The Chemical Group
These substances benefit the central nervous system, causing it to speed up, slow down, or cross the median strip and flip over. They include:
1. the Alcohol family
2. the Tobacco family
3. the Pharmaceutical family
Because the vitamins from this group are not stored in the body, daily consumption of one or more servings is recommended. Some pharmaceuticals (aspirin, Maalox, etc.) are useful in reducing the side effects of other members of the chemical group and permitting more frequent and thorough use of them.
Firearms and explosives are often associated with this group and are actually regulated by the same federal agency, but they are rarely consumed.
The Grease Group
This is the main part of a healthy diet. You should include five or more servings from this group in your daily intake. Examples include the three C’s of chips (also a good source of salt), chocolate, and cheese. Otherwise objectionable substances such as vegetables can be rendered harmless by dipping them in batter and deep-frying, converting them to healthful grease. Many ethnic favorites, such as Wisconsin-style cheese curds, are prepared according to this method, which enhances their nutritional value. There is considerable overlap with the sugar group, especially in baked goods. Pizza, cheeseburgers, and onion rings also contain good amounts of grease. Chocolate, in the form of chocolate candy, is the queen of all grease, participating as well in the sugar group. White chocolate, it must be conceded, is greasy and sugary. However, it is a pale imitation. It bears the same relationship to real chocolate as phone sex to sex.
The Sugar Group
Another foundation of a healthy lifestyle, sugar is prized by humans and quadrupeds (especially horses) alike, attesting to its natural beneficial properties. Although commonly derived from plants (sugar cane and sugar beets), it is processed to chemical purity as a disaccharide (C12 H22 O11) to the point that its vegetable origin is irrelevant. The sugar group can be usefully sub-categorized as candy (licorice, chocolate, mints, etc.), baked goods (donuts, brownies, Twinkies, Ding Dongs), frozen (ice cream, Milky Way bars), or condiment (hot fudge sauce, maple syrup, plain sugar). Quickly and easily digested, it is a primary source of nourishment.
The Salt Group
Aside from chips, which are properly considered members of the grease family, salt is present in many baked goods such as pretzels. Putting salt on the rim of a margarita glass is a pleasant way to get part of your daily alcohol, and there is not usually enough lime in the mix to be a problem. The nice thing about salt is that it can be sprinkled on nearly everything. Try adding a teaspoon of salt to your blob of ketchup when dipping your french fries.
The Caffeine Group
Although scientifically considered to be part of the chemical group, caffeine delivery systems form such an important part of a healthy lifestyle that they are afforded their own category. Foremost in this group is coffee, plain and simple, and all its derivative forms: lattes, espresso, cappuccino, pousse-cafe’, cafe’ au lait, Irish coffee, and so many more delights. Adding grease in the form of cream and sugar only improves it. The abomination of decaffeinated coffee should not be discussed in polite company. Soda (regional nomenclature varies; pop, tonic, and co-cola are known to be used) often includes generous portions of sugar as well as caffeine. Jolt Cola, the favorite of coders, is especially good, containing extra caffeine, sugar, carbonated water, and mysterious “flavors.” Tea, and its chai derivations, is a junior member of this group. It is sometimes favored by interesting women but is otherwise unremarkable.
[Originally posted in 2004.]