some pinto beans for a split second, but decided against it because they looked disgusting.

    Does anyone know there’s a whole genre of poop photography on the Internet, revolving around the after-effects of colon cleanser? It’s extremely bizarre, but encouraging as well – kind of like those plastic surgery shows that reel you in through empathy and make your breasts feel larger by the end of the episode.

    Hundreds of people have taken colon cleanser, scooped their bowel manifestations out of the toilet and arranged them on the seat like contemporary installations. Different colors, textures and sizes. Underneath, they write testimonials with phrases like, “”I can’t believe that was inside me,”” and “”Now I can wear that bikini after I rear myself off the diaper!”” It’s amazing.

    I’m sure that my aunt had a point – eating beans and veggies really is good for you – but a good diet doesn’t have as much to do with fiber or portion control as it does with smoking cigarettes. Naw, there really is no one way to diet. Everyone works out their own system. But miracle cures like Metamucil or strange tablets you ingest that make your butt an abstract sculptor probably don’t work. Oh I don’t know, maybe it was the mayonnaise.

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