Zee Livingood


Did you hear about Zee Livingood? She passed away last week from complications of good health, the coroner says! I was so upset when we got the news that my husband had to shove a gluten filled doughnut into my mouth and put me to bed with a Diet Pepsi.

We’ve been friends forever, and I was just crazy about her, though I hadn’t seen much of her lately. I think she disapproved of my couch and French fried potato lifestyle. Still, we kept up with each other on Facebook, celebrating holidays and family milestones together in cyberspace. And Zee really did work at maintaining our friendship. Every day or two, she’d send me a link to another article she’d read in Prevention magazine or Women’s World, trying to help me, you know? Zee was always generous with advice even when we were girls and I was slow to catch on to new hairstyles.

The first piece she sent recommended drinking three cups of coffee each day. Coffee, researchers have proven, prevents Type II diabetes, colon cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, Parkinson’s Disease and tooth decay. Zee put herself on the Starbucks Longevity Plan. “Why don’t you do the same, Georgia?” she asked. Her compassion splashed across my Facebook wall like a hot cup of joe, and since I like coffee well enough, I signed on too.

Then she read about a Harvard study in the AARP Magazine that concluded two cups of hot chocolate daily improves memory “significantly” and “wards off dementia.” With coffee knocking out most of the bad diseases, Zee reasoned that she needed to keep her mind sharp too. She added two cups of it to her Starbucks Plan. “Why don’t you try it, Georgia?” she asked.

I love hot chocolate, especially with whipped cream on top. So I waded into a can of Hershey’s cocoa for a whole month. I have to admit that I saw some results. Although I lost my daughter’s car keys during this time period and misplaced a credit card, I did successfully recall the name of the man the sister of Zee’s date to the Harvest Ball married the year after we all graduated from college. But I gained five pounds, so I gave it up. Not Zee. She saw life as a marathon, not a sprint.

Walnuts also fight back at Alzheimers, she read in Women’s World. “Eat six daily,” that study advised. And don’t forget rosemary, another doctor wrote in the same article. “Sniff at random.” Mayonnaise added to her sandwich of low-fat turkey on whole wheat bread, she learned from another magazine, also pushes back at senility. She liked mayo, especially Hellman’s Original, and could tolerate rosemary, so she added both, sprinkled with walnuts, to her daily diet.

She did allow as how sniffing rosemary might be awkward to explain if she were stopped for a traffic violation, but a woman has to do what a woman has to do to protect her mind, she reasoned. “Don’t you care about your brain, Georgia?” she asked. Being rosemary-deficient, I couldn’t come up with a quick response.

Zee forged ahead without me. She read that a tablespoon of cinnamon a day could lower the bad kind of LDL cholesterol, glucose levels in Type II diabetics, prevent multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s Disease. This much cinnamon, she confided, was not easy to choke down, but she could manage the dosage if she dissolved it in the ten cups a day of green tea now recommended by medical experts.

Large quantities of green tea (as the Chinese learned centuries ago but selfishly refused to tell anybody else until Prevention magazine outed them) prevents ALL types of cancer, pancreatic, stomach, breast, you name it. In fact, green tea is THE cure for cancer the western world has been seeking for decades! It also helps dieters lose weight another study discovered.

Now, the ten cups of tea, added to the three cups of coffee and the two of hot chocolate were not easy to fit into Zee’s daily routine. But doing an end-run around cancer AND losing weight at the same time were worth the inconvenience of living in the bathroom, she decided. She did, however, notice that her first floor powder room needed updating. “Do you know a good decorator, Georgia?” she asked.

Having eliminated all other diseases, Zee began to focus on heart health. She became a vegan, spurning not only meat (including Kentucky ham which she admitted complicated planning for her traditional Derby Day Brunch), but any food product that had ever touched an animal. This wiped out Graeter’s ice cream cones with her grandchildren but a woman’s gotta do, yadayada.

Then she added “quinoa and other ancient grains” to her diet and banished white-anything from her kitchen, including white appliances. And if cooking with olive oil is good for the heart, why not bathe in it too, she reasoned. Red wine? If two glasses are good, wouldn’t a gallon be better?

And exercise! Zee became the star of the Todds Road Runners, and the Y engraved her name in bronze. Over time, Zee Livingood became the healthiest woman in my Medicare set. “Oh, Zee,” I said to her the last time we chatted on Facebook, “if only Ponce De Leon could have had met up with you, history might have turned out differently.”

When I heard they found her slumped on her treadmill with a kale smoothie clutched in her hand, well, I’m not too proud to admit that I went into a full-blown state of shock. Now that I’ve come to myself I’m left to wonder if I should cancel the subscription to Prevention magazine that Zee gave me last Christmas, or keep reading it on her behalf, sort of like an eternal flame memorial?


Consumer Warning: the author did not invent or exaggerate any of these studies. Defy scientific research at the peril of your health.



Copyright © April 2014 Georgia Green Stamper