Saturday, June 21, 2008

My Family Goes Bananas

I have a feeling that this will only be amusing to the people who were involved in the conversation, but I couldn’t resist.

My sister sent an email out on Wednesday evening to me, my siblings, and my parents, to tell us about her recent promotion at work and update us on her cancer treatment. The next morning, I sent her a response and included a note about my experience with a banana that morning (we share a sensitivity disorder that makes it difficult to eat certain foods because our gag reflex suddenly kicks in – it can be weird and unpredictable – kind of like us, I suppose).

I meant to send the email just to her, because I didn’t think the rest of the family would really be interested in my bananas. But apparently I was wrong. I accidentally sent the email out to the whole family, and when I checked my email the next day the conversation thread was 17 messages long.

Here it is, parsed for concision, and anonymized.

SUBJECT LINE: FW: Promotion Announcement: [SISTER 1]
15 messages

June 18, 6: 57 PM

I must be insane for taking on more work but apparently, they know my price. …just three steps away from taking over the company. bwah ha ha

Btw, I know I told mom and dad, and I’m sure the word has spread about the non-spreading of my cancer. I keep meaning to send out a detailed email, but then get home and just go to sleep.

[details about cancer, hypoglycemic development, glucose levels, and insulin]

And that’s the news from Lake Woebegone.

June 19, 9:49 AM

Congratulations! You are insane, by the way. But I love you anyway. :) And that's good news about the cancer. We keep praying and hoping for the best.

I thought of you when I was eating my banana this morning and could only get down half of it b/c it was too ripe. When bananas are too ripe it kicks in our sensitivity disorder and I gag on them. Does that happen to you? People think I'm weird b/c I like bananas that don't taste too much like a banana (eg when they're green and have just a bit of crunch to them).

Love you!

9:53 AM

Yes, congrats! And the news about the cancer is what we've all been praying for!

As for bananas, there should be banana delivery, just like milk delivery. Because they're really only good the first day or two you bring them home. Then it's off to the mixing bowl to become bread or cookies. Luckily, [DAUGHTER] doesn't mind the ripe bananas so I can push them on her.

1:28 PM

That's great news [SISTER 1]!, hang in there. Do you have to give yourself insulin shots or is it some oral thing? And why the insulin at all, I thought it lowered blood glucose levels?

I also purchase but rarely actually eat bananas. And SISTER 3, bananas are a good source of fiber which is helpful post pregnancy to get things moving.

An alternate use for bananas from

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

I see this doing more harm than good.

Also, here is another important banana site

I am going to make this when I get home, feel free to join with me.
Choc Monster
1 banana, peeled
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 cup milk
2 scoops chocolate
or vanilla ice cream
A fast food treat the kids will go bananas over.
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Serve immediately sprinkled with extra cocoa.

1:35 PM

If bananas are a good source of fiber, why was I told to avoid giving [DAUGHTER] bananas for her constipation issues?

2:38 PM

[SISTER 1], great news about the diminishing cancer. I am so relieved that
your news of late has been more positive with the exception of the
hypoglycemia. Does that mean you get to take snacks to church?

Funny that bananas should come up. I'm reading a great book which I
highly recommend to all of you if you haven't read it already. It's
called The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. (First book in the Thursday
Next series). Just yesterday I read this sentence: "You can pick it
well before ripe, transport it thousands of miles if necessary and it
will keep fresh in its own hermetically sealed biodegradable packaging.
Nutritious and tasty, too."

So those brown spots are called sugar spots, pretty sure they're called
mold by my kids (I threw two "moldy" bananas away yesterday). I too
have a problem with bananas that are soft and for some reason I usually
can't eat a whole one. There comes that point where I know the next
bite is going to make me gag. And, thanks to [SISTER 1]’s tales from
Ecuador I can no longer eat the top or bottom of the banana. Still,
they're a great snack and I find myself throwing one in every smoothie
I make. For mother's day I got a sweet new blender, yesterday I noticed
that the display said I'd used it 79 times (goodbye otter pops, hello
smoothies). Tonight we'll have to try [BROTHER 1]’s Choc Monster recipe.

3:12 PM

While bananas are fantastic and delicious and have more fiber than a donut, they don't have as much fiber as some other fruits, like apricots and such. Maybe this is why they were not recommended. I saw a couple crazy websites that were sure that bananas cause constipation but I couldn't find anything in the medical literature. Bananas have about 1.6g of fiber for a med sized banana. Apricots can have like 5+g of fiber.

There really is not that much evidence to support saying that increasing fiber will actually reduce constipation in children. There was one study in 99 published in the Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition, which concluded that "lack of fiber may play an important role in the etiology of chronic idiopathic constipation in children." But according to DynaMed there is only midlevel evidence to support this.

In a study done in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology entitled "The perceived effect of various foods and beverages on stool consistency" they found that German people most often attributed their constipation to Chocolate, bananas and black tea. Is your doctor German?

3:16 PM

Who needs PubMed when we have [BROTHER 1]?
Would that mean you might be constipated after having a Choc Monster?

3:25 PM

Wait, did I only send that to [SISTER 3]? What is a choc monster? It sounds more like a diarrhea inducer.

Crap!, apparently there is more fiber in a chocolate cake donut than in a banana.

3:40 PM

One word: Dulcolax

I've been missing out on a great banana conversation. Work is already overswamping. It's great fun to do two jobs for the price of one right now. :-|

So, first the banana responses. They're best when picked directly from the plant. That’s the only time they taste like an actual banana, or guinello as we say in the old country. ...and [SISTER 4] is right, you have to watch out for the spiders. They’ll come crawling right out of the end of that banana, so watch carefully as you slowly peel back that skin! hehehe It absolutely makes me gag to eat a banana that has, as Dad calls them, flavor spots, and yes, [SISTER 2], I’ll attribute it to our sensitivity disorder. I also can’t stand eating a banana that isn’t ripe enough. You know, when you bite in and there is that bitter taste that somehow embeds itself in your tongue and you can’t get rid of the taste no matter how much apple juice you drink? I like eating the little baby bananas because they’re equivalent to about 1/3 of a regular sized banana. And, at the first sign of a flavor spot, into the blender the go with a some milk and a little cinnamon. Mmmm (to be eaten with a toasted/grilled/fried cheese sandwich)

About the sugar, I think I meant to type glucose, but I must have insulin on the mind b/c I have to go pick it up today. [more info about monitoring sugar levels, advice to SISTER 2 about monitoring hers, and new product to diminish “skin tabs”]

3:55 PM

Yes, what is a choc monster?

3:56 PM

…and it just so happens that as you were typing away, I was eating the perfect banana.

3:56 PM

I knew donuts had to be good for something.

3:58 PM

Let me quote from a previous [BROTHER 1] message... (the one with the banana stage pictures).

[Quote from BROTHER 1 about Choc Monster]

9:15 PM

This is the most hilarious chain I have read in a long time. I can't believe the whole family has so much to say about bananas. The Choc Monster has replaced that weird peanut butter/chocolate goolash [BROTHER 1] used to make as a young one....remember his chocolate experiments? This seems rather reasonable and delicious.

[SISTER 2], go get your blood sugar tested. You could have hypoglycemia as well.
[BROTHER 1], I can't believe it, but I actually understood most of what you wrote about! Amazing what a college degree will do!
[SISTER 1], get me some of that skin tab medicine. I'll be the guinee pig; and just wait, you'll all get skin tabs one day.
[SISTER 3], give Amelia an apricot and a chocolate donut for breakfast.
[SISTER 4], what kind of blender did you get? that one like Stephanie's that grinds up metal?
[DAD], we will have 5 ripe bananas when you return from your scout trip, so I'll get out the cookie sheets.

I love this family! We must have won the lottery in the council in heaven!


Mamacita said...

You know they forgot Stage 8 on the banana chart--all black after Dad puts the Stage 7 bananas in the freezer, then takes them out days later to make banana oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips.

Ben and Sarah said...

When Dad was here for Thanksgiving, I had thrown out a bunch of nearly black bananas because there was definitely not time for banana bread, or the need for more food. But he fished them out of the garbage and put them in my freezer.

The Lunds said...

You're family makes me giggle!

Dawn said...

Your family makes me nostalgic!

Erin said...

I unearth black bananas from the back recesses of the freezer every so often. Anyone know their shelf-life? Because I wouldn't be surprised if some of those may have actually crossed the plains with us when we moved out here from Utah.

The other day I was actually going to make banana-something cookies and couldn't find any freezer bananas. I was shocked. Where's dad when you need him!

Chelsea said...

Wow, that was both entertaining and educational! I have to agree, mushy bananas are wretched--I can barely eat bananas at all since my first pregnancy. Also, I'm glad to find that my family is not the only one to go off on random email tangents--we had a similar e-conversation, but with a pirate theme.

Spike said...

Will you adopt me? Seriously.