Food and Fuel
My Dear Grandchildren,
Nutrition is important. If you were a machine with metal moving parts you would need lubrication, fuel and regular maintenance. If you were a computer, all you would need would be electricity.
I don’t want to let the air out of your tires or pull your plug, but you’re not a machine or a computer. You’re an organic unit and part of this earth we live upon. Your body is actually composed of a number of the elements found in the air and the rocks and soil under your feet.
You are composed of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, magnesium and a number of other trace elements all mixed up with water. You’re what is commonly called human.
I do want to warn you. You should avoid consuming the element lead at all costs. Lead, as you know, is quite heavy and will make you unpopular at work. As you get older and begin working, you’ll discover a certain number of the people you work with have somewhere in their past been careless about their diet. They have consumed large quantities of lead and it has settled in their behind requiring them to sit more often than most. I know this is true because I remember my grandfather talking about certain men who had a great deal of lead in their breeches. I can’t use his exact words. He used a more colorful vocabulary than what I’ve used here.
The truth is, you’re put together much like the animals of this world. In fact, you could call yourself an animal. We sometimes refer to a certain kind of football player as an animal but strictly speaking this is a misnomer. All football players along with the rest of us are animals. I’m sure your mother wouldn’t want you to think of yourself as an animal, but it’s true. You are not just an animal but a specific kind of animal.
You’re a warm-blooded animal as opposed to a cold-blooded animal like an alligator or a snake. We usually don’t call cold-blooded creatures animals. We call them reptiles. That’s what my friend’s uncle called his wife. I always wondered about that when I was a kid. He called her a reptile, but I don’t think he was using the word in a scientific way.
You’re not a reptile. You’re a warm-blooded animal with a number of internal organs, like a heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys. Because you’re warm-blooded, your body requires regular nutrition to maintain your body’s constant temperature of 98.6º Fahrenheit.
In order to maintain your life and your constant body temperature day and night, you require a constant supply of fuel. You require a certain kind of fuel.
Since you’re not a machine like an automobile, you don’t need gasoline. You’re not a steam engine either. You don’t need coal, wood or some other kind of combustible material to heat the water to 212º and produce live steam. You don’t run on household current or require batteries.
The fuel you need we call food. It’s interesting that since you are a creature of this earth, your food must be of this earth. The fuel you require must at one time have been living itself, just as you are living.
It would be great for your parents if you could live by eating rocks, sand and dirt. Those things are plentiful and cheap. Alas, the fuel you require must grow out of the earth. The fuel you must consume daily must have at one time been living and that requires a bit of work and forethought. Both Rome and green beans didn’t come about in one day.
As you know, you enjoy eating corn, beans, tomatoes, peas, cucumbers, squash, lettuce, spinach, apples, oranges, pears, watermelon, bananas, peaches, cantaloupe, brussels sprouts, grapes, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, rice and more. You also like bread, don’t you? Where would this world be without a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
Bread is made from ground up grains, like wheat, barley, rye, oats, etcetera. Bread is good. Can you imagine a world without sandwiches?
Well, the interesting thing about us when we consume these fruits and vegetables and grains is that we put our fuel into our mouths. We put fuel food into our mouth because we need fuel to live. The fuel we put into our mouth keeps our bodies warm.
We grind the food fuel with our teeth. We don’t put the fuel in our ears or in the opening at the bottom end of our bodies. I’ll talk about the opening at the bottom of our bodies in a moment. We put our fuel in the top opening, our mouth. We grind our fuel with our teeth until it’s slushy and then we swallow the food we have ground up with our teeth.
After we swallow our food fuel it goes through a long tube inside our bodies, a very long tube indeed. We have names for different parts of that long tube.
Our food fuel goes in our mouth, that’s the first part of the long tube. Then we swallow through our throat and the squishy fuel goes down our esophagus. Everything about this process is down.
Occasionally food doesn’t go down and stay down. Sometimes food goes down and then later comes up. That is not usual, thank Goodness. When squishy food comes back up it’s unpleasant for you and everyone around you. We won’t talk about that now.
After our fuel goes down our esophagus it arrives in our stomach. Our stomach is the next part of that long tube. Your stomach is like a high-tech food processor. It turns the food you put into your mouth into a warm, thin soup.
When the fuel food in our stomach is all churned up with no big solid chunks, the thin, warm soup then continues through another very long tube, a tube so long it would stretch all the way across your living room and out the window if you were to take it out and have someone hold the other end.
While your warm soup is slowly going through your long tube, your body sucks important nutrients out of this warm, thin, brown soup. It puts those nutrients into your body and feeds your cells. The parts of the soup your body doesn’t need for energy travel all the way to the bottom end of your tube. You get rid of the fuel you don’t need by putting it in the toilet. You eliminate it. Now you know what that word means when you talk about your body, don’t you?
I don’t suggest you ever find out how long your tube is. The bottom part of your tube is connected on one end to your stomach and the other end is the exit on the backside of your bottom. That’s a long tube indeed. It goes back and forth, back and forth, back and forth inside of your tummy. If you’ve ever seen anyone take apart a car’s radiator, you’ll know how the bottom part of your tube winds around and around and takes up a great deal of space behind your belly button.
If you took your tube out and stretched it across the living room it would be quite difficult to get back in properly and besides, if you were to take it out you would have to do something with all that warm soup inside the tube. Besides the warm, brown soup, there would be a second problem.
If you took your long tube out of your body, the far end closest to your sitting down place would be stuffed with the residue of the food fuel you ate in the last day or two, the bits of food your body doesn’t need for fuel. The residue at the bottom end would have most of the liquid taken out and would be somewhat solid.
If you took your tube out of your body you would find the end of your tube just before it comes out of your body would be full of solid waste. We have a common, crude word for that waste, it’s called s***t, but I can’t say that word here or your mother wouldn’t let you read this.
As you know, when you go to the toilet to get rid of the solid waste that comes out of the end of your long tube, it doesn’t smell so good. In fact, it smell like,….well, I don’t know how else to say it. It smells like s***t.
Your mother might approve of the word poop but some mothers don’t even like that word. Most mothers would just prefer you say you have to go to the bathroom and leave it at that without any further explanation. I suggest you use whatever language approved by your mother.
And now you know why your father uses that word when something bad happens and he is a little angry. He can’t think of any word more disgusting.
Don’t worry. Your parents think you don’t know what that word means. I suggest you don’t use that word yourself. It’s a word only parents are allowed to use. There are lots of words like that, words only adults are allowed to use.
Well, the main reason I’m writing this letter is to let you know what you should eat to make your tube, soup and elimination easier and healthy.
The word elimination is the technical word for when you sit on the toilet and get rid of your solid waste, the waste that comes out the bottom end of your tube.
Your mother would probably laugh at you if you were to say, “Mom, I have to go eliminate.” What most people say is, “I have to go to the bathroom.” That’s the polite way we’re taught to refer to what we do when we have to get rid of the solid waste out of the bottom of our tube.
When you say you have to go to the bathroom everyone knows you’re not going to the bathroom to take a bath or a shower. Everyone knows you’re going to the bathroom because that’s where the toilet is in most houses unless you’re in England.
If you are in England the toilet would be in the WC. The WC is the water closet. Lots of people in England had the good idea of putting the toilet in a separate room from the bathtub and the shower.
If the toilet is in a separate room from the bathtub and the shower it means you don’t have to bang on the door screaming that you’re about to go in your pants while your deaf sister is in there putting on her makeup. You can easily understand the wisdom of the British idea, can’t you?
Well, if you will include in your diet lots of fruits and vegetables, you’ll have a much easier time with your warm soup and your solid waste and your elimination. The rule is, you’re better off if you eat real food and not food that’s in a can, box or frozen. Frozen food is cold and hard on your teeth.
Folks who eat a lot of processed food, food that has had the roughage take out, find it much more difficult when they go to the toilet or the WC.
Here is a little suggestion. Include wheat bran in your daily diet. Wheat bran is the husk of the wheat kernel. It has no nutritive value when you eat it and it passes entirely through your tube and comes out the other end. When you eat wheat bran, it swells up when it’s in the brown, warm soup and makes the solid part of your waste bigger and softer and easier for your tube to squeeze out the bottom end. You’ll spend a lot less time in the WC.
Trust me. It took me a long time to figure this out because no one wanted to talk to me about poop, pooping and how my energy, food tube worked.
From experience I can tell you that your life will be a great deal more pleasant if you eat lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and nuts and avoid processed foods.
You might even want to have a few meals during the week that are entirely composed of fresh fruits, nuts, vegetables and such and occasionally skip a few meals that include other animals as part of the menu.
I love each of you dearly,
Written by: Barney Beard for his grandchildren
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