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Genius Guide to Jazz

The Jazz Diet

By Published: February 1, 2005
But is the Jazz Diet for me, you ask, or does it only work for the erudite, the cultural elite? Do I have to be a latte-swilling liberal arts grad to reap the benefits of this plan? Not at all, Paco. The Jazz Diet is, like jazz itself, for everyone from hillbillies to housewives to hermits (well, hip hermits. Happenin' hermits). The plan embraces the entire purview of American cuisine, from sports-bar chicken wings to four-star restaurant grilled Chilean sea bass with mango salsa and then back to the chicken wings because man do I likes me them wings.

Which brings us to the first tenant of the Jazz Diet; namely, what you can and cannot eat. Unlike Weight Watchers, which has a complex system of points and nonsensical limitations like "don't drink more than a gallon of beer in a single sitting" and "use fat-free bleu cheese dressing when eating your own weight in Buffalo wings," the menu choices are virtually unlimited. The rule is simple: Only eat cool foods.

This doesn't mean you can't eat heated food, not at all. It means you can't eat food that isn't hip, or that places you in a position that could be construed as uncool. For instance, the Jazz Diet would include the Wendy's Triple, but not the Burger King Whopper. Why? Because no self-respecting adult can walk up to a fast food counter and say the word "whopper" without looking like a dink. Likewise, Denny's Moons Over My Hammy® and IHOP's Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity®. Forget about Ho-Ho's and Ding Dongs, cross Funyuns off your list, and say goodbye to Poppycock or Fiddle Faddle. And sweet merciful lord help you if you're caught with a Goo Goo Cluster.

It isn't just foods with silly or embarrassing names that are verboten on the Jazz Diet. Though corn dogs would otherwise be acceptable, it is impossible to look cool eating any food that comes on a stick. Also, anything pretentious or trendy is off the list. No matter how deep your personal convictions, it is virtually impossible to order organic free-range chicken without coming off like a complete git.

Moving along.

It goes without saying that, since a myriad of foods are allowed, portion control becomes very important. Here is where the Jazz Diet sets itself apart from every other plan. Instead of carefully measuring each and every meal, the Jazz Diet allows you to load your plate till your heart's content. But, you must eat while listening to jazz and you can only eat at certain, prescribed moments. For instance, if you're listening to Free Jazz, you can only eat when they play a recognizable melody. If you're listening to anything but Fusion, you can only eat during the bass solo. If you're listening to Smooth Jazz, the overwhelming nausea should be sufficient to keep you from eating much of anything and keeping it down.

Jazz also plays a significant role in the exercise portion of the Diet, as well. Kinetic and propulsive, yet appealing to the intellect, it is possible to train both mind and body while listening to jazz. A jazz-themed workout both burns more calories and heightens intellectual prowess, equivalent to reading Shakespeare while running a triathlon but with far less chance of riding your bike into a 7-11 in the middle of a soliloquy. In contrast, the same workout conducted while listening to a Britney Spears CD has been shown not only to lower overall intelligence, but increases general skankiness and boosts the chances of an ill-advised quickie marriage by an order of magnitude.

Sound good, kids? Of course it does. But what if it isn't working for you? What if you're eating only the hippest foods while listening to jazz and the pounds still aren't coming off? Well, every diet must have a contingency for just such a possibility. The Jazz Diet is no different, and there will certainly be some difficulties along the way. Sales of Dave Koz CD's will skyrocket among bulimic teens, while Charles Mingus will become a favorite among wily cheaters. So if all else fails, I recommend the Miles Davis Method; just turn your back to the table and be cool.

So there you have it, the entire plan. The beauty is in the simplicity. America gets a new diet craze and jazz finds a new audience, albeit in a roundabout way. And can you imagine the marketing possibilities? Jazz CD's included with specially-prepared foods in grocery stores, restaurants offering jazz-friendly entrees, the outlets are virtually unlimited. Take a look around at the current landscape, then substitute the word carb with the word jazz. This is why I am a Genius.

Till next month, kids, exit to your right and enjoy the rest of AAJ.

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