The Convert

Posted on October 20, 2016. Filed under: Health Studies, Psychology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Possibly, it is the most obnoxious kind of human:  the new “I saw the light” convert.  Everybody knows at least one, and can attest to the truism “give someone a badge, and, he just can’t wait to arrest someone.”

Your words for the day (according to Dean):

  • convert = a waffle; one who is flipped from one side to the other
  • zealot = a waffle on steroids
  • waffle-ism = a dedicated passion to follow the latest and better-sounding argument (see “fad” in your favorite dictionary)
  • immanent doom-ers = disciples of “boy-are-you-gonna-get-it-now-because-you-didn’t…   (pick a failure, any failure)
  • pain in the butt = a persistent proselyzer…   or just a bad case of hemorrhoids

For decades, I had heard that laboratory mice could not survive on a strict diet of man-made white bread.  Every one, said the experts, should therefore eat whole grain breads.  Those around me echoed the mantra whenever they saw the white bread I was stuffing into my mouth.  “Oh, no!” they would say.  “You should be eating whole wheat bread.  That white stuff is not good for you.”

Eventually, though, I caved and followed the crowd.  I sampled the papery texture of whole wheat, and, dutifully, gave up my tasty white bread.  It became a ritual before bedtime to slowly munch 2 slices of whole wheat bread, washing each bolus down, bite by bite, with a swig of ice-cold milk.  That was good, but, the aroma of fresh-baked white bread still sang the Sirens’ song to my taste buds.  Convert-like, I stayed the course and continued to eat healthier.

I walked the path and continued to buy healthy whole wheat.  Until about a year ago.  Loosely holding my prized purchase before me in my grocer’s check-out line, I encountered a convert of the more recent “lose the wheat belly” movement.  Ahead of me in line, he suppressed a superior sneer, but couldn’t keep that condescending grin from showing itself.  “I gave up wheat bread and I feel so much better than I used to.”  Emphasizing his well-being, he stood straight and caressed the flatness that was his abdomen.  He continued to share the benefits of “NO wheat” as a life commitment until my silence and noncommittal gaze conveyed my intense non-interest.

There is little I despise more than to have a stranger accost me and tell me what I am doing wrong with my life.  In all such instances, that individual is simply a proselyte, a tool of some charismatic (read “cockamamie“) theory or preacher.  My negative feelings aside, that encounter with that gabby convert pushed my memory into retrograde:

  • For maybe 100,000 years, wheat has been considered the staff of life…
  • until some lab rats — researchers, not rodents — tried to get mice to live for a year on nothing but loaves of white bread…
  • thereby restricting the unfortunate subjects to a single food item and denying them the varied diet required for their kind to maintain a healthy body…
  • predictably resulting in unhealthy mice.  (This experiment could have been carried out on paper without mistreating those mice).
  • And, just as predictably, the 2-legged lab denizens concluded:  white bread is not good for humans.

Subsequently those lab rats bulked up their resumes while the media, diet gurus, marketing mavens, and medics-with-a-journalistic-bent picked up the drum beat and eaters of white bread became targets of social ridicule.  Further loading of the anti-wheat band wagon ensued when the gluten thing took off like a rocket.

I must note that —

  • for a thousand centuries, white-bread eaters were not dropping like flies in an insecticide cloud…
  • nor were any special diseases or disorders attributed to white bread consumption (such as rickets caused by non-consumption of limes by Limeys)…
  • and, that the new gluten-is-bad-for-you craze is about a slight digestive discomfort showing up in less than 2% of the population.

Further, bread of any kind is normally an accessory for a meal.  No one serves up bread-a-la-carte or plans a meal around bread as the entrée every day of the week.  Which means that the health status of mal-treated mice in a lab bears no relationship to the average human diet or ensuing health status.  But, the researchers and other members of the anti-white-bread band wagon are billed as experts and the public, herd animals to the core, slavishly falls into line repeating the announced party mantra.

Cause evangelists do not limit themselves to just my dietary habits.  That human herd mentality provides instant audiences that can be made to salivate over almost any subject:

  • The secret to wealth, health, peace, and all kinds of other secrets…
  • such as: El Dorado, The Silver Chalice, The Robe, The Fountain of Youth, Yeti, Sasquatch, boogie man, Loch Ness Monster, alien abductions.  The answers are out there!
  • Global warming is real…  People are causing it and we can prove it — especially if we go back and change the input data to agree with our EXPERT conclusions.
  • Climate change is ongoing…   The process is recorded in layer after layer of Earth’s strata over hundreds of millions of years.  Nothing new.

Who can forget the converts of PYRAMID POWER?  No, not the Ponzi schemes; real pyramids that supposedly had the power to sharpen your razor blades overnight or, if placed under your bed at night, you got a great sleep not to be equaled until “sleep number” came out.  There were other claimed beneficial wonders as well, but, none of that survived the few months of frenzy.

ANYWAY, the upshot is that I have resumed eating white bread.  So, all you converts-of-the-moment out there, quit bothering me in the check out lane.

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