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Psssst . . . Hey You, Wanna Try Some Phenethylamine?

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What’s a transgender escort, NYC police officer and a teacher all have in common? A bad joke? In a way, yes. Their candid stories, chalk full of all things crude and corrupt, made the January 2012 cover of New York magazine. Every detail reinforces that society sure seems to be going to Hell in a gasoline-soaked handbasket.

Therefore, during my routine physical follow up, I hardly flinched when my doctor started in with the same kind of shady nonsense. Acid, mushrooms, you name it. There were even utterances—although more hushed and therefore suspicious, than the ubiquitous Low Doctor Tone—of methyldopa and heme.

Iron, Man

Turns out my iron levels were a bit too low. That meth and dope talk wasn’t anything Lohan-esque, but rather about a blood pressure controlling drug whose absorption may be inhibited by iron. My doctor was on the up and up after all.

Acid? Also known to interfere with iron absorption (Phytic acid – found in beans).

Mushrooms? Make mine Shitake please. They’re apparently a great source of non-animal (non-heme) iron.

Who knew?

Armed with this news, I was on a mission to learn about all things iron. However, it wasn’t enough for me to simply know I should consume more oysters . . . I needed to know precisely what about oysters’ multisyllabic nutrients would up my iron levels. This need-to-know mindset was also prevalent (who am I kidding? It still is!) during my 70 pound weight loss five years ago, where I immersed myself in all things food/fitness/weight. Heck, if I could keep doughnuts at bay for this long, I sure could beat this iron thing.

An Ounce of Prevention . . . Makes me Laugh

While reading every Prevention magazine article and keeping my “Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal” book clenched Catholic Bible tight in my hands, a funny thing happened.

Food and nutrient names—not just iron related ones—started looking and sounding funny.

Their odd, often unpronounceable words appeared strange on the page and in no time, my imagination took over:

Garbanzo Beans, Hunter Thompson & Hollywood

Also known as chickpeas, the word, “Garbanzo” seems to exude a bit of craziness. The way I see it, to be “Garbanzo” about something is to approach it with wide-eyed passion, perhaps at times with an out of control energy.

Hunter Thompson and Garbanzo Journalism. Wheeeee. Beans, motorcycles, circus bears and toenail clippings.

The Muppets’ Animal probably ate them before playing the drums, full of sheer Garbanzoism.

In no time, the word could become a Hollywood catch phrase where celebs everywhere talk about the media “getting all Garbanzo” on their privacy.

Ultimately, the word is added to the Urban Dictionary and eventually regular, everyday folks even incorporate it in their daily life. Example: “Grandma sure went Garbanzo when she saw that Lawrence Welk episode.”

High on Phenethylamine

Phenethylamine is found in chocolate and plays a role in the scientifically proven high one experiences as sweet goodness melts on the tongue and seeps into veins. Hmmm.

Its aphrodisiac effects seem to convey more druggie needle mark than Valentine’s Day Hallmark.

Phenethylamine. Street name: PhenT.

I imagine a dark alley, the coat of a shadowy figure flashing open, fancy watches on one side, Phenethylamine packets on the other. “Psssttt, hey you . . . wanna try some Phenethylamine?”

Life ain’t like a box of chocolates in this part of town.

I’m outta here.

Lycopene & Your Limbs

Tomatoes’ beneficial antioxidant, Lycopene, is responsible for their bright red color.

Say it.


The word just sounds as if the doctor will one day declare, “you’ve got a pretty bad case of Lycopene of the leg. I’m sorry. Terribly sorry.”

I leave his office, saddened. While grocery shopping later that day, I can’t help but tear up as I pass shelves of V-8® juice.

Does Your Omega-3 Have a Sunroof?

In a nutshell, Omega-3 fatty acids are mainly found in plant and marine oils. They are powerful health-boosting acids that protect and help heal (primarily the heart).

Most people think of salmon and fish oil pills.

I think of other powerful things believed to impart a healing effect: cars and religion. Not necessarily together.

You know the car commercial: We see a lone car lit only by moonlight. Then we are treated to nano-second glimpses of a leather shifter, alloy tires and a sexy line design. Cut to the car speeding fast, trying to outrun the flickering pace of northern lights in the background. The heavenly lights of course are designed to convey the car’s untouchable beauty, an everchanging mystique with universal appeal. As the car abruptly halts, recovering from a dramatic half spin that kicks up glittery dust, the reveal is simple.

VO: The all new Omega-3.

Fade to Fancy Car logo.


As for the religious element, I am reminded of Revelation 22:13. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

Perhaps amping up my Omega-3 consumption will bring me peace, stave off temptation and even help me recycle better. Every fish oil pill I pop will bring me that much closer to humankind.

I may go for the gusto and seek the best of both worlds by suspending rosary beads from the rear view mirror of my shiny red Omega-3.

Who knows.

Until then, you can find me in the supplement aisle of the local CVS.

I’ll be the one reading from a crumbled up New York magazine article, trying to make sense of the nutrient mumbo jumbo I scrawled in the white spaces that rest somewhere between quotes about a voyeuristic doorman and my Garbanzo imagination.


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