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Day 37

Salted caramel pretzel yoghurt

“People need to understand that whether sugar is white, brown, raw, high fructose corn syrup or fruit juice concentrate, it all metabolizes the same way in the body and its all bad news, very bad news.”

A Professor of Nutrition who I met today. He was 6ft 3, wore a white lab coat and underneath I could see his short shorts and bright white sneakers with factory fresh white socks. That is proving to be as popular a look here as diabetes.
Another huge day of travel. 600 miles across the country, passing at least 23 McDonalds, 15 Taco Bells and a very special stop at the ‘Yogurt Cafe’.
Breakfast was a rushed decaf latte with 2 sugars in the usual ceramic bucket and a ‘Peach and Yoghurt liquid breakfast drink. I wanted to taste the USA’s version of Up and Go and it didn’t disappoint, in fact it made the Up and Go taste like nectar from the gods. I wont recover from the ‘real chunks of peach’ mixed with processed yoghurt for a long long time.
The rush happened as I was off to meet with a Professor of Nutrition at the local University, and he was incredible. He has been crusading against the American Beverage industry for years and travels the world linking sweet drinks to obesity, diabetes, renal failure and fatty liver disease. He was dropping nuggets of golden wisdom all over the office and I had my jaw on the floor for most of the conversation ( a very weird thought if it was a euphemism).
I left there with the spirit fully charged and feeling very much validated in the film I am hoping to make. That only strengthened as I crossed the country and watched the level of sugar consumption that goes on here. I stopped at Starbucks for an Iced Chai Latte and banana bread ( 12 for the combo) then hit the highway with the local radio stations ramming slide guitar and cheesy love ballad lyrics deep into my cochlea.
I was feeling peckish and the back was numb so I took the exit 73 and found myself at the ‘Yogurt Cafe’. Now don’t be fooled, this isn’t a Yoplait or Ski run coffee shop, nor is it a yoghurt cafe you might find in Amsterdam where the delectable dairy comes with a green tinge. This is a wall of self serve dispensers with ‘yoghurt’ flavours like Salted Caramel Pretzel, and Birthday Cake. Then there are toppings like Apple Jacks, Froot Loops, Honey Granola (for a healthy option) or choc drops etc.. The lovely 16 year old girl behind the counter chirpily told me that it was healthy yoghurt and better for me than ice-cream. I did the math on my cup, it was an average size and had 389 grams of Birthday Salty Pretzel fusion. With toppings it got to 22 teaspoons of our little friend. I ate under a half of it and then vomited on the front lawn.
Its fair to say this was my darkest hour in the States so far. Not only did I feel horrendous and the jetlag was really doing its thing, but I vomited in front of a large bay window of ‘Moe’s’ restaurant, and a family of very well to do Christian types looked at me with an expression of utter contempt, strained forgiveness and faux compassion.
I really did hate the next 2 hours of my universe. I am not looking for sympathy here, I chose this and can stop at any moment, but the combination of weariness and richness of foods here collided in an ugly, distorted moment befitting the guitar solo that whined its way from my car radio.
I finally arrived to my hotel after 8 hours in the car and after a warm shower, my bum and lower back loved me again. I met some terrific locals at a restaurant here who made a delicious Hawaiian Chicken dish and a salad with tsunamic levels of low fat Ranch sauce on it (10 teaspoons combined). They had never met an Australian before, they may never again if they don’t ease up on the Ranch, but the Chicken was sensational and they were really sweet and thought I talked funny.
Now I sleep and tomorrow it goes to new level.
37 see ya laters and 40 more you agains.

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