Eating has soared into vogue, as judged by the number of stars and executives caught daubing a scandalous napkin to lip. Yet being fashionable has its risks. Across the country, in establishments both seedy and well-seeded, diners nosh themselves to their dooms, littering carpets with bits of brie, foie gras, and the shells of hapless lobsters, while pinot gris (or is it “grisly”?) cascades down their chins, along with melted butter. Suddenly, lightning cracks. Thunder booms. The diners, acting as one, clutch their chests in arrest. A siren song (“Weee-ooo, weee-ooo”) wails across our nation as those who have succumbed to saturated fat and imported cigarettes are whisked off for emergency by-pass surgery.

What a comfort it is that we have such advanced medical care, so our recovering diners may be wheeled back to their tables in time to fall face-down into the flourless chocolate torte, earning another notch in their By-Pass Punch Cards, thus bolstering the American ideal of achievement! But I digress.

Despite the growing evidence of the dangers of dining, people continue to eat. Yet researchers claim that it is not what we eat but how we eat that determines our hospital check-in date and whether or not we get a room with a view of the park and a bathroom en suite. In the recent issue of the journal Self-Esteem Quarterly (Or Semi-Annually, If We Can’t Get Our Act Together), Therapeuta Q. Funnell reports that a single candle upon the dining table reduces saturated fat in a meal by ten percent, while a lit candelabra, in C cup or larger, burns hydrogenated oils off your fork before they reach your mouth. Ms. Funnell also contends that it is not the contents of one’s plate that determine health, but one’s posture when one chews. Therefore, let us rally behind Ms. Funnell and her life-saving cure: Pilates for Masticators, or Core Strength for an Effective Chew.

 “Keep your tongue neutrally aligned!” she commands. “All chewing movement should come from this core.” It is not just a muscular core, or a seed-filled one, to which she refers, but a spiritual core that resides in all who dine. Truly, the core of the gourmand unites us all.

So impressed was I that I pilgramaged to Ms. Funnell’s home for my acolyte training. Here at The Mindful Munch, we arise before dawn for an hour of jaw yoga, and then spend another hour meditatively “chewing the air” (as darling Therapeuta calls it) in preparation for a full day’s meals. Though I have yet to graduate to actually eating a meal (I must first prove to dear Therapeuta that I can sustain good posture and intelligent conversation), I have also not added to my By-Pass Punch Card. In full honesty, I can attest that I have not died yet, so I must be onto a good thing.

But do excuse me now; Therapeuta calls, and I’m famished.