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Back in March of 2000, Katie Couric had a colonoscopy in living color on network television. Ever since then it has been socially acceptable to talk about things like colons in places like this.
So, with a tip of the hat and a “thank you” to Katie I offer the following.
My doctor said I needed more fiber in my diet to keep my colon from doing things that fiber-challenged colons do. I don’t like it when my doctor talks like that so I didn't ask for the fiber-free details.
My doctor seems to be doing more of that kind of talk lately – telling me what to eat more of. I’m all for a good diet but I’m not about to alter my lifestyle and start doing anything intentionally ‘healthy,’ just to make my colon behave. I have my priorities.
To be specific my doctor said I should eat more raw vegetables and whole grains – all of which contain heaps of stringy stuff, or fiber. He said if I did that on a ‘regular’ basis my colon would work like a charm.
I’m not sure I want my colon humming-along in its “charm” mode, I just want it act right.
Over the years I never thought that much about my colon or what it was doing. We had this agreement that I wouldn’t bother it and it wouldn’t bother me. But since my doctor took the time to mention fiber and say I should be getting more of it, I thought I’d be on the lookout for textile-like foods and chow-down on fiber when I could.
A few days later I was in the grocery store picking up a few simple items, including a loaf of bread, which I hoped would include a dab of fiber for my colon. As I went up and down the bread aisle looking at all the shapes, sizes, colors and prices of the many brands of bread, I came across a loaf that made me laugh out loud – or lol as some say in emails.
Printed boldly on the bread bag were the words: "12 Grains Bread." Someone was having fun at my doctor’s expense and was satirizing his serious, fibrous medical advice. Twelve grains! It’s like someone baked a few bolts of cloth into bread. My colon would think I swallowed a tree-piece wool suit.
It’s like the bakers couldn’t decide what kind of bread to make so they threw in every grain on the planet.
I’ve since learned that in addition to twelve-grains bread you can also buy seven-grains bread.
There was a time when I would have been satisfied with seven-grains bread, but those times are now behind me. Why buy seven-grains when - for the same price – you can get five grains more? Who cares what grains we're talking about? Just more!
Then I became curious about what grains they were talking about. I tried to name 12 grains. I soon realized that I couldn’t think of twelve grains I’d like to see in a loaf of bread. I didn’t know there were twelve grains in existence and now I can buy loaves of bread with all those grains – and all to benefit my colon and me.
Standing there in the aisle of the supermarket I tried to rattle-off twelve grains.
There’s wheat, oats, corn, rye barley, rice. Six grains was the best I could do and these bread people managed to scrape up six more?
In case you’re wondering, the grains that made up this twelve-grain loaf were: wheat, oats, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, rye, barley, corn, millet, triticale, rice, flax and buckwheat.
How do twelve grains baked in a bread taste? I thought it was pretty good. And with all that stringy fiber I’m guessing my colon is tickled pink.
John McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who performs regularly throughout
New England. Contact John at or 899-1868.
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