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Gram Weenie

March 4, 2014

The idea that the body is inherently dirty and incapable of cleansing itself is a vestige of puritanism that New Agers have embraced wholeheartedly. I call it “the original-sin syndrome”–the notion that the body has basic flaws that somehow have not resolved over millions of years of evolution, like lordosis, which your neighborhood chiropractor will be happy to absolve you of, & various other deficits that your local health food store professional has the answers to. For awhile lactic acid was even considered a “toxin,” & there were people who thought lactate actually stuck around in your system for days, weeks, & months (I guess it got stuck in little out-pouchings in your blood vessels?) and you needed some special concoction to flush it out (actually, breathing works really well for this, & it works in minutes, not months). If fasting gives you some kind of spiritual focus or feeling of relief after overindulging, great. For awhile it was suspected that caloric restriction increased longevity, but now even that’s been replaced by the idea that it’s periodic fasting, not just “fewer” calories, but “no” calories, that may have an effect on lifespan, but it’s still just a theory & I imagine it would have to be a way of life, not just something you do on the day after Thanksgiving.

This all reminds me of the days when I was a distance cyclist. There were what I loved to call “gram weenies” — people who insisted on buying a $5000 bike made of un-obtanium because it weighed a couple of pounds less, & yet they themselves were packing an extra 20 or 40 pounds, plus the 5 pounds of Gu they carried in case they got hungry between Starbucks scone pit stops. I mean, come on.

These are the kinds of people who are, IMHO, gram-weenie-ing about health. There are evidence-based approaches to improving your health & reducing the risks of heart disease & cancer, like quitting smoking, slow & permanent weight loss, & eliminating trans fats. Compared to these, the benefits of juice fasting once or twice a year are psychological at best. If you think your nails grow like crazy whenever you fast, it is most likely because you are so frikking bored you have nothing better to do but stare at them. As usual, people just want a quick fix. This is MTV-land. People can only do something for days, not make permanent changes that last a lifetime. This whole thing just speaks to how pathetic & juvenile our culture is. It’s an expression of “other”–that is, the need to name & attack something “outside” of ourselves as the reason for all our problems & to scapegoat that thing like there is no tomorrow. New Agers have adopted “toxin” as their “other” and proceeded, in Alice-in-Wonderland fashion, to define “toxin”as “just what [they] choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” One minute it’s sugar, the next it’s fat, the next it’s carbs. & no, I’m not saying we should embrace arsenic or VOCs. I’m saying, use your head, for heaven’s sake. Stop running like lemmings to the next quick fix.

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