Happiness Drug


Chip was hitting me with epiphanies like a baseball player at the batting cages. Left field, right field, a guaranteed homer hanging wedged into the mesh, forty feet in the air.

Chip is the nutritionist at Body Dynamics in Falls Church, VA. Talking with him about food is eye-opening; there is SO MUCH I didn’t know.

“Eating is a parasympathetic process,” “of COURSE your gall bladder attacks came when you were stressed,” “it’s no surprise everyone is grumpy on a low-fat diet.” Each time I itched to take notes and generally had to cry out “HOLD IT! Let’s unpack that, can we? What do you MEAN?”

“What – grumpy on a low-fat diet? Well, you know serotonin is the happiness hormone.” (Maybe he didn’t say hormone; maybe that’s my error. The point is: serotonin in the brain = happiness. It is known, khaleesi.)

“Yeah.” (Me, focusing hard to make sure I don’t miss anything, like whether or not serotonin is a hormone.)

“And what is serotonin made of?”

“What?” (Suspicious.)

“Protein and fat. What happens if you don’t have enough fat in your diet?”

“Poor quality happiness?”

“Exactly. The chemical in your brain that allows you to experience happiness is weakened.”

“But that must mean I’m sitting on a huge cushion of potential joy – couldn’t my body use that?”

“Remember: Dietary fat is not the same thing as body fat. Body fat comes from carbohydrates. Eat butter. It will help you to be happy.”

SHUT UP. Where’s a note pad? Someone get me a pen, stat! I need to explain this to MY MOTHER, who believes dietary fat is a tool of the devil and who has, not coincidentally (I see now) been grumpy for decades.

In our next episode (unless I get distracted): What a nutritionist thinks “parasympathetic” means. You’re KIDDING – that’s so COOL!

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Chip eats a cupcake, like a normal mortal. He really is the most wonderful nutritionist. Body Dynamics, give that man a big raise!



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