Read The Fine Print

Tom Poland

Posted Feb. 4, 2022

By Tom Poland
A Southern Writer

Note: For Non-Offended Eyes Only

Some say we are what we eat and that what we eat these days is killing us. Down in Australia, some Australian Aboriginals moved to the city and adopted a civilized diet and soon they had illnesses and conditions they had never had before, things like diabetes. Some nutritionists convinced ten Aboriginals who had Type 2 Diabetes to move back to the Outback where they could resume their traditional diet and in just seven weeks the diabetes went away.

That’s a lesson for us all. But one thing’s for sure: you can hurt yourself jumping feet first into some trendy miracle diet. You better know what you’re doing.

My friend, Campbell, (We call him “Camp”), got on a health kick a while back after he had read how Aboriginals routinely live 100 years or more and that their long lifespan was due to a fiber-rich diet. So Camp dug around and found a magazine with a recipe for a salad of sorts called “Aboriginal Roughage,” a concoction of leaves, peppers, ferns, greens, husks, berries, gum, tubers, bulbs, and nuts.

So off to the grocery store goes Camp and he comes back and makes a gigantic salad that would challenge the most devout vegetarian. Of course, he had to substitute some things with equivalents available here. It had coconut chunks, walnuts, berries of all kinds, bamboo shoots, fruits, Romaine lettuce, spinach, cabbage, and celery stalks among other items. Macadamia nut oil provided the dressing.

Camp says he’ll never forget his encounter with fiber-rich food. We were having dinner the other night (Camp was enjoying a huge steak) and he told me about his near-death experience with excessive roughage.

“I made it in a huge wooden bowl and it looked like a spot where a bush hog had turned around: leaves, shoots, and stalks fanned out in a circle. I stood back and admired it, thinking how I was going to live to be 100 if I could get used to eating sticks. Tom, I ate the whole thing in one sitting.”

Camp continued … “Early the next morning I had to stop by dad’s place and was sharing coffee with him when that feeling, that urge, hit me in a serious way.”

Camp paused and a pained look crossed his face like he was reliving seeing his dog get run over.

“I got a hunting magazine and went down the hall to the bath. I was reading about whitetail bucks and the next thing I know, I’m out like a light. I came to on the floor of the hall. Dad was holding a cold washcloth against my forehead.”

“What happened, Dad?”

“Son, you let out a war whoop and I came running and found you here in the hall passed out.”

“Apparently, I leapt out of the bath like a bullfrog.”

Back home Camp re-read the recipe for his Aboriginal salad. This time he spotted the asterisk. Way down beneath the last paragraph was a sentence buried in fine print. “*Gradually consume this salad in small amounts over a three-week period to avoid extreme complications.”

Camp held up a succulent piece of steak. “I’ll tell you one thing. Those Winn Dixie folks are right. ‘Beef. It’s what’s for dinner tonight.’ ”

Camp remains a bit stout. He no longer talks about living to be 100 and he no longer tries out diets. I tried to get him into running but he looked at me like I was crazy. “If the good Lord wanted me to run,” he said, “He’d have put roller skates on my feet.” Like many Americans, he keeps piling on the weight, but like James Gregory, the comedian, his attitude’s good. “I’ve got to eat to keep up my strength,” he says, “so I can be a pallbearer for all my running buddies.”

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