Blueberry muffin treats, in my house, have the power to transform my entire family into butter knife-wielding animals that make crumbs of defenseless baked goods. The primal sounds of “More butter! MMMM” have alerted the neighbors more than once. Some think we are watching a horror movie at full volume. Others think we are truly possessed. However, this morning, I awoke to find a tidy plastic baggie of blueberry muffin treats just sitting on the counter, in the exact spot where I left them the day before. Yep, they just sit there still. When I wave the bag around and ask, “Anyone want a muffin?” Nate and Alex stand there, awkwardly and say, “It’s not snack time yet.” Telling them, “It’s snack time somewhere” doesn’t make them tear into the bag and grab the butter.
What gives then? Why aren’t Nate and Alex eating these muffins?
There may be many reasons. Eliminating the possibility of raging “feeling full disease,” leaves me with the following theory: They are too polite to tell me that they really don’t want to eat these muffins. And, I know why they don’t want to eat them: They don’t exactly taste that great. Here’s why:
I went crazy in the health foods section and grabbed the first box of “gluten-free blueberry muffin mix” I could find. Lots of people that Nate, Alex, and I know need to eat gluten free, so I figured I should start learning about gluten free foods by buying a box of gluten-free blueberry muffin mix. I’m sure there are plenty of great gluten free recipes and mixes to try, but I threw caution to the wind and did absolutely no research before spending nearly $6 on a box of muffin mix.
I happily brought the mix home and followed the recipe. The muffins looked and smelled “normal” enough, but when I took a bite, I noticed a very bitter aftertaste. Nate and Alex had already started eating their muffins in a wolf-like manner, but they suddenly slowed down.
“Does anyone taste something bitter in the batter?” I asked.
“It’s just the blueberries,” Nate said.
That’s nice that he blamed the blueberries and not my cooking—or the mix, but actions speak louder than words. If, by Christmas, those muffins are still on the counter, I’ll know that I bought a bitter batch of gluten-free muffin mix.
On the positive side, though: The bitter taste in my mouth led me to make such a face that I could feel my neck stretch and strengthen in a way that, well, if I did this every day, I might be able to maintain a youthful appearance, without plastic surgery. A quick search on the Internet led me to discover “face yoga,” which is not new to most people, but it is to me. In fact, I found many positive articles about face yoga, but I wanted to check it out with my brother, who is a very, very good facial plastic surgeon who gets wonderful reviews from patients. (He’s also an incredibly funny guy.) Specifically, I wanted to know the answers to the following questions—which I texted to him:
–Does face yoga work to reduce aging?
–Is it safe to do? Will your face freeze in an unattractive way “forever?”
–Has there ever been a case where a plastic surgeon has had to repair a face that was severely damaged by face yoga?
My brother texted back, “LOL! I’m actually not sure.” He also said that he has not personally had to help anyone damaged by face yoga—not yet.
Well, if there’s anything I can do to help my brother be the first one to study the hazards of face yoga, I’ll do it. I’ll be that first case that he can write about in medical journals.
After just a little more research though, here’s what I’ve discovered:
–The Cleveland Clinic website mentions a small study of highly motivated women who did face yoga for 20-30 minutes a day, six days a week. According to the article, “Can Doing Facial Exercises Help you Look Younger?” “good” results require dedication. However, some exercises can result in making people look older. Repeatedly furrowing the brow or contracting the muscles of the upper forehead can result in lines.
–There are lots of facial yoga exercise programs out there. Here’s a YouTube video by Marie Claire UK, which I tried. It shows six “basic moves.” The first exercise is for the eyes and I found it just too creepy to do. You’re supposed to feel your eyelids shaking back and forth—and they do! They really do! And it’s awful.
Here are the exercises that I do like from this video though: “The Giraffe,” stroking the forehead, and the needle-less “self-acupuncture” series of exercises near the end.
–I was not used to some of these exercises, so I was afraid I would get a face cramp. As with all exercise programs then, you should probably check with a doctor first and go slow. If you were to ask me, I’d say a warm-up with a bitter, gluten-free blueberry muffin is just what the doctor would order.
In Other News: I have two new short stories out: 1) “The Disgusting Food Museum” is on the Macabre Museum’s online “gallery.” You need a password to enter: abyss. This one was lots of fun to write—don’t read it while eating baked goods—or anything really. 2) “The Barracuda in the Pool” is on the Flash Fiction Magazine website. Feel free to leave a comment on the website, after the story, if you are so inclined.
Your Turn: Do you follow a gluten free diet? What are some of your favorite gluten-free things to eat? Or: what is your favorite thing to make from a box/mix?