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A provocative light on veganism, diet and health
The most profound and original health book you'll ever read!Share Tweet LinkedIn Embed pszr.co/Snkor 55 views
|Auckland, New Zealand|
|3 publishers interested|
The Quick and Brutal Guide to Health and Wellbeing is a compelling allegory, a fiction which shines a provocative light on our diet and health. Prepare to be shocked and alarmed by how our perceptions of a healthy body and mind are manipulated by those with a vested interest. The enigmatic Moses—of The Quick and Brutal Guide to Earth and Earthlings—is back, hoping for some quiet time away from it all, a chance to detox and increase the diversity of his microbiome. He comes across an increasingly desperate group who have become hopelessly lost while trekking in the woods. What’s worse is that someone—or something—is following them through the forest . . . and then one of the group vanishes. As Moses leads them through the deep-forest, they discuss and dissect the subjects of diet, health and wellbeing. Along the way, they discover how to really eat and live healthier. Their sometimes scandalous, always honest, observations will make you think twice next time you visit your favorite restaurant or supermarket. This unique and riveting fable may surprise you, but the brutal truth about what you thought was healthy will shock you to your core.
1. Thou Shalt Understand the Basics
2. Thou Shalt Repel the Bullshit
3. Thou Shalt Realize Who the Target Is
4. Thou Shalt Boo the Bood and the Bastards
5. Thou Shalt Understand the Impact
6. Thou Shalt Eventually Need to Choose Whom You Trust
7. Thou Shalt Embrace a Genuinely Healthy Plant-Based Diet
8. Thou Shalt Detox Thyself
9. Thou Shalt Exercise Thy Body and Mind
10. Thou Shalt Appreciate Control
Those who are interested in health, diet and the environment. If you enjoy original pieces with a little bit of a thriller, then you'll love this work.
moses.guru is the creator of the Quick and Brutal Guide book series. Health and Wellness is the second piece in the series.
Negligible email list, less than 100 Facebook fans, some following on Goodreads.
I'm assuming there might be a book that hides somewhere in the depth this world that combines matters of health and diet within a "psychological thriller" where characters write poetry, are philosophical about things and the reviewers say the work is "profound and original", but neither of them, nor I, have seen or heard anything like it, to-date. I'm sorry.
My goodness, Susan Green—Greeny to her friends—thought. Can I really stand two nights in the wilderness with this guy?
In the back, Buzz said sullenly, “I’m just hungry, is all. I missed breakfast. It’s not good for my metabolism.” He absently stared out the window at the scenery as it rushed by.
The highway stretched away ahead of them. The forest was already starting to encroach upon it and they had miles to go yet. Above, the morning sky was a soft blue, and the temperature was a pleasant seventy-two degrees, according to the SUV’s display.
“Listen,” Ginger said from the passenger seat. “Can you just give it a rest with the food, already?” She shook her head, and her coppery hair shimmered in the daylight.
“Buzz,” Greeny said. “What do you know about metabolism, for God’s sake. You’re a psychologist, not a dietician.”
“I know what my body tells me,” Buzz said. He patted his small paunch with a self-satisfied smile. “I know the psychology of my metabolism. And right now, it’s telling me it’s empty.”
Ginger glanced at Greeny from the corner of her eye, but she didn’t say anything. Maybe this had been a bad idea, Greeny thought. The weekend away could be a replay of an old trip they’d made twenty years ago, just before she had left for college. Inviting Buzz had been her idea, prompted by Ginger’s constant moaning about being single too long and wanting to find a man who could make her laugh. Buzz made Greeny laugh all the time at the clinic where they both worked. But he wasn’t making her laugh this morning. He was getting on her nerves.
She didn’t say that, though. Instead, she announced, “Well, you can grab something soon enough. There’s a rest stop five or six miles ahead.”
“Greeny,” Ginger said, “I thought we’d agreed to get to the trail by eight.”
“It’s only quarter after seven,” Buzz said, then groaned. “Jeez. Quarter after seven. On a Saturday. It’s practically the middle of the night.”
Greeny glanced at him in the rear-view mirror. He was handsome, if carrying a little extra weight. But his hair was jet-black, and he had a great smile. His name was actually Deepak Chowdry, and how he’d come by the nickname Buzz, she had no idea. Maybe it was best that she didn’t know.
Ginger had been less than impressed by Greeny’s decision to invite him, but there was always hope. She’d figured that Ginger’s fiery and feisty nature would dovetail nicely with Buzz’s laid-back attitude. It wasn’t quite working out like that, but it was still early.
That’s the trouble with us doctors, she thought. We think we know it all.
“I see it!” Buzz shouted from behind her.
Up ahead, there was an area to the right of the highway, a clearing cut into the forest. There were a couple of low, squat buildings, all glass and prefabricated metal, and two ubiquitous yellow arches atop a high pole.
“Thank the gods,” he cried. “Finally, I can get some breakfast.”
“If you consider that shit edible,” Ginger rolled her eyes and gave Greeny a pointed look.
“Just ten minutes,” Greeny said. “I want to get some water anyway.”
“Whatever,” Ginger scoffed.
They pulled into the rest stop. There was one other car in the lot, and a truck parked behind the gas station. There was a little supermarket, a coffee shop and the burger place.
“Wow,” Ginger said as they drew to a halt. “They’ve got all the good stuff here.”
Buzz didn’t seem perturbed. He opened his door as soon as the car stopped and climbed out, stretching his back and rubbing his neck.
Ginger turned and stared at Greeny. “What were you thinking?” she said quietly. “I mean . . . what?”
“Give him a chance,” Greeny said. “He’s a good guy. Really. And he’s funny.”
“Yeah, funny like a boil on the ass.”
“I guess he doesn’t do stuff like this very often,” Greeny said, and climbed out of the car.
Outside, it was warm and Greeny could hear the sounds of lively bird calls in the forest. The highway was deserted behind them, she took a deep breath, held it for a while, and had an enormous sense of peace and well-being. Whatever became of Ginger and Buzz, this trip was a good idea. It was good for her to get away, from the stresses of her job, and her life. Especially her life.
Buzz was heading towards the supermarket. “Food,” he roared in a horror-movie zombie voice. “Delicious food.” He shambled forwards, arms outstretched, eyes glazed.
Ginger got out of the car. “There’s something wrong with him,” she said.
Greeny smiled and pressed the lock button on the key fob. The car chirruped, like one of the unseen birds in the forest. They followed Buzz and the supermarket doors slid smoothly open as they approached.
Inside, it was cool and too bright. The fluorescent lights buzzed and there was a tinny radio playing some kind of shitkicking country music at the counter where the cashier—a pale, bone-thin young man with straggly black hair—stood, staring at his phone.
“So much food and so little digestive tract,” Buzz said and wandered down the chiller aisle. He stared into a cabinet full of processed meat in shiny plastic packets. “Maybe I should get a burger from next door. And some fries. Or two burgers. And a shake.”
“Look at this crap,” Ginger said and peered at the contents of the chiller cabinet. She plucked a brightly-printed packet out and held it up. “A microwavable hot dog? In a bun? Really?”
“Hey, I like those,” Buzz said.
Greeny smiled. “Nobody knows what’s in it.”
“I don’t want to know,” Ginger said. She scrutinized the ingredients list. “Methyl-p-hydroxybenzoate? Who even know what that is?”
“Delicious, is what it is,” Buzz said.
Greeny said, “It’s a preservative. Not a very nice one. It can cause allergic skin reactions.”
“Yeah, well,” Buzz said. “I’m not going to rub it on my skin. I’m going to put it in my esophagus.”
“And mechanically-recovered chicken?” Ginger said.
“Give that to me,” Buzz said. He took the package from her and turned towards the cash desk. Then he stopped, looked at the hot dog again, and put it back in the cabinet.
Ginger looked at Greeny, smiled and winked.
“Okay, smart guys,” he said. “What do you recommend?”
“In here?” Greeny said. “Not much. At least eighty-percent of the stuff in here’s bad for you.”
Buzz stared at her, then chuckled, “No, that can’t be right.” He pointed to a small display of fresh fruit at the end of the aisle. “What about this stuff. Everybody knows fruit’s good for you. Even me.”
Greeny followed him to the stand and picked up an apple from a haphazardly-arranged pyramid. They were all bright red and impossibly shiny, like fruit from a fairy-tale. She held the apple up and said, “This apple isn’t natural. It doesn’t look like this when it comes off the tree.” She turned it slowly in her hand and the store’s lights reflected brightly from it. “It’s all dusty and dull and coated in yeast when it’s picked. So they wash it, then spray it with wax. Or dip it into a big vat. Either way, you end up with a whole lot of chemicals in you. But as long as they look pretty and it extends their shelf life, wax ‘em up.”
“You can wax me up anytime, Greeny,” Buzz said, leering with fake lechery.
“Not if it’ll extend your shelf life,” she said, and put the apple back.
“Harsh,” he said. “Very harsh.”
“But fair. I think I’ll just get some water.”
“Me too,” Ginger said.
Buzz looked around the store. “So, you reckon eighty percent of this stuff is unhealthy?”
“At least,” Greeny said.
“So much bad food.” He shook his head. “Or maybe that should be bood.”
“What?” Ginger said, narrowing her eyes.
“Bood,” he said. “Bad food. Boo!”
“He does this a lot,” Greeny said, smiling ruefully. “English isn’t his first language. He makes his own words up.”
“Huh,” Ginger said, but there was a half-smile on her lips. “Crazy. What is your native language?”
“Ancient Sanskrit,” he said, and when she frowned at him, he said, “Just kidding. It’s Hindi. But I’ve been living here nearly twenty years, since I was ten. And speaking English since I was five.”
“And yet you still make your own words up,” Greeny said, and plucked a bottle of water from another chiller cabinet.
“I think it’s kind of clever,” Ginger said. “Wordplay. Especially in a second language.”
Aha, Greeny thought, and smiled to herself.
“But I can see you’re not a health expert,” Ginger said to Buzz. “So, let me go through the basics with you. Why don’t we have a ‘bood tour’?”
“Sure,” Buzz said. “I’m always happy to learn something.”
Greeny peered at him, but she couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic or not.
“Okay,” Ginger said. “Well, we’ve looked at the wax on the apples and the methyl-bendy-whatever. What next? How about this?”
She plucked a loaf of white bread from the shelf beside her. It was wrapped in a brightly-printed plastic package, and Greeny could see a Use-By date on it, at least two weeks in the future. The Staff of Life the label proclaimed, with a stylized ear of corn behind the text.
“Let’s see what’s in this staple, eh?” Ginger said and turned the package over to read the list of ingredients.
“Wheat flour,” she said. “Well, that’s not healthy, but it won’t kill you straight away. What else? Water. Yeast. Okay.” She squinted at the label. “Uh oh. Emulsifiers. Mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids. Hm. Not so good. Preservatives. Calcium propionate. Not good at all. Salt. Ascorbic acid. Sugar. Bad. Very bad.” She looked up at Buzz. “‘Bood’, you might say.”
“All that in a simple loaf?” Buzz said, wide-eyed. “Some of it doesn’t even sound like food.”
“You got it. And that’s not even all. It doesn’t even mention the bleach they used to make the flour white.”
“Bleach?” Buzz said. “Actual bleach?”
She put the loaf back and moved along the shelf. “What do you like for breakfast?”
“Breakfast? Hah! Breakfast’s for wimps!”
“Come on,” Greeny said. “Be serious, for once in your life.”
Buzz nodded. “Sorry, ma’am.” He looked at Ginger. “I don’t usually have breakfast. I’m too disorganized.”
“That’s real unhealthy,” Ginger said.
“Yeah, I know. But when I do manage, I’ve got a sweet tooth. I like those cornflake things with the frosting on them.”
“These, you mean?” Ginger said and pulled a garish box from the shelf. A cartoon lion leered over a photograph of a bowl full of sparkling cereal.
Ginger examined the ingredients. “I guess you do have a sweet tooth,” she said. “Do you know how much sugar is in this?”
Buzz shook his head.
“Thirty-five percent. By weight.”
Buzz shook his head. “No,” he said. “That can’t be right.”
Ginger turned the box around and showed him the panel printed on the back. “That’s thirty-five grams of sugar per hundred grams of cereal. Seven or eight spoonfuls of sugar.”
“And, as we now know, sugar is carcinogenic. And, in case you didn’t know, it’s a neurotoxin as well.”
“I had no idea,” Buzz replied, feeling stunned.
“Almost everything in this store is packed with sugar,” Ginger said. She put the cereal back and moved along the shelf. “And what about this?”
She grabbed a can of chilli from the shelf. “Well, what do you know?” she said, reading the label. “Sugar. Salt. Ammonium hydroxide. Hm. That sounds tasty. And look: a whole list of ‘E’ numbers.”
“It’s crazy,” Buzz said. “More people should know about this.”
“Yep,” Greeny said. “And don’t forget some of these cans have a white lining inside. It’s supposed to prevent discoloration, but it contains something called Bisphenol A, which is also used to make epoxy resins. It’s another carcinogen. And it’s been linked to triggering early puberty in girls.”
Buzz turned away. “How about we get some nice juicy steaks, then,” Buzz said. “I can throw it on a fire later, char it to a turn. We can’t go wrong with that.”
Ginger looked at him, eyes and hair blazing. “You’re joking, right?”
“We don’t eat animals,” she said and looked at Greeny. “It’s inhumane. And unhealthy.”
“Unhealthy?” Buzz said. “It’s natural, isn’t it? And even vegans can get cancer, can’t they?”
“If they eat oil-soaked fries and charcoal-black grilled asparagus covered in MSG, they can,” Greeny said. “And many vegans eat lots of sugary foods, and that’s just as bad.”
Ginger nodded. “Yeah. Burnt food equals cancer. So does too much sugar.”
“It’s just carbon,” Buzz said. “We’re made of carbon, for God’s sake!”
“It’s not the carbon that’s the problem,” Greeny said. “It’s the chemical in the food that makes it go black when it’s burnt. It’s called acrylamide, and it’s long been known to cause cancer. The darker in color the cooked food, the more acrylamide there is in it. By the time it’s black, the levels are sky-high.” She shrugged. “It’s real science, Buzz.”
“Jeez,” he said. “I’m depressed now. I need a coffee. An extra-tall latte.”
Ginger grinned at him. “Did I forget to mention that some influential health-industry figures say that animal milk is probably one of the worst culprits of all?”
“No,” Buzz said, shaking his head. “Please no. In the sacred names of the pantheon of Hindu deities, please don’t take away my coffee!”
Ginger shrugged. “The milk’s protein—called casein—is probably the most carcinogenic of all animal products. Even the paleo guy said it, and I disagree with him about a lot of stuff. There are other, vegan milks, that have similar, or higher, levels of calcium without the nasty side effects.”
“I feel like crying,” Buzz said.
“Well, you can choose your approach,” Greeny said. “Be ignorant and eat this stuff, probably be sick more often than not, maybe get cancer and drop dead in your early forties. Or you can be aware of what you put in your body, and maybe have a better quality of life. Here’s another way to think about it: the ignorant are much, much easier to control. And I know what my choice is: I choose to know. I choose to be careful and not let someone else control me for their own ends and profits. Some say we only live once; I say, if that’s the case, I don’t want to be a sheep while I’m doing it. I have the right to control my own life and what I put in my mouth.”
There was a long moment of silence, then Buzz gazed at her and nodded. “Maybe I’ll just have some water too,” he sighed.
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