There comes a time in many a man's life when he must come to terms with his belly. It comes sooner for some, but save the Herculeses among us, many of us will be spilling over the belt loops eventually. Accepting this can be psychologically crippling for those emerging from the flat-bellied days of youth as we grip the bulge with both hands while standing shirtless before the bathroom mirror asking, "Why, oh Lord, why ?"
One could blame the lack of exercise or all the hours sitting on the chesterfield watching My Name is Earl re-runs, but the true terror is a bad diet. Poor nutrition is not just a personal problem but a systemic cultural one where processed food is still widely accepted by a society still gripped by convenience over perfect health. While we are collectively moving away from a fast food nation, the progress is slow and may never be eradicated. Mars Bars will remain readily available in vending machines and not a single child north of the Rio Grande River will ever give a good goddamn about quinoa.
But they should. Already considered the "miracle grain" by several prominent book publishers, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah ) is a gluten-free protein and a nutritious substitute for rice, potato and pasta - the culinary cornerstones of many cultures. The problem is that when prepared, quinoa has all the flare of a Gap cardigan sweater and no amount of journalistic pandering will convince the masses to convert once they have actually tasted it.
That is, unless Jesus gets involved. Our Lord and Saviour, presumably ready any day now to launch his return to this godless planet, must consider returning in the form of a vaguely popular chenopodium. Yes, quinoa should be the Second Coming of Christ.
If God can take the human form of His only begotten son and ascend back into heaven three days after dying, He can return as anything he wants. He can return as a steaming pile of cow dung if He so desires, but of course that would make very little sense.
It'd be foolish for Jesus to return to Earth as a human. He tried that once and look what happened. His initial mission was flawed by his attempts to target mankind's intellect. All the parables and subversive philosophies earned Him a crucifixion and a legacy of martyrdom followed by Evangelicalism. Yes, He has earned a reputation as one of humanity's most important people ever, but His message of radical personal and social transformation has been muddled by nearly 2000 years of worship and idolization, negating his central argument that the transformative power of love for all mankind is a real possibility. Popularity was never His intention but once we picked up on His appealing ideas, humanity went all Hollywood on His legacy.
What Jesus now needs to realize, if He hasn't already, is that mankind needs a more subliminal mechanism by which to be reached. Food is the gasoline of our being. It is what fuels us and our dismal relationship with it has caused serious problems worldwide. We don't need Jesus' love transmitted through paradigm-rattling rhetoric, we need it to worm its way through our digestive tracts and carried through our blood streams and right out to our appendages. Like a pill.
Quinoa is possibly the best vehicle for this global distribution. It was considered a sacred grain by the Incas, who as we all know have always been God's chosen people. Quinoa's versatility means that the less health-conscious among us can load it on their cheeseburgers without complaint and its blandness won't offend the Methodists.
So on the anniversary this Sunday of our Lord and Saviour's ascension into heaven, think about the benefits of His return as the miracle grain of quinoa. Consider the benefits that His Holiness, circling through your body, can have on your well-being. From here, we can one day be united as one through a common love of Jesus-cum-quinoa.
Keep an open mind here - radical ideas, as disturbing as they may be, should always be considered before they are dismissed. This newfound compassion for others will save us from war, not to mention diabetes, heart disease, and that ever-expanding flab at the centre of our torso, pushing out every day, inch by inch.