Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cleansing your colon, one gram at a time

Another of the unutterable joys of aging is talking about your colon with your best friend. She doesn't really know my colon or its habits, but she cares about me and she reads my blog and worries about my health (thank you dahling), so she and I were discussing the benefits of getting your RDA of fiber. Which is 25 grams per DAY, if you want your colon to be happy and clean.

(Insert a cute cartoony graphic of a happy pink colon with a smiley face - "Hi! Mr. Colon here to talk to you about bran!")

Now, 25 grams of fiber is a shitload (literally) to eat in one day. A banana has 3 grams of fiber; so does a small apple. Veggies are a good source, but the most high-fiber vegetables are lentils (6 grams) lima beans (11 grams) and brussels sprouts (6 grams) -- ALL OF WHICH I refuse to eat. Life is too short to eat horrible legumes and stinky mini-cabbages, and my personal feeling is that I can't do it unless they are smothered in butter or cheese or bacon or a combination of all of the above, which pretty much cancels out any of the benefits from the fiber. Besides, even if I had a cup of lima beans (shudder) I would have only hit the halfway mark for my daily requirements, and I guarantee I would be off my feed if I ate a cup of lima beans, even with a martini.

I guess I could always eat a bowl of bran flakes, but I am afraid of them. I have a bran phobia. Not only because of the taste (something like a cross between burnt styrofoam and recycled wood pulp, with a smidgen of old yeast) but just the simple act of buying a box of bran flakes in the grocery store is like holding up a five-foot sign to your fellow shoppers stating "HI, I AM OLD AND CONSTIPATED, NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO TELL ME ABOUT YOUR COLONOSCOPY," and how it felt like someone took a wire brush to your formerly happy lower intestines.

(Insert graphic of formerly happy Mr. Colon, only this time beet-red with a frowny face.)

Of course there are bigger guns - like trying one of the many 'Colon Cleanse' products. Those scare me too, even worse than the thought of being caught red-handed with a box of bran flakes. I would never survive the trip to the health-food store -- I would be paralyzed by the variety and too self-conscious to ask which one is best. (There's a conversation you don't want to have in the middle of Whole Foods.) Plus, the idea of the 'cleanse' itself is frightening. No way do I want to spend a weekend strapped to my commode with a seat belt to keep myself from being shot upwards like a rocket by an unhappy Mr. Colon being forced to work overtime.

I know this stuff is supposed to 'flush out the toxins' and get rid of years of accumulated sludge, but I don't really want to know that. I don't want to know what sort of sludge I am carrying around, and I want even less to see it after it comes out, unless I thought I'd swallowed the Hope Diamond but in my case would probably be a rhinestone pinky ring that I'd swallowed when I was five after eating straight out of the cereal box. See, I KNEW there was a reason for my fear of bran!

Anyway, as far as I know my colon is happy with its daily salad and assorted fruits. And if it isn't, I hope it has better manners than to announce its displeasure in the middle of yoga class.


  1. Terri, it is so rare that my husband and I do anything together, and even less often that we find something that we both agree is fun or worthwhile.
    So, I must thank you for being a rare common point on which he and I agree and spend time connecting. Seven out of ten times, when your blog appears, I announce to him that "Terri's new blog is out." Then we alternately laugh out loud together while reading your words of wisdom and say things like, "Oh, yeh, she nailed that. THAT is sooo true," etc. Thank you for bringing us together and bringing laughter tears to our eyes - even when you talk about colon-blow! You are the best.

  2. Terri,

    Well.....I think you need to try Jen's recipe for brussel sprouts! We love them, but I know that makes us sound like freaks. And I love fiber cereal as well, and love waving it about in the Trader Joe's when I buy it. I eat SHITLOADS of fiber. If you can get too much, I'm, the guy who'll die of fiber o.d.

    But Jen's sprouts: Cut the ends off, then cut the sprouts in half. put them in a zip lock bag with a little olive oil and kosher salt. shake them up. then put them in a cooking pan and put a little balsamic vinegar over them. Cook 'em at 350 for about 40 minutes. Add parm cheese over top, and they are awesome!