Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Health Alert

Christmas is once more upon us and in the spirit of the season’s traditions, Just Blowing Smoke is once more issuing a holiday alert. While many are concerned rampant consumerism that the claim that Christmas has degenerated into, our staff long ago realized that it was rampant consumption that was the greatest threat during the holiday season. While the list below is incomplete, it’s hoped that by its posting, it will aid some in restraint of the dangerous behavior that many are about to participate in. (And as our politicians are oh so fond of saying, if just one life is saved….)

Egg Nog: Let’s face it folks, considering the cholesterol and calories imbued in this beverage produced especially for the holidays, you might as well slather it on like sunscreen rather than drink it. Not only will you spare yourself endless hours on the treadmill, but I understand that it does wonders for the complexion. While there are tales that the deleterious effects of Nog can be somewhat mitigated by mixing it with alcohol (dark rum is a personal favorite), there is nothing but anecdotal evidence to support such claims. (On the other hand, having partaken of it in this fashion, it's unlikely that calories or any other coherent thought will be of much concern to you.)
Fruit Cake: In spite of the bad wrap that this treat has received over the years, the truth of the matter is that it poses little health risk to most of the population; and can in fact be used beneficially. No, it’s not the fruit of which it’s comprised or the way in which it's prepared that makes it healthy; but the fact that it’s so awful that it’s usually consumed in very small portions which limit exposure to its toxic effects. Fruitcake carries the additional benefit of having left over sections that can be used as a substitute for a truncheon or throwing weapon to drive guests away from other tastier and potentially more deadly treats at the holiday table. 
Cookies: These tasty little confections, while around all year in some form, put on their ‘party best’ for the holiday season. Dressed in clever shapes, colored icings, and of course sprinkles and glitter, the confections have been effectively camouflaged in every variety of holiday masquerade.  These deadly little delicacies however will challenge even the most dedicated of diets, and in spite of their danger, do in fact contain most of the major food groups: sugar, chocolate, useless carbs, and unpronounceable chemicals.  (If someone could get red meat or bacon onto them, they'd be perfect.)  They are considered the most accessible of temptations, since they can normally be crammed into one's pie hole all at once; minimizing the risk of discovery and disguising the damage they're doing. (Be careful to make sure that you've brushed the crumbs off though, as they are a dead giveaway.)  Vowing to abstaining from future consumption of them and to exercise the calories gained from cookies are among the top five of resolutions for each New Years.
Cheese: For some reason, cheese has long found a place at our holiday tables, often in rather bizarre forms. Sure you can go with the snooty specialty and European cheeses if what you’re looking for is something in the way of flavor, but the natural ingredients found in such products can expose the consumer to greater risk. The American tradition is much more likely to be defined by cheese balls, cheese logs, and the ever-popular “Cheese Whiz”. As most of us know, the more processed such cheese is, the better for you it probably is; with the piston cans of “Easy Cheese’ being the most healthy (and containing the least cheese) of all of the products available. There is nothing like emulsifiers or carrageenan to bring real cheese texture to a dish and nothing like citric acid when it comes to real cheese flavor. While we're at it, let’s not forget all of the wonderful processed products that are in most of the crackers we put this on, in an opportunity to add insult to injury (literally).

Cocktail Weenies:  No one really knows what animals these tasty little treats come from, let alone what parts of those animals might be involved; and quite frankly (pun intended) no one wants to know.  This ostensible meat product however has become a holiday favorite over the years.  This probably has something to do with fact that it can be served in so many ways.  Drowned in equally toxic sauce and cooked so long that the surrounding liquid congeals to the consistency of paste, or wrapped in a variety of equally mysterious (and probably unhealthy) substances, it can be served as a blue collar staple by the scoop or daintily displayed on the finest serving-ware, impaled upon toothpicks with colorful frills at one end.  Do not be distracted by its innocent appearance however (and be careful to use on the untasseled part of the toothpick).  Not only is there little or no actual food value in this diminutive dog, but government funded studies have found it to be extremely habit-forming and a gateway food to Brat and Andouille sausage addiction.

Alcohol: The health dangers of exposure of alcohol come in many forms, ranging from what are largely the stealth efforts of rum balls and the aforementioned Egg Nog to the traditional holiday cocktails (like rum punch), and ending with the indulgence in every form fermented and distilled beverages. Let me state for the record that here at JBS, we approve heartily in such indulgences. Not only are recent studies showing the positive health effects of moderate consumption of such beverages, but with the year all but at its end, it’s probably long past time that as survivors, we celebrated its successful conclusion. 

Overindulgence carries significant long-term health risks however, usually from one’s spouse. The immature, impolite, and down stupid behavior committed while under the influence of ‘that demon rum’ will no more likely be forgiven in the spirit of the holiday than it would otherwise. The damage can be significant and reputation rehabilitation process can be a long and painful one.
I should also note under this section, that driving while intoxicated can additionally be damaging and expensive. Not only do you risk spending some or all of your holiday in jail and thereby ruining the occasion for the whole family; but the economic and employment repercussions can be devastating for subsequent year’s holiday celebrations. 

While Santa is the spirit of the holiday season in many households, there's no reason to attempt to equal his girth as well as his good cheer. While the fact that the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world is less than twelve months away, there's no reason to expedite the process on a personal scale by overindulgence at the end of this one. So by all means enjoy your holidays, and by all means enjoy the tasty treats of the season; but if for no other reason than my concern for you, please do so in moderation. (Besides, the use of such intelligent behavior will undoubtedly leave more for me…)

No comments: