Sunday, May 1, 2011

Indiana Jones and the Channel of Destruction

Put on your Indiana Jones hat and come with me. We are going on a great adventure. We will start at the gaping, cavelike mouth of the Channel of Destruction. Don't worry. Your Indiana Jones hat has strong protective powers and will keep you safe.

As we enter the Channel of Destruction we see a huge sleeping slug on the bottom of the cave. Watch out! The slug is moving. Oh, no! It has knocked off your Indiana Jones hat and and now you are vulnerable. Now the jaws of the cave close on you and cut you into chunks. Then stalactites and stalagmites come together and grind you into smaller pieces. A strange liquid oozes from the walls of the cave and mixes with the pieces of your body. Then the slug makes a surging movement and you feel yourself entering a dark vertical tube. Pushed along by contractions of the side of the tube, in a few minutes you enter the acid bath. It is like a washing machine, only the water is extremely acid. It churns you around and begins to dissolve your chunks of flesh. Then your mushed up body is pushed into another tube, where powerful enzymes tear apart your flesh, sugars and fat. The walls of the tube suck up these your nutrients, leaving you as nothing more than waste products, fiber, and water. Then you are pushed forward to another tube where most of the liquid is sucked out of you. This tube is filled with lethal bacteria. Finally a violent contraction expels you back into the outer world. You are now a foul-smelling, bacteria-ridden, brown blob. No one wants to talk to you or even be close to you. You feel like a piece of poop, because that is what you have become.

The Channel of Destruction is your own digestive tract. This scary process is occurring right now inside you. No wonder most of us don't want to think about it. But how can we make head or tail of the conflicting views on diet and nutrition that we find all around us unless we have a basic understanding of our own digestive process? If you're like me and never took biology in school, or if you did take biology and vacuumed your brain the minute you walked out of the final exam, then it's time for you have to brush up on what your gut is doing.

I brushed up on what was happening inside my gut by watching the videos in Understanding the Human Body: An Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology by Dr. Anthony Goodman. You can probably get this series at your local library.

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