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A public conversation about our worlds.

  • Monday: Morgan J. Locke
  • Tuesday: Madeleine E. Robins
  • Wednesday: Maureen F. McHugh
  • Thursday: Bradley Denton
  • Friday: Steven Gould
  • Saturday: Caroline Spector
  • Sunday: Rory Harper

Brain Activity



Gluttony

November 4th, 2007 by Rory Harper

Oh, it all looks so yummy, I don’t know where to start.

Okay, there’s a reason we sin, and we all know it. It feels good. Eating tasty food, and lots of it, feels good. Eating while engaged in some of the other sins feels even better.

For instance, here’s the second-most famous gluttony scene in the history of the cinema:

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Wow, that turkey looks soooo juicy. Who carved it? Uh, just white meat for me, please.

The French, as usual, have a word for it that sounds much cooler than the English word:

Snotty French Word for Glutton

Also as usual, they’re cranky and whiny about the way it’s being used by the rest of us.

Could you put some of that cornbread dressing on my plate? Uh, another spoonful, please.

Conjugating the noun.

I don’t waste food.

You have a healthy appetite.

He licks his plate clean. And yours. And mine.

Could you pass the mashed potatoes? And the cream gravy to go with it?

Gluttony is the premier late-20th and early-21st century sin. Unlike the others of the Deadly Seven, we’re all doing it more and more. It used to be an American specialty, but the Brits have seriously taken it up, too, and it’s spread worldwide. Considering the crap we pig out on, some of us have the whipsaw condition of obesity and malnutrition existing simultaneously in the same body.

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It’s the sin that’s easiest to spot, because it makes you wear loose clothing.

Here’s one of the most intimidating animations I’ve ever seen:

 

How accurate and meaningful is it? I dunno, but it scares the hell out of me.

 

How many hot rolls? Um, gimme three. To start with. And the butter and jelly, when you’re done with them.

I can see why, back in the day, when Yahweh was directly letting people know what pissed him off, gluttony was considered a sin in a close-knit tribal community. There was often not enough food to go around. You were eating somebody else’s share when you were a piggy.

If you’re a behaviorist, gluttony and obesity are, of course, very different things. Gluttony is the behavior. Obesity is the outcome. Also, obesity isn’t a sin. It’s just the scarlet letter that you wear in a coating all over your body.

Hand me that bowl of cranberry sauce? No, the one with jellied kind in it. How can anybody eat real cranberries? Ick.

Why are so many of us gluttons these days? Better to ask, why aren’t we all gluttons? We’re now surrounded by cheap food, filled with strong-tasting calories. It’s all salted, sweetened, and filled with fat. We like those things added because the food tastes better to us then. Because God made us that way. Or maybe we evolved to gorge on those kinds of foods back when food wasn’t always available. We survived through lean times by stockpiling fat in non-lean times.

Why, I do believe that I will have a second helping, thank you. It would be rude not to.

Gluttony is an absolutely natural, almost inevitable, result of environmental change for us. We’re gluttons at our core as humans. We’ve just gotten too good at it lately.

So, what what kind of pies we got for dessert? I never can tell what’s under the whipped topping. Chocolate and lemon cream? Uh, one piece of each, please. Here, I’ll cut mine for the size I like.

I’m not a glutton. I have a glandular problem.

Oops. Fat jokes and comments about over-weight are tacky and mean-spirited, aren’t they? Unless self-inflicted, I suppose.

Yesterday at Harvey Washbanger’s, I saw an obese twenty-something guy wearing a t-shirt that proudly stated “I beat the anorexia”.

Ooh, a doggy bag. And this extra pecan pie is all for me? That’s so sweet!

Anti-gluttony books, videos, and programs are a multi-billion dollar industry. Send me $10 and I’ll let you in on my secret fail-safe method.

….Oh, hell, you’re a buddy of mine. I’ll scribble it on this napkin for you. Don’t tell anybody.

Rory’s Simple Perfect Plan for Negating the Consequences of  the Sin of Gluttony

Absolutely no money required for memberships, clothing, or special equipment.

  1. Walk a half an hour, as quickly as is comfortable.
  2. Do light exercise and stretching for another half an hour. Push-ups, lifting 10-pound weights, crunches and leg-lifts while lying on the floor.
  3. If you feel you must, take a high-quality multi-vitamin. Maybe some Omega-6, too.
  4. Cut your caloric intake to half of what it now is. Don’t stress about what foods you cut or don’t cut. Your body will tell you, when you start paying attention to it.
  5. Do this consistently, every day, for the rest of your life.

If you follow my simple plan, you’ll live significantly longer, get more accomplished, suffer fewer illnesses, enjoy your life more, sleep better, fuck better, and be smarter. This is an utterly true statement, and we both know it.

There. That was easy, wasn’t it?

So. What’s for supper tonight?

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Posted in Daily Life, Food, Health and Safety, Rory | 9 Comments »

9 Responses

  1. Madeleine Robins Says:

    Want a cup of coffee for the road? Just so you won’t doze off?

  2. Rory Harper Says:

    Thanks, Mad! With some Half-and-Half and three spoonfuls of sugar, please.

    Hey! Where did that ice cream come from?

  3. Steven Gould Says:

    If you put the ice cream in the coffee, it replaces the cream and sugar.

  4. Rachael Says:

    Did someone say ice cream?

  5. Steven Gould Says:

    Oh, go eat your Halloween candy!

  6. James Hollaman Says:

    I love the people that use the organic sugar in there coffee because it means its good for you. but they end up using more of it than they normally would the regular stuff….

  7. Sean Craven Says:

    I have to say, my own take on this is that if the rising rates of obesity were due strictly to gluttony they wouldn’t have the sharp slope that they do.

    If you’re concerned about your own weight, then the only functional approach is to take full personal responsibility for your behavior.

    But when you see large sections of the population all over the world suddenly changing the shapes of their bodies, my suspicion is that something’s going on. I mean, this is happening everywhere. It’s at its most spectacular here in the US, but it’s a universal.

    Lessee, there’s the high-fructose corn syrup. There are viral diseases that can promote obesity — the overweight are much more likely to carry antibodies from those viruses. There’s the recently emerging notion that if you’ve got fat pals, you’re a lot more likely to accept your own rotundencies.

    Funny how many little things are contributing to the problem. Time for a conspiracy theory.

    Rory’s suggestions are right in line with my own Somewhat Less Of A Hog diet plan. Just don’t forget that your body doesn’t want to lose that weight and there’s a good chance the process will make you mean for a while…

  8. Stuart Says:

    Sean,

    There was an interesting tidbit in Discover magazine a few months back. An article on epigenetics had some information about a population study done in an isolated town in Sweden. Turns out the probability of a man developing diabetes was doubled if his grandfather had an abundance of food in the period of time just before puberty.

    You can bet that higher probability of diabetes was coupled with a higher body mass index. What we are seeing globally could be the result of more abundant food world wide in the 20th century being expressed in the third generation after the food became abundant.

    Yes, this certainly conflicts with everything I learned about genetics in high school. The whole article was full of mind bending things about how environmental factors can affect the expression of genes for generations.

  9. Sean Craven Says:

    Wow! Now I’m wondering if there have been any other studies that would support this conclusion. The idea that the Generation Gap might have some biological basis…

    Lately I’ve been finding out things about genetics that make it seem a hell of a lot weirder and more convoluted than I’d thought. Mendel made it look easy but he cooked the books. Thanks for another tidbit — time to start looking stuff up. “E is for epigenetics.”

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