Protein is very important, you know. Atkins certainly thought so, and surely a man with his own brand can’t be wrong about everything (that and no matter your individual dietary persuasions, you have to offer a solemn nod to a man who saw bacon as a viable answer to all the world’s problems). I thought about trying to develop a brand myself once, back when I was still awash with the delusion that I could both write and sell a book in the same lifetime and thus become the famous author of my dreams (and get interviewed on NPR. I cannot explain why that has figured so prominently in this fantasy, but dreams are often indefensible and so I won’t bother trying), but it proved harder than I anticipated. Atkins, see, he had bacon and fat people, which the world will never lack (proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy and that some succeed), but I found several obstacles to truly successful personal branding insurmountable:
- I wrote a thing that few people hated, everybody cried about, and had the universal appeal that precludes any particular niche. We bring ourselves to everything we read, of course, and in my infant of a book, everyone related to it, painfully apparently, and generally felt disinclined to read it multiple times. I have sympathy for that. I don’t want to read it again either.
- My name is borderline impossible to spell and I lacked the foresight to use a nom de plume, like Ms. Marigold III or John Grisham, something a little more memorable.
- While I have no real fundamental aversion to manipulating public opinion, I lose interest too easily. I love change, I love different patterns and routines and loves and hates, and thus sticking to a particular message, a specific filter, a catch phrase or personal mission statement –in short, sticking to a brand— proved elusive. For a time, I attempted to counteract all the moaning about Mondays that is peppered across society at large by starting a hashtag, #takebackyourmonday, in which every Monday morning, I attempted pretty pictures and loud doxologies across my social media feed. But people like to mope and moan, and I’m told it makes the forest animals nervous when I play optimist.
Oh, and I hated being on social media. I actually tried to convince a young 22-year-old Britan to professionally catfish me, to set up a whole online presence and build the brand as if he were me, and I would give him a cut of whatever book earnings I achieved as the result of his efforts. He said something about having a life… the accent was thick, I probably didn’t get the details right.
But I digress. Like, a lot. I am writing about yogurt today, not branding (has that not been apparent already? I do despise pointless redundancy), and how I think the major yogurt brands are completely missing the point.
Protein being such a vitally important part of our well-rounded American diet (take your pick of snarky puns here; quite a few fit and I would hate to be redundant. See above), I have been making an effort to add Greek yogurt to my morning, after Pilates. The key to this wholesome habit, as far as I can see, is the chocolate. I am a purist about a blessed few things in this life, but this is one of those things. The ratio of chopped up Crunch bar to raspberry Greek yogurt is key, and yes, it needs to be both raspberry and Greek. Any other will turn out too sweet and you will lose edible self-righteousness points (which I find are helpful to rack up wherever you can). Let’s assume you will take my word for it on the yogurt itself (have I ever steered you wrong?) and move on to the chocolate.
Personally, I like to employ the aptly named “Fun Size” variety of Crunch bar and I find that 4 of them accommodate a single serve raspberry Greek yogurt nicely. Don’t chop it too fine; cut it lengthwise in half and then maybe 5 times horizontally so that you will have nice big chunks of chocolate to motivate you in consuming your daily protein (motivation is important, you know). The problem with this method is the wrappers. I don’t know why they package candy in the loudest possible wrappers, thus alerting Quail all throughout the property whenever a treat has been unsheathed.
Now, you would think that the yogurt magnates would have figured out that they could form a monopoly on the yogurt-eating-mother market simply by combining yogurt and chocolate and selling it that way, so no incriminating wrappers to find in the garbage (because they will look) and protein suddenly infinitely more appealing than, say, a hard boiled egg. Now, because my readership are all of above-average intelligence (the one noteworthy blot on this reputation being the reading of this blog), I can imagine a hand waving wildly to inform me of Chobani Flipsides (no, this is not an ad), which attach a cute little triangular pocket to your yogurt containing some sort of goody to stir in. Brilliant, right?
NO. The ratio is ALL WRONG. There is a mere smidgen of chocolate in that little pocket, barely enough to get me through one bite of obligatory protein!! Are they trying to give me a metabolic crash???
And this, obviously, leads me to hard words about Bible reading.
Now, I love me some Spurgeon. Don’t get me wrong — his devotional book, Mornings and Evenings, is so marked and dog-eared and tattered that my Quail thought it was decades old rather than its actual 5 years. I highly recommend it. But reading one verse a day, even if attached to the wise exposition of one you admire, is like a spiritual Chobani Flip Side. Your ratios are off, and you are headed for a crash.
Your day has duties in it, good works that were prepared beforehand for you to do. Your day has built in yogurt. Your day must be absolutely saturated with the Word of God, which both strengthens and sweetens your duties and I cannot, with any good conscience, recommend attempting those duties without it. You need more than an excellent devotional. You need more than a glance at the one verse you tattooed on the top of your foot (for so many reasons, not the least of which being the occasional use of shoes), more than the cute scripture meme you saw while devoting half an hour to Instagram scrolling. You need more than a cute triangle of the Word of God — you need lots of it, smashed into the entirety of your day, integrated into your thoughts and your duties and your songs and your sorrows. The yogurt is not going anywhere. Do not skip the chocolate.