Friday, October 31, 2008

Worse Than Beer

by David G. Woolley

That's what I told my four young, impressionable nephews. Hayseeds from Idaho. They were visiting during the week-long potato harvest. Like they own any farm land. For them it's a potato-fest. No school for nine days. Total Idahoan chaos.

The Idaho State Department of Education experimented with a number of names for the holiday. They tried Mashed Potato-fest first, but got complaints from the tourism division. Bad copy for ski Idaho commercials. They tried Baked potato-fest. Au gratin-fest. Fried Potato-fest. Boiled Potato-fest. None of them increased tourism. The holiday just doesn't have the same draw as, say, Germany's alcohol-imbued October-fest, though last spud harvest there was a beer problem.

When I arrived at grandma's house I found my four delinquents Nephews in the kitchen drinking high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) soda pop. You know. Sugary beverages that started the obesity revolution. Fostered the hundred-million-man diabetes march. Hardened more arteries than a double order of Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries© with ranch dressing. Increased the spread of cancer faster than a speeding bullet. Leaped past beer consumption as the worst possible threat to word-of-wisdom health in a single bound.

I said, "Where did you get that?"

Lee (youngest nephew, the nice kid) said, "Grandma gave it to us."

"Impossible. I turned her stash over to the narcotics division."

Tanner (second to youngest nephew, the clever kid) said, "She got more because she loves us."

"That HFCS is bad, boys. Bad. Bad. Bad. Doesn't your Mother teach you better?"

Grant (oldest nephew, the smart kid) said, "She drove grandma to the grocery store."

Andy (second oldest nephew, the quiet kid) said, "Yup."

I should have stopped there and let the potato-fest take its toll. They have good oncologists, internists and heart surgeons in Idaho, don't they? But no. My sister, the mother of these irredeemable wretches, walked into the kitchen right when I said, "Look. If its a choice between drinking HFCS soda or beer, drink the beer. It’s not as bad for you." Sis let out an audible gasp. She always does that when I use her children as laboratory rodents in my psychiatry experiments.

The following Thanksgiving the Idaho extension of the family hosted the celebration. Complete with a turkey (me), sage dressing and beer. That's right. Beer at a devout Mormon family Thanksgiving dinner. Where was our Word-of-Wisdom head? We pulled into the little family cottage on the banks of the Snake River and when I walked through the front door, there, lounging on the front room floor, reclining in the lazy-boy, draped over the armrest of the couch, hunkered down under a quilt was the nice kid, the clever kid, the smart kid and the quiet kid, each with a bottle of beer. They raised their brown glass receptacles and Lee (remember the nice kid?) offered the toast. He said, “It’s not nearly as bad for you as sugary HFCS soda.”

They downed the stuff. Happy Hour Thanksgiving to all.

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to tell a beer bottle from, say, root beer? Take a look at the photo. Soda. Budweiser. Hires. Coors. Who can tell? The smoked brown bottle motif is so beer-ish. And those little wretches knew it. Last laugh goes to the hayseeds from Idaho, with a little help from sis. She drove them to the grocery store. Again. They win the payback round, but warning: my laboratory experiments have just begun.

In other warnings worthy of note, the worst nutritional period of the year begins today, Halloween, when million$ worth of diabetes-causing, cancer-promoting, heart-attack inflicting HFCS exchanges hands while parents and members of the department of Firearms, Tobacco and Narcotics stand idly by. It’s insane. It’s un-American. It’s a black day for a back alley deal condoned by less-than-scrupulously dressed goblins. And it doesn't stop until January 1st. Complete nutritional insanity. We got through potato-fest. We renounced October-fest. Can we really stomach two months of winter-fest? Its eight weeks from "hellth"!

In honor of the two month hiatus from good eating I'm posting some healthy eating suggestions. That's right. We may be swimming upstream against the holiday current at the Top of the Morning., going against the Merry Christmas grain, and resisting arrest by the PC police (Party Correct Police) to get you through to the New Year with your blood sugar levels in tact. No worries. You're worth it. There may even be a recipe in this for some of you Top of the Morning faithful. Did I just say recipe? Guys don't do recipes. Okay. So I'll have the Top of the Morning staff pass along this killer tomato soup recipe.

Check back this week for the post on artificial sugar I've been promising and a couple of other healthy thoughts between now and Thanksgiving.

Until the soups on, eat well, live well.

Join author David G. Woolley at his Promised Land Website.


Wight Family said...

Dear Brother Woolley,

THAT was hilarious!! And oh, so true. I love reading your blog. Thanks for supplying it!!

Vicki Wight

bon said...

Hmmm...Me-thinks I may hear some whining in this post - possibly from a beleaguered coach with problems training and directing said sugar-riddled lads playing futsal! ;> Kudos to your sis! There are not too many people who actually win a round with you! I LIKE that gal!! :)

Francie Jenson said...

Its funny you should mention soup -- that was my antidote to the candy onslaught. Last night's dinner was home made chicken noodle soup. The rule was everyone must eat a bowl full before they started on the candy. I was going for some kind of balance. A moment I could feel proud of my mothering. Sometimes those moments are few and far between ... :)

Noelle said...

Dave, Dave, Dave... If I had known you better way back when, my bag of jolly ranchers would have stayed hidden from you. Forever.

Go nephews!!!

Padre said...


Now you have gone too far!

Sandra said...

I laughed out loud the first time, and love it even better now. The post, not the HFCS. And kuddos to sis and the wretches. Gotta love a good gotcha.

I am looking forward to a good soup recipe. Tomato is my favorite, but I have yet to find a good recipe for homemade and refuse to eat the storebought.

Kim said...

Too funny! Love the nutrition posts, Dave. Keep 'em coming.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I am Dave's sister, mother of the 4 "wretches" ... Dave, does mom know you are calling her precious grandsons "wretches?" I just wanted to share with everyone my boys' most memorable Uncle-Dave-the-Nutrition-Freak story: One time "the quiet one" had a handful of oreos in his hand and the Sugar Scrooge grabbed them and hucked them out the front door of our house as far as he could! Ever since then this formerly talkative and chattery nephew hasn't had much to say. He was rendered completely speechless. And that was 2 years ago! Talk about trauma! Poor kid. Anything that the Idaho team does is only in retaliation of that incident. Oops . . . gotta go . . . the brownies are done and the trick-or-treat candy is calling :-)

Anonymous said...

Uncle dave, what did you hand out for halloween? oranges? toothbrushes? recipes?
From the clever nephew

David G. Woolley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David G. Woolley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David G. Woolley said...

Bon: She didn't win the round, she fired back. That was her first mistake.

The Clever One: Are you kidding? No one comes trick or treating at my place. I scare them. Its the most peacful, quiet evening of the entire year. I love Halloween!

Francie: Feel proud. Then feed them more HFCS!

Noelle: I know where you keep your Jolley Ranchers hidden. The guys at work told me.

Padre: Can you believe this? Is this Elder Woolley in Argentina or his ever loving mother? Do they have the internet in Argentina? They didn't when I was there. That was Pre-Al Gore.

Sandra: The recipe will knock your socks off.

Sis: Two years of speechlessness is clinically referred to as Mute. I know. I use clinical terms in my laboratory all the time.

There is no safe and effective de-tramatizing treatment for the mute one. Nothing works within two miles of the Clever one. Haven't you noticed? He's a Black Speech Hole. Sucks everything in. Let's nothing out. A mass five trillion times that of the largest star. Very heavy. Massive. The clever one has a nick name among us astronomer enthusiast types (the hubble ground station is my other lab). We call him The vortex one.

Love you all,


Anonymous said...

Since it appears that anyone can say anything they want on these blogs, I'll say, "Where is that charming guy I admired so much.

I think that charming guy should do as Ryan suggested and marry Noelle. Noelle is a beautiful person. She likes soccer. She likes your books. She loves the outdoors. And she is so kind and sweet. Sure, there may have to be compromises. Yes she drinks a coke now and then.

Maybe she wouldn't agree to it, but I think you should go after her. Maybe you can spend your honeymoon in the San Sebastion hotel in Antigua. And that is the only part of this comment that is intended to be a joke.

Now I can forget all of this and go back to being silent and anonymous.

David G. Woolley said...

Ryan. After months of Top of the Morning, he morphs from a lurker to a poster. Is that all it takes? Threaten his HFCS fix and he goes bananas? I think there is a serious sugar addiction here. What do say Noelle?

And Noelle, when did you start drinking Coke? Ryan, take her off the list. Now.

And another thing little Ryan lurker poster man. Noelle doesn't like my books. Her father likes them. Her mother likes them. Her sisters all like them. The employees at the nursery like them. The customers at the nursey like them. The family ardvark likes them. Not Noelle. Not since Guatemala. She was thinking about reading them before that. Apparently you talked her out of it. Or I did.

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Dave, I'm laughing. Loved your post, and as I sit here slogging my Diet Coke, I'll consider trying to lay off the sugar.

Hey, at least it's Diet Coke.


Anne Bradshaw said...

I'm sitting here, cheering you on, Dave. Down with sugar indulgence, sez I. Go fruits and veg and all that good stuff. If I were braver, I'd leave baby carrots outside for Halloween.

Padre said...

This is not Padre, or Elder Woolley. This is the Madre. We went out on Halloween and the missionaries ate all our candy. Also, I have given up Coke and all pop about 99 percent of the time. But I will never give up chocolate, no matter what you say!

love your blog!

David G. Woolley said...

Hey Padre:

Its only a matter of time. You keep reading this blog and we'll reclaim you from the dark side. Or from the milk chocolate side.

For a charge we do addiction rehab. Or you can use our free service. Read Top of the Morning at least three times a week.

David G. Woolley said...

Anne Bradshaw!

I have a kindred spirit. I knew it the first time our emails crossed in cyberspace.

How does your garden grow?


Aaron and Stephanie Shumway (and family) said...

Dear Wretches-
Uncle Dave is right. He's the best Endocrinologist around. Until I was 11 I had a soda pop every morning with mt sugar pop breakfast and brushed my teeth with baking soda and corn syrup every night. I think my mother secretly sprinkled sugar on our vegetables at dinner. Now I'm diabetic and have black stumps for teeth. Man I wish I could eat a carrot but my teeth might crumble. I can only have split pea puree for breakfast, lunch, and dinner now..... wish I had listened to Uncle Dave.... sniff sniff....... :o)