When you think of evil body parts the tongue probably doesn’t come to mind, but it should be at the top of the list. And not just because of things people say to hurt other people, or to mobilize people for selfish reasons. Rather, the tongue is evil because of taste buds. That’s right, I said taste buds. Settle down, Joey Ravioli, and imagine for a moment what life would be like without taste buds. You wouldn’t crave ice cream. Or soda. Or potato chips. Basically all the stuff that tastes good, but that is bad for your body. Your body rejects this kind of sustenance and is in a constant state of war every time you consume it. If you had no taste buds, you’d consume only that which helps your body perform at its best. Good foods. Healthy foods. Foods that keep you from becoming obese. Obesity is the result of consuming too much food. Every year in the United States the medical care costs of obesity exceed 150 billion dollars. Take away taste buds, and I’m guessing that this number goes down.

I get it, you like cheese fries and chocolate cake. Who doesn’t? And foodies will no doubt scoff at this idea – but if we had only four senses, we’d be better off. Look, I’m no foodie. I don’t even like to cook. And I couldn’t tell you the best dinner I’ve ever eaten (probably a steak that I cooked.) But I do like cookies and cakes and an occasional ice cold Coke. It’s just that my body doesn’t need this stuff. I consume it only because of how it tastes. And so my body rejects it and that rejection shows up in the form of fat deposits in places that make me look ridiculous.

I’m 5′ 11″ and 185 pounds. Next week I start a food adventure where I’m giving up carbs and going on a protein, fruit and vegetable diet as a way to drop about 10 pounds of loose fat that has appeared as the result of quitting smoking a few months ago. I’ve never been on a diet to lose weight in my life, so I consulted with a couple of friends who gave me some advice. My wife (who feeds me) has also done extensive research. It’s going to be an interesting few weeks and I wonder how I’ll react – especially considering that my regular diet isn’t all that terrible. I like bread. And desserts. And all sorts of things that come from beautifully branded foil bags. But it’s time to change. My body is tired of fighting. It craves consistent quality sustenance.

So far, 2012 is shaping up to be the year of listening to my body and making the changes in behavior necessary to accommodate it. It is said that the body is a temple, but I like to think of it more as a vehicle that gets me through life. When the vehicle is not running properly, it breaks down. And after years of driving, it tends to break down quicker.

I don’t expect this diet to last forever. In fact, I’m looking at this experiment to last a few weeks and, hopefully, I’ll see some quick results. Then I’ll go back to eating what I like, just in crazy moderation. And yes, I’m augmenting this diet with exercise. But none of this would be necessary if I wasn’t born with an extra sense. An insidious sense on an evil body part. Thankfully, years of smoking has dulled this sense, and so it doesn’t have nearly the effect on me as it does on you.


Jim Mitchem

The Device's Hold

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.