Thursday, September 18, 2008

Trekking for Iron

Last night was a fireside in our stake for the youth who went on the Handcart Trek during the summer. It began at 6:30 and ended at 9:00 or so. Included was a 45 minute Photostory 3 presentation made from 3000 pictures and videos taken during the three days we walked the dusty byways west of Utah Lake (I am not kidding; 3000+++++++++). I liked the scenes that I was in, for the most part. I did not recognize hardly any of the faces in the presentation. It is not that I am not social, it just that most of the time I was the last person in the line of 200 people strung out along the trail. I can recognize the backs of their heads anywhere.

My mantra on the Trek became "I'm the last dog into the kennel, the last bee into the hive, and the last cricket out of the seagull". I endeared myself to all. We all ate well on that trip; I gained twelve pounds in three days, almost all of it in iron. Inasmuch as one can lose iron from fingernail clippings, hair, and skin, I managed to hold excessive weight gain at bay. I lost considerable iron out of my feet, as the blisters came and went, and as my bronzing technique utterly failed into the first stages of leprosy. I had a few broken nails while pushing handcarts and setting up tents, and there were the hurricane winds that whipped my feathery-soft hair from off my head into the Great American Desert. It is hard to measure iron loss in this fashion; that is, with body parts just falling off into the blue, or brown, or green, or some sort of natural pastel.

After the video presentation there were the obligatory sentimental expressions about how wonderful the whole thing was. Being three months after the fact gives a sort of mystical glow to all of the whining, pain, and filth that we all had to endure at the time. I thought the experience educational. I learned for myself, first hand, that I am getting a little too old for this sort of thing. As I said earlier, I am not certain how much iron I lost on the trail, but my guess is that it is easier to go to the Infusion Center once a month in order to get the desired medical effect, notwithstanding the feral smiles and the eager eyes.

When I arrived home from the fireside, I finished watching "Warning From Space" a Japanese movie about giant star-fish who come to earth to warn us about Planet R, a fiery body on a collision course with our planet (a rot of iron ross, I terr you). I also watched the outtakes from the Trek DVD (How can you have out-takes in a documentary?) I also watched a special feature called "Bandits" with which I had something to do. The "Bandit Dancers" were a mostly anonymous group (wearing bandannas you see) who preferred swaying to the square-dance music rather than enticing iron-loss through the soles of their feet on the dusty dance floor.

After preparing for sleep, I went into my den to turn off the lights and the computer. But what to my wondering eyes should appear, but two bags of candy that Trillium had bought for me at Wal-Mart: a bag of Riesens (chewy chocolate caramel covered in rich European chocolate) and a bag of snack size Almond Joys. Yippy! Skippy!

(Now just a little aside regarding motive and technique in blog writing, from my point of view. All I really wanted to talk about was the candy, but I did not want anyone to think that I am obsessed with candy of any kind. I thought that if I led everyone into the wilds of central Utah for a paragraph or two, and then discuss my somnolent reaction to the products of that experience, that discussing the merits of chocolate would seem normal, perhaps even understandable. Now that I am at this point, I think that the methodology is somewhat flawed. Live and learn.)

I used to look at the pricing labels on products that I was prepared to buy (Ooooo! Ten pounds of hot dogs for a dollar! Ooooo! Ten pounds of margarine for a dollar!) I then began to look at the ingredients (Yeow! Beef lips and pork snouts! Yeow! Hydrogenated lard!) As I grew older and stouter, I began to look at the total calories in the item as compared with the fat from calories. Some were somewhat reasonable (Hmmmmm..... one serving 200 calories; calories from fat 12. Goody! Ten pounds of broccoli for a dollar!) Some, Trillium confided in me, are a little suspect (Hmmmmm.... one serving 200 calories; calories from fat 6,089,867. Yes, but everyone needs to have ten pounds of Polish sausage on hand for emergencies!) Now, as of the past couple of months, iron has risen into my culinary consciousness.

Do you know that Riesens, the finest manufactured chocolate on the planet, has iron in it? It does; seven percent of the daily requirement according to the FDA. You have to eat four pieces of candy to get that, however. The added benefit is that you also take in 170 calories, only 50 of them from fat These calories can be used to propel yourself that last half-mile into camp on iron depleted feet. Your mouth feels so good that you have no energy left to think about what your blisters are saying to you.

On the other hand, snack sized Almond Joys have absolutely no iron whatsoever, nor does it have vitamins A or C, and has no calcium at all. One bar (a serving) has 80 calories, forty of them from fat. The down side is that you have to eat 9 of them to get any satisfaction at all. The up side is that you have to eat 9 of them to get any satisfaction at all.

So what? Well I don't know, except to say that I am reading more than I have in the past. Sometimes I feel informed; sometimes I feel deformed. Most of the time I wish that stuff that really tasted good, actually had some nutritional value. I am discovering that when Trillium's hands have touched what I eat, however, nothing seems to matter. Her company is more important and tastes better and is better for me.


Anonymous said...

LOL! It's true...I think that M&Ms also have 6 million calories from fat with a 200 calorie serving...sigh...but how I love them so!

Trillium said...

"(a rot of iron ross, I terr you)."

--this took me a minute to process--I wondered if you had some typos in there, but finally it dawned on me that you were typing with a "Japanese accent" -- Har-dee-har-har

But here is a factoid about the iron in chocolate: the chocolate binds to the iron so that it cannot be absorbed by the body. So you should eat lots of chocolate! That is the real purpose of those cute little chocolate-covered dinner mints--to zap the iron in the steak you just ate. :D

DebbieLou said...

I hope I never get enimic then!

Davola said...

Hey, I was thinking. Why don't you wear those magnetic bracelets. Wouldn't that extract some of your excess iron?

Olive Oil said...

Just wanted you to know that your blog comes in my email as I've subscribed to the 'hemochomatosis' news feed from google news. Yes, I'm interloping on your family fun fest here!

Great kids, hilarious blog, good music and simple info that I don't have to get a degree in science to understand.

No music from 'Nine Inch Nails'?

~Linda Mac

Zaphod said...

Olive Oil: No "Nine Inch Nails". Too much iron.