Recovering List Idiot

Posted May 22nd, 2009
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blackberriesI compulsively read all those articles that boast “Ten new foods that burn belly fat .” I guess lots of people do and that’s why they make up so many new lists every month. Sometimes I think  its the same  bunch who  fabricate the belly flab lists and the “101 new ways to turn him on” lists that sell Women’s magazines. (As if  the 101 ways offered in the last issue  was just skimming the surface. Because, as anyone with a good sex life will tell you,  you quickly run through hundreds and hundreds of new ways every time you make love. So there you are, one month later… hundreds of ways all used up, just hoping and praying that someone will suggest a few hundred more ways as quickly as possible.) I guess everyone, like me, thinks that the people who write these lists must have thought of at least one new way to turn him on or burn belly flab,  simply to justify the list’s (and their own) very existence. (And that it wont just be “take a hot bubble bath.” or “Do some extra sit ups.” again. )And we would all be wrong.

Though let’s be honest: the magazines that feature those lists might be the only ones surviving the publication holocaust . Sex and Belly Flab seem to be  two topics about which no one can never have enough information.And while we’re being honest, you’d think that I would be a fully recovered list survivor by now, eschewing all lists on these topics. We’d both  be wrong about that too.Which brings me to the bag of blackberries in the picture. The other night at the gym I was compelled to read a current “ten new foods that burn belly flab.” list that mainly distinguished itself by miraculously transforming a simple old timey flab inducing glass of wine or chocolate sundae in to an amazing fat burning engine by merely adding  a few  simple Latin terms for chemical compounds. It kind of reminded me of the time I took my nephews in to Carl’s Junior for a burger and, in an effort to buy myself the low-cal thing, I perused their salad bar where, among the small aluminum containers of lettuce, onions, tomatos and cucumbers, I spotted a dish of chocolate pudding. I thought “That is absolutely brilliant. The chef who was able to get chocoloate pudding reclassified as a salad ingredient ought to be nominated for a Nobel Prize.”

But I digress. I came away from my list last night with the idea that I should try and eat more blackberries. I’ve read a few articles about berries in recent months that all claim assorted health benefits so yesterday when I was at the health food store I bought a bag of frozen blackberries.They were expensive but hey! I’m worth it! Then this morning I was reading the package and noticed that their big front-of-the-package claim boils down to ” “Diets containing foods like Cascadian Farm Blackberries that are low in saturated fats and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.” And I thought “So that’s the big calling card?  All they were able to claim on the package, next to the words Heart Healthy, was that the ingredients were low in saturated fat and cholesterol?  So is chewing gum. So are sugar cubes.  And tic tacs.And taco chips. And gummy bears.And composite board. And brake fluid.” It reminded me of an old Martin Mull parody about an exciting new cereal that “when you just add milk and fresh fruit has all the nutrition of milk and fresh fruit.” Or my favorite amazingly empty slogan, by Hostess: “Freshness never tasted so good.”

I really have to stop reading those lists.