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Sensible eating ain’t fun, but neither is obesity or death — Beer vs. Bread
dry muffins

O the Joy of Fat-free Bran Muffins [Sarcasm]

by Greg I. Hamilton on July 3, 2010

My original Beer vs. Bread entry received this comment: “Just give me a big homemade cinnamon roll!!” It was from my mom and I see her point. To use notation you haven’t seen since you took the SAT, I believe she was saying:

bread : beer :: bran muffin : cinnamon roll

If the lingo of standardized tests never was your thing, that translates as “bread is to beer as that dry, crummy rock of a muffin is to a hot gooey cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven.” Mom’s cinnamon roll would be the equivalent of my beer: its sugar and fat providing the decadent departure that parallels the bubbly buzz of barley. On the other end of the spectrum lies the healthy but uninspiring fat-free bran muffin. Mmm, mmm.

If you ever did have a delicious bran muffin, it was probably not fat free. It was loaded with real butter, tons of sugar, and other rich indulgences. But at the Yin-Yang Cafe that is life, there are some mandatory side dishes that aren’t much fun. Tom Robbins, in the book Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, called such daily nuisances “maintenance.” Toothbrushing, flossing, seeing the dentist (just about anything to do with your teeth) are good examples. Tending to your innards and the latter parts of your body’s consumption of fuel are also good examples of maintenance. Robbins’ globetrotting idealist, Switters, only barely tolerates these dull necessities. Ultimately he despises them.

So, just to carry the point right through to your lower intestine without delay, let’s make our hypothetical yin muffin a vegan, nondairy, gluten-free, wheat-free, naturally unsweetened, whole spelt muffin loaded with psyllium husk. Now as joyless as this hockey puck of a baked good may sound, for some folks with acute intestinal grumpiness, this may actually be their key to regular daily comfort. Or else they could swirl Metamucil in tepid water and gulp it down like a full eight ounces of slug slime twice a day. My prescription should you find yourself so afflicted? Skip the mucilaginous drink. Take two muffins, drop the kids off at the pool, and do the paperwork in the morning. [Editor’s note: Ah, toilet humor. Never lose your inner teenage boy.]

So, was there a point here or did we swirl into mucilaginy? [Ed.: not sure if I’m coining a phrase, but the world just seemed to need an official term for “a state of slug sliminess”] Ah yes, the importance of sustenance and simple survival-minded maintenance in our daily lives. Did you know that was where I was going? Bravo: that makes one of us.

Absolutely I’m a fan of homemade cinnamon rolls, Winchell’s doughnuts (the maple French cruller is brilliant), beer, and life’s other decadences. But they are decadences. Remember my mechanic’s warning that if you don’t work like a farmer, don’t eat like one? That doesn’t stop me from eating Little Debbie snack cakes, sugary cereals, and more than my share of high-fructose corn syrup— I interpret his advice as incentive to go out and spend those extra calories and preservatives on something exhausting and frivolous. There’s a reason a sugar high makes you want to bounce off the walls: you’ve got fuel to burn. So go ahead and bounce. And then get back to your maintenance.

Thanks for reading. Cheers,
Greg

Photo by izik


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