Food poisoning has drawbacks, but weight-loss results are fantastic

Voices of the Clarion

Posted: Sunday, August 21, 2005

Ladies (or men with low self-esteem, no need to be sexist) — have I got a diet for you.

Fed up with of counting calories, chins, grams of fat or tubs of ice cream?

Sick of trying to figure out what makes some carbs “good” and others evil incarnate?

Straining family relationships by filing child negligence suits against parents and grandparents for feeding you so many birthday cakes, muffins, potatoes and bread products as a child?

Tired of doing exercise math?

“I should run two miles today but ‘American Idol’ is on in 10 minutes so if I just jog the block a few times and pace the living room while the show is on that should take care of the six cookies I had today.”

Well, stop it. With this diet, you don’t have to exercise at all. When I was on it, I laid around my house for two days straight and still lost a good four pounds even though I rarely lifted my head off my pillow.

And the best part is you can eat as much as you want of whatever you want. Cookies, candy, chips, cheese or even grease-laden hamburgers.

Meat is actually the cornerstone of this diet. I know, you’re thinking Atkins, right? Well, stop it.

Seriously, stop. The guy was overweight when he died. Buying his books is like paying Michael Jackson for child-rearing tips.

There is a catch. The one requirement of this diet is that you can eat as much meat as you want, but it has to be undercooked.

Thus begins the joys of food poisoning.

Oh sure, there are a few negative side effects. You’ll experience some dizziness, listlessness, muscle cramping from laying on your bathroom floor for an extended period of time and some, uh, slight nausea (by that I mean you may throw up a kidney).

But the weight-loss results are fantastic. True, I lost a good 17 hours of functional consciousness, but when I did become cognizant again I fit much better into my pajamas (too bad they had to be burned).

And with this diet you get the added bonus of personal revelation. You learn a lot about yourself when your head is wedged next to a toilet brush holder for hours on end. All your bills, to-do lists, work stress, social obligations and other responsibilities don’t seem so important when you’re concentrating on keeping your toenails from coming out of your mouth.

Whether you’re a wealthy business executive or minimum-wage gas station attendant no longer matters. All you are at that moment is a malfunctioning digestive system.

I’d like to say I had some meaningful revelation during my ordeal. I’m afraid I’m too shallow for that. All I realized was I’m a lot more like my ever-practical grandmother than I realized, since my one recurring thought — when I was capable of thought, that is — was, “Man I’m glad I cleaned this bathroom yesterday,”

I did have a longstanding belief about myself reaffirmed, though: I cannot cook.

When I tell people that, they usually dismiss the statement by saying something like, “Of course you can. It’s not that hard. Everybody messes up a dish once in a while.”

Those people don’t understand what it means to be a truly bad cook. They’re talking about the level of cooking ineptness where you serve dry Thanksgiving turkey and your rolls come out a little rubbery. The biggest threat those cooks pose to dinner guests is spitting out a mouthful without offending the host.

At the other end of the spectrum, there’s me. When I walk into a kitchen, people’s lives hang in the balance.

In the interest of public safety, I usually just put myself at risk. And I only attempt actual cooking once or twice a month. The rest of the time I heat things. Sometimes I even manage not to burn them.

Other times heating is too much of a challenge and I resort to salad. Even that poses difficulties, though, since it involves chopping. After several times nicking fingers, shortening fingernails and skewering feet (don’t ask), the only knives I allow myself to have are so dull the only way they cut is through the friction generated by rapid sawing. If you were to try to stab someone with a knife in my house, the worst injury they’d get is a bruise.

So here I am — hungry, incapable of cooking, probably lacking electrolytes, with a messed up manicure and no sharp implements to defend myself with if a burglar breaks into my house.

But, hey, four pounds is four pounds.

And if I ever did have a break-in, all I’d have to do is feed the robber some of my chicken.

Jenny Neyman is the city editor at the Peninsula Clarion.

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