Monthly advice

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My wife has renewed our subscription to Prevention magazine. I say "our" subscription because she reads it and then sticks the articles in my face. The purpose of this annoying publication is to make you worry about nearly every aspect of your life from the second you wake up in the morning and fail to drink organic orange juice to the second you fall asleep and start battling sleep apnea because you have a chubby neck.

The magazine has the same dimensions as Reader's Digest, their only similarity. Those who write for Prevention are opposed to almost anything its readers could possibly digest. Over the history of this monthly periodical, everything you have ever put in your mouth gets raked over the coals (yes, including everything you ever barbequed) and deemed unfit for human consumption.

Oh, you can nibble on raw cauliflower or dip florets of broccoli into a savory sauce made of skim milk and low-fat yogurt, but once the phrase "Mmmmm, that's really good" comes out of your mouth, that's an indication you have put something bad into it. They do permit chocolate consumption as long as you know that while the dark variety contains anti-oxidants, it will still clog your arteries. I guess that's bitter-sweet news.

Much of the advertising in this magazine is for drugs that will treat your coronary disease, gout, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, polyps and acne, which is a strong hint that all this nutrition advice is a bunch of hooey and that you might as well pop a pill and get back to enjoying life. Eat ribs, take Lipitor and get a three-year subscription to this magazine. I think that's about as much as I'm willing to commit to my longevity.

Of course, some decadent foods are advocated by the magazine if consumed in appropriate amounts. On Saturday mornings when Mary Ellen drags me to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, I get an earful about what's okay to get a mouthful of...

"Dick, did you know that if you eat a serving of peanuts a day, you are 14 percent less likely to have a stroke?"

"That may be true. I've never seen an elephant with a walker."

"Here's what else I read. Men over 60--that's you--are 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack if they eat fresh fish once a week. Too bad cooking that stuff stinks up the house, or I'd be willing to do that for you."

"What else?"

"I also read that you should get your pulse up to 180 at least once a day. How would you do that?

"I'd let you read to me from that magazine right before I go to sleep."

There's also a lot of good advice about exercising in the book. That's what my wife tells me, anyway.

I noticed that Mary Ellen had also bought a copy of a Prevention magazine cookbook. Each recipe includes a complete analysis of the ingredients and explanation of why each item will give you a longer, healthier life. Here was one recipe:

Half pound of no fat, no taste, sausage

three oz. of soy milk

6 oz. of hummus

12 peanuts

2 oz. of skim milk

a cup of wheat germ

3 leaves of fresh spinach

Mary Ellen mixed it up, made it into patties and placed it on the grill so I could have it for dinner while she went to work out at LA Fitness. Was it good? I don't know. But the dog will live to be a hundred.