Is it all just a genetic crapshoot?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I love Mr. Jelly Belly more than life itself. Truly, I do. But that sonofabitch is really getting on my last nerve.

As I have mentioned before, Mr. Jelly Belly is my dietary cross to bear. He only eats two vegetables – peas and corn – and the peas must come from a can. He hates ALL fruit (except applesauce). He will only eat white bread and turns his nose up at any whole grain that isn’t brown rice.

Red meat is a daily staple and he refuses to try a ground turkey alternative. He thinks Hamburger Helper is one of the greatest food products on the market. He drinks approximately four liters of Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi every single day and finds water too dull to bother with.

Every morning he drinks a Slim Fast and eats a Nutri-Grain bar; he just can’t get enough refined sugar. If we go out for breakfast, he orders the “Hungry Man Special” – three eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage AND ham. And white toast, of course. Cholesterol? Pfffft.

He laughs in the face of sodium and snacks on Taco-flavored Doritos or barbecue potato chips. Every night. Fast food is his friend.

But none of that is why he’s torquing me off; I’ve come to terms with all that. What’s getting to me is what happened when he participated in a health fair at work last week.

His employer, together with their insurance company, offered free health screening for their employees. They checked BMI, percent of body fat, cholesterol, sugar, blood pressure – all of the usual things.

First of all, he was measured at 6’ tall and weighed in at 230 pounds. Okay, overweight, and his BMI was 31, or “borderline obese”. I hate those BMI classifications. He’s not borderline obese - he’s a very solid 230. No jelly in that beer belly. Which brings me to his percent of body fat: 14. Yes, that’s right - 14% body fat. WTF? According to the provided charts, that is considered “very good” for a young man of 19. Mr. Jelly Belly is 49. I asked him if he was sure their testing instruments were calibrated properly. Acting insulted, he assured me they were.

Overall cholesterol was 173 (where anything under 200 is considered optimum). Bad cholesterol versus good cholesterol? Perfect. Blood glucose levels? Right on the money. Blood pressure? Nothing boiling there.

At this point, I accused him of having someone else’s test results. This got me a rather loud snort and some rude, pompous comments about who might be the better eater in our family.

This really got me to wondering if it’s all just a big old genetic crapshoot. If what we eat or don’t eat really makes that much difference to our health. For our weight, yes, of course it does. And for people who already have a known issue like diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure – then, yes, absolutely, diet will make a big difference to your overall health.

But for the average person, will eating “right” actually prevent you from ending up with heart disease or diabetes if you are somehow genetically vulnerable to getting them? And what if your personal genetics are such that you will NEVER develop those things – then should you even bother with a healthy diet?

Unfortunately, we don’t really have any way of accurately knowing where our genes are going to take us. We can look at family history, sure, but even that doesn’t necessarily give you the whole story. Mr. Jelly Belly’s family is loaded with early-onset heart problems, so you would think that would be an issue for him, as well. But, no; he faithfully keeps his annual physical appointments to make sure there is nothing amiss and so far, so good.

Is he just dodging a future bullet – or is he genetically programmed to not ever develop diet-related health issues?

I guess I’m not personally willing to roll the dice on that one. I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing and hope for the best - and pray Mr. Jelly Belly is bullet-proof.

It amuses Mr. Jelly Belly to no end to see how this irritates me. He has graciously offered to give his dieting advice to those of you who might be in need of his expertise and has asked me to share his favorite tip: When making a bacon sandwich, fry one pound of bacon and split it between two sandwiches. On Wonder bread, not toasted. Add a generous amount of Miracle Whip. Not mayonnaise. Miracle Whip is the key to a good diet.

And there you have it. Diet tips from Superman.


pam said...

This is a tough one. When you try so hard, and others around you can just slide by.

Hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend:)

Housewife Savant said...

Perhaps Mr's healthy because he gets to live with you/your good nature/your awesome wit.

Maybe he could do a guest post. (Minus recipes.)
That bacon sandwich went All Wrong at the bread. Don't even Get Me Started on Miracle Whip.

Midwest Mommy said...

I must say I was impressed it was at least 4 liters of DIET wild cherry, lol! Good for him. Does he have a very active job where he is constantly on the move?

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

No, he's an accountant for pete's sake! But I should have mentioned that, despite his eating habits, he is loaded with energy. He's not really a couch potato. Must be the sugar. :)

Bernadette said...

I hate genetics sometimes!

T & my story is a bit different...although we're both vegan, he eats TONS of rice and lentils, and I'm more of a smoothie & salad kind of girl. Thanks to his genes, he has nice slender legs/arms, but tends to gain a bit around the middle, no matter what he eats.

However, if he runs for like a week, he's instantly in great shape again. I, on the other hand, have to spend hours at the gym for weeks to see any difference! It's so frustrating, because I only have a few lbs to loose (okay, and some toning), but it takes For-EV-er, and he can loose 10lbs by jogging around the block a few times! ARGH!

"I’ll keep on doing what I’m doing and hope for the best - and pray Mr. Jelly Belly is bullet-proof."

That's a pretty good plan to keep yourself sane (and in shape), but you might want to slip some veggies into Mr. Jelly Belly's diet, just in case!

Stesha said...

Men! That sounds exactly like my hubby. I don't even think he knows what a glass of water taste like. To him it might be Coke flavored;)

Hugs and Mocha,

MoodyMommy said...

I look at food and gain weight!! My hubby can eat triple gooey cheeseburgers and want another 2 hours later!!
Makes me mad!!

Oz Girl said...

Ugh, I detest Miracle Whip, real mayo for me, thank you. But I have to buy MW for the hubster.

I'm amazed at your hubby's overall good health, but you know, sometimes you read the stories about someone in their 90s who's never avoided the sun, never ate right, and probably smoked and drank wine everyday, and they are the picture of health. My gramma, at 92, is one of those people (except she's never smoked). She was sun goddess most of her life, and no SKIN CANCER at all. Unreal. She still lives in her house, by herself, no help. She eats candy and junk food ALL THE TIME.

Sigh. BTW, that bacon sandwich looks really, really, really good.....

Sheryl said...

Now I know what I'm doing wrong, I like mayo and not mircle whip. Those husbands anyway, mine is like that. Gee I look at a piece of cake or a bag of chips and I put on 5 pounds.

kristisummer said...

Very frustrating My husband is the same exact way and all of his numbers are perfect and not to mention he is thin too. 6'1 and 173lbs. I am happy is fine..but come on. Life is not fair!

Camevil said...

My hubs, the Great Underminer, read this blog, pointed at me and did the whole "nyah nyah nyah" schtick with me. These guys need to suck it.

I am Harriet said...

Wow. Men and their 'diets'.

Stopping but from SITS!

Brandy said...

Yeah I can see why that would perturb anyone. I hate those skinny girls that say "oh I can eat anything, and I don't exercise". Bitches I say. Bitches.

~sorry for the use of profanity in your comment section but it IS necessary when talking about that select group of people that I loathe~

I'm headed out to buy some Crisco AND Miracle Whip today. Maybe the combination will make me a supermodel. LOL!

Sturgmom said...

Girl, I hear you. My DH is actually a little overweight and carries it right aroud his middle which supposedly says "heart attack coming before 40." But his blood pressure and cholesterol? Fine. I keep thinking his dr. will gripe him out and set his rear in motion, but NOPE! Never says a word.

Grand Pooba said...

Don't get me started about how unfair it is to be a girl. Me and the hubster go on a diet, he looses a million pounds in a month and I lose one.


Never checked his stats though, guess I don't want to now!

Alex the Girl said...

He irks me too! My husband is the same. He can drink tons of coke everyday and never top 140 on the scale.

Michelle said...

Great post!! It really gets me thinking. My husband struggles with his weight, while I don't so much....although I have noticed that I'm not in my 20's anymore! It takes a little more effort.

My question is...does all this healthy living/eating really make us healthier? I look at the staggering jump in childrens food allergies/illness and I wonder if this is diet related. Are we obsessing a little too much?? I'm a firm believer in the food pyamid and an active lifestyle. But, are chemically processed fats that claim to be better for you really better for you??

Hmmm.....great post!

Midlife mommy said...

We all have our crosses to bear (smile). I think that it will sneak up on him gradually, unfortunately. And then you will have the last laugh. It's a good thing that he keeps up with his annual physical.

WhisperingWriter said...

Erm. Is it bad that when we go out that I order the Hungry Man Special? Well, I guess Hungray Woman Special in my case.

And I love wild cherry pepsi. I'm currently drinking one now.

I really need to watch what I eat. But I just LOVE meat. And chocolate. Mmmm.

Cyndi said...

Hilarious and infuriating. :) I do think that a lot of it is genetics, which must also explain why my son, who has the sloppiest dental hygiene ever, also has the healthiest teeth. Life is so unfair.

Ooh Baby! said...

I'm glad you love Mr. Jelly Belly, otherwise you might have to dispatch him with a shovel! Thanks for visiting my blog. Come back if you get a hankerin, I've posted a sale on my stuff.

Michelle said...

I have one word for Mr. JB - Phhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! :P DH is the same way. And it just pisses me off something fierce.

Brittany said...

I agree that most of the food Mr. JB eats is gross; however, (and unfortunately) I love bacon!

It is late... I am hungry, and the picture of that darn greasy, bacon sandwich has me salivating!
Mmmm.... Bacon....

I will avoid the fridge. I will avoid the fridge. I will avoid the fridge.
I. Will. Avoid. The. Fridge. Ugh!

* Oh yeah, I'm stopping by from SITS! I totally lost my train of thought! :)

MaryRC said...

genetics for sure. i used to have a very similar diet and it caught up to me only a few years ago, oh what a sad day and what horrible eating habits to break. dont blame you for the annoyance, he sounds like one happy super sizer...