There Are Controversial Reasons Why Milk Chocolate is Better For You Than Dark Chocolate

I used to have an Instagram and then I deleted it.  I followed all sorts of seemingly normal people.  I liked seeing photos of  people’s puppies, their families at graduation. I could even stand a trite “I’m worth it” pose every now and then, and did always love the “I took a photo of my latte art WITHOUT dropping my phone in it! Celebrate me!” shots, or even “Here’s a hipster shot of my girlfriend’s elbow and a mountain/tree/landscape.” My feed was once full of innocuous and pleasing distractions. These images allowed me to scroll endlessly past photo after photo without feeling the jolting need for self-reflection through my nervous system. Scroll, scroll, occasional pause, scroll, scroll, scroll. What a lovely Instagram life I could have kept.

And then, something changed.

Suddenly vibrant folk were arching their backs out next to diuretic teas. They aimed their butts at the camera, as though insisting that you observe the laxative pre-farts percolating. “This tea is effective” the faces smirked, “But look at this butt! Look at the potential goodness this tush expels!” Okay. I guess the message is no longer aimed at what I already know about health and fitness and vitality and life. I have to decipher the code of this Callipygian image. The message is now “poop your way to glowing … glute.. health?” I frantically scroll past. But shot after shot is a framed bottom, posing next to some other marketed consumable that will “help you meet your goals faster!” Can I be the first person to rename Instagram as Ass-tagram©? Oh boy, the true material of this rant is yet to come.

Someone who used to eat Cadbury chocolates with me now employs every meal she eats as a photo op. Each meal is now worth documenting because “it’s healthy!” Foods are the new models, bending into karma-sutric poses to please the eye. Quinoa is photogenic as… Pile of Quinoa. Salad is now leaves artfully draped on top of a rainbow-bed of vegetables. Baked tofu poses as… “I look better than I taste.” One particular photo of hers infuriated me (because I’m melodramatic like you wouldn’t believe).

It was a photo of the one square of Dark Chocolate she allows herself for desert.

“With a glass of wine, this is so heart healthy! And guilt free!”

Ahh.. being sold lifestyles. Marketing commits subtle crimes through selling us health. We eat it all up, these elixirs of forever, thinking we can nom our way into eternal youth. Marketing binds us to choices that best express the narratives we craft for ourselves. But marketing has succeeded in not only stoking what we already believe in. Great marketing succeeds by altering what we desire altogether.  In this case, it made dark chocolate look like the Idris Elba of the candy aisle. Nowadays, Dark chocolate communicates richness, luxury, depth.  To choose milk chocolate after knowing about dark chocolate is succumbing to the most shallow and saccharine aspects of your soul. In the instance with chocolate, I am almost certain that if it weren’t for notions of the latent health concealed in the Darkest of Chocolates, there would be no reason to consume it over milk chocolate. They have just sold it to me marvelously and because, hey, I somewhat care about my heart health.

I no longer have to bother with the consumptive invitations of an Instagram feed. Before and after photos. Anterior Pelvic Tilt. Detox tea. Reposted workouts of a person squat-hopping up and down the Stairmaster. Endless belfies that signify gym accomplishments. I mean, I guess these are interesting. But the message is different. It’s not subtle. I can’t scroll at leisure anymore without getting annoyed and wondering how a tea relates to a  a butt without then thinking of poops. Each image is commanding more than just my looking but my actions in ways that I did not go to Instagram for. No, I did not subsribe to Fitness, the new religion. Yet, I am bombarded by band-hopping prophets clad in stretchy shorts, and their images are some kind of new bible.  They tout the latest in protein powders and fart tea. Dark chocolate is how they “treat themselves.” On the one hand, who can resist? An image gives me the instant gratification of fantasy: I think I can be what I am looking at. I would love to be a small, muscular female. Chun Li is my hero — these photos could have reviewed my psyche and saw what to sell. Instead, I saw the chocolate photo that irked me and pontificated too hard on what was wrong with the world. #firstworldproblems #pretentious

When we have to be narrated out of our current story to consume yet another new thing, is it really worth rewriting who we are? My feed used to reflect my shallow values. Then it began force feeding me new values I couldn’t stand by. I already believe exercise is awesome, but do I need it paired with a bunch of butts and Laxative tea ? A strong butt is good motivation to have especially to get off my own, but looking at one does not give me one. Finally, dark chocolate is awesome. But I would not ever eat it for “my health.” If you must eat chocolate, eat it because it feels good. Let the consumption of chocolate, milk, dark, black, white, what-have-you, be the choice that you make without buying into the health-nuttery around you.  If you want to commit food sins, do so. Realize that when it comes to food, everything is permitted.

Introducing Onions, the Metaphysical Dealbreaker

At a pre-independence day BBQ (Bee-Bee-Cue, not Bar-Bee-Cue), Rebecca George delighted in the company of her fellow peers. Well, forgive the unexciting wording, she also was sans girlfriend, and thus missed her girlfriend terribly. Despite the girlfriend pining, the clear demonstration of secret sans-girlfriend rejoicing, was in her ability to: place several hot dog buns on her plate, put hot dogs in them (I swear this is no euphemism, I am getting to the point), and atop these already shimmering hot dogs, lather on the French’s mustard, the dinosaur-green relish, and most egregious of all, the onions.

This was Rebecca’s innocent and giddy way of delighting in her temporary independence, for she exclaimed “I don’t have to kiss anyone tonight, so HAH! ONIONS! MUSTARD!” She then gleefully stared at Robert and I as the oozing pattern of onions checkered her hot dog menagerie. Robert, of course, is a big onion fan. He stared enviously at the tempting array of pungent flavors, eyes glazing over. He has historically explored all stanky depths of an onion’s impact, raw or cooked whenever opportunity struck, and then lovingly insisted on playing his own tongue-y version of tennis.

Alas, on this evening, he had already eaten. I was spared.

Rebecca and Robert are two ethically interesting cases as they relate to the consumption of onions and their loved ones. Rebecca’s consumption on this night reveals how she avoids onions only when she will harm another, sacrificing the pleasures of the taste bud for the comfort of her love. Rebecca is clearly an ethically conscious being. Robert, on the other hand, could conceivably marble his tongue with a raw onion so that merely speaking close to him induces onion-chopping tears. To the onion hedonist, pleasure is pleasure, and those who love him should love him as he is. He will enjoy what he loves at all costs, and he should not have to uphold lies of onion-omission just to secure himself some snogs at the end of the night. He is secure in the love that he has, and the snogging he will receive until eternity, despite knowing that the presence, idea, and most importantly TASTE and AFTERTASTE and HORROR of ONION all disturbs his lover. All of this lead me to ask myself: should we avoid eating what we love because of its impact on others?

My own opinion, at least with regard to onions, is along the lines of the following: we should never consume them. Eating onions is abhorrent, not because of who we have to kiss, but because you have to live with yourself. An onion’s aftertaste stays in you for days on end. No amount of electric toothbrush, flossing, mouthwash combination can obliterate the foul oniony remnants that expand with time. The taste chooses when to escape. It then attempts to leave from every hair-pore in your body. Like a maggot that is too fat, it strains through you with difficulty, and often has to leave bits of itself behind. These bits then take on a life of their own and become onion-maggots too. Your entire life post-consumption of an onion becomes coloured by the onion. What happened to your mouth? It disintegrated into an ONION HAUNTED HOUSE. Thus, eating onions is too harrowing an experience to undergo at all.

So the answer to the question is no. Avoid doing anything out of love of others. And never eat onions. Do what you need to because you need to live with yourself, and in this case, you need to live with your own mouth and the natural halitosis you probably already have that does not need to b exacerbated by anything that onions have to offer you.*

* This way you will learn who your real friends are, and who will love you and kiss you no matter what.

How to Eat Yourself Delirious Part II: Jimboy’s Tacos and Tangents

Jimboy’s is a Mexican-eque fast food restaurant chain. I say Mexican-esque because the food claims to be Mexican. The incongruity of the place is charming: people working there bark loud Span-ish (?) directions at one another through their headsets, despite how the place itself is called Jimboy’s. Jimboy’s doesn’t sound… well… Latin American in any actual way. Perhaps it’s how I am saying “Jimboy’s”, incorrectly and slightly foreign as usual, so before I dig myself into the Hole of Insensitive and Slightly Racist Misunderstanding, I am going to get right into describing my experience at Jimboy’s.

Unlike the misleading and possessed looking gif below, (do you pronounce it Gif, jif, or gjif? I personally pronounce it as: gjif) I did not only eat out of mini plastic pots of salsa. While there was a time in my life where my social anxiety meant that such pathetic quantities of liquid tomato puree would be all I could stomach, now, I am at peace with my surroundings. Now, I can stomach, well, certainly more than mere salsa!

My particular order consisted of some beany salute to my previous vegetarian convictions: a bean burrito. However, I also succumbed to some animal fleshiness in the form of a ground beef taco. I guess I must apologize to my vegetarian, animal-free dairy-free Vegan past self. How I miss you Vegan, jittery, clear-skinned me. The mountains of acne at my temples are a testament to my new, animal eating sinful ways. I wish my blood pressure was not abnormally low or I would abandon animal consumption immediately. I probably will again once the anxiety gets bad, so it’s okay. It’s only a matter of time before I succumb to my mind and it’s desire to eat like a Pure-Being-Who-Eats-No-Animal-Flesh again so I will become Vegan-Anxious-Nadia-Seeking-to-Control-One-Aspect-of-her-Life soon enough. Probably when the the hectic madness of school picks up again. If I return to that job again. *shudder*.

*violent shudder* (2).gif

In other, more and less burrito-related news, my bean and cheese burrito was wrapped in a tortilla that was fried in butter. 

Did you not already feel a shiver down your spine at “fried in butter?

To people who like bifurcations, there are always two kinds of people in the world. In this instance, it’s people who want to barf when they think of butter-fried anything, and then people who feel an invitational spine-shiver when butter is even hinted at. I know these two people exist. I have oscillated between both extremes, never inhabiting the mean, live one or the other forever. I only ever tout extremes  – why be a gray-areas-exist- hippie-person about everything, especially in this case, about butter? Wanting to barf when you think about butter means you’ll probably lose seven pounds in five months, and worshipping the butter means you’ll be padded with warmth in the winter. Apparently people exist who have no opinions, or even worse, believe in moderation, about something like butter. They aren’t my friends of course, because clearly they aren’t sticks in the mud enough and don’t want to hang out at pretentious coffee shops. Plus, butter is in all edibles to have some opinion about – butter is the stealthy ninja in all baked masterpieces, demanding acknowledgment rather than attention, a subtle creamer in your cakes, your muffins, the doughnuts, chicken, soaked movie popcorn, cronuts, tarts, croissants, cookies… soaked movie popcorn! Butter will accept hatred if not love and affection, don’t you see? Simply wipe yourself on some burnt toast already and see how it must feel to be butter. Do whatever it takes to have an opinion. Stop being opinionless, or stay worthless.

Tangents, tangents… I started talking about butter because that tortilla was slathered in it. All of this blathering was just to communicate that it was absolutely delicious. That phrase “melt in your mouth” is not just a saying, but a reality. The combination of bean+ cheese + butter-fried-tortilla and finally le mouth– all of it together becomes an equivalent to heated ice cream in its capacity to fulfill yet leave you wanting more. And that was just the burrito. In addition to the burrito, I sank my fangsies into a crunchy ground beef taco, and my tastebuds met a similarly ecstatic fate.

What is not to like? Of course, it was the Mexi-Texan food cooked by authentique Latin Americans. The typically classy fast-food ambience was enhanced by the intimate company of Robert and his Madre, although I have no idea what we talked about besides the high quality greasiness of our awe inspiring food. Mostly, I attribute my happy food experience at Jimboy’s to their delicious food, and also how I could eat a number of food products free of anxiety. It is a blessing to be able to chew without terror-locks in my jaw. I can taste food, every bud against every molecule and particle of chewed up chunk yields flavor to me. Food no longer sits in my mouth along with the flavor that accompanies thoughts of the work I have to do or even worse, the bile of my  various mistakes that day. Thank yah, Jimboy’s – for reminding me of what I’m capable of tasting, and how I’m capable of living on vacation.

How to Eat Yourself Delirious Part I: Waffles

While still crusty eyed and barely awake in bed this morning, I rolled over onto my perceptibly awake husband.

“Robert?” I wondered aloud, bleary eyed and grotesque, as only a wife waking up at 10:45 AM can be. Robert, considerate and husbandly, put his phone away and peered over at his awakening beloved.

“Yes… Nadia?”.

“Robert, it’s awful! My nightmare last night was about school. I can’t decide whether to quit or not. The mental effort is killing me!”

“What? No, it’s not killing you. That pain is probably your stomach. Breakfast should be the solution.” He replied with his usual consolation. “What should we have?”

“WAFFLES!” I declared, throwing the blankets off of the bed.

“Waffles it is!” Roberto agreed.

So thus began our delirious, waffle making adventure — a means to ameliorate, and really distract from the horror of a premature nightmare manifesting. Of course, I will have to make my decision sooner or later. Until then, Robert and I set to work in the vast kitchen (his mother’s) on the task ahead: waffles from scratch.

Instructions from some Googled recipe were called upon. We laid out every ingredient artfully, along with every measuring cup and spoon. Like every artist who has mastered the basics, after setting out the foundations, seeing that we had the butter, the vanilla, the white flour, baking powder and milk, we decided that transcendence of form was necessary in the form of recipe substitutions, or these waffles would be just like any other. So instead of entirely butter, we halved the butter with apple jam, and instead of 100% whole milk, we (gasp) added heavy cream.

And boy, you bet we threw in a pinch of cinnamon for some extra spice. Wink. Wink.

The smell of sizzling waffles, and the cackle of Robert surreptitiously cooking some unholy Bacon filled the kitchen.

What a morning, one where I could begin to forget that I had nightmares at all. In a world full of pressing expectations, sanity is delirium. After  sipping coffee with this man, spreading butter on a waffle and staring out onto an endless grassy field,  there I was momentarily peaceful.