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Ponderings of a gullible skeptic

January 13, 2013

I was born a skeptic. The weather man says it will snow and I scoff because, frankly, it typically only snows when there has been no mention of it in the forecast.

The guy from the “Guvment” says he’s here to help and I let out a unladylike hoot, because we all know that’s unlikely. But on the road to skepticism, I’ve had to pass through the valley of gullibility which materializes when I hear about something healthy that is also fun and tasty.

When it comes to diet and health, I tend to be a tad more lenient especially when miracles are promised. A friend of mine has assumed the role of my cancer coach and he has put me on a diet of flaxseed oil frothed up in the blender with cottage cheese. He tried to make me believe it tastes like oatmeal, but my nose feels like it’s been snorting cold cream laced with motor oil.

He has also got me taking an extract produced from a Asian fungi commonly known as “dancing mushrooms.” So far, it hasn’t improved my performance on the dance floor, but it’s still early. This parasitic extract grows on the caterpillars of particular moths. Yum.

I’ve been following the protocol quite faithfully — well, up to a point. When he told me I must cut out all sugar (which includes white flour, potatoes, pasta and white rice), I became skeptical again. Surely something as finger licking good as milk chocolate kisses and gooey cupcakes could never harm us.

And how on earth does one celebrate a birthday without cake and ice cream?

I changed my mind when I read that losing the sugar could take 20 years off my looks. My inner skeptic went back to sleep and my gullible side stood at attention. I’m in. To prove it, I polished off a half of a Karo Pecan Pie which had been lurking in the freezer since Christmas Day.

On Jan. 1, I began my diet of vegetables, low-sugar fruits and limited lean meats. I fully expect to look 30 years old again by Easter (okay, make that 45).

Anything processed which comes in a convenient package is now off limits. Perusing the grocery ads this week, I noticed that 90 percent of their promotional items were processed — like fruit loops, TV dinners and snacks like Fiddle Faddles.

Come on Mr. Grocer, help us out here. I do compliment Kroger on its new “Simple Truth” line of organics. They are on special this week and I’ll be stocking up for next month when empty snacks designed for Super Bowl parties tempt us to toss our good intentions to the wind.

Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers facing retirement. She welcomes comments at

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