By all accounts, I'm currently speeding down the highway that leads to cancer, with my foot firmly pressed on the accelerator. If I maintain my current reckless lifestyle, the highway might turn out to be a one-way street, and there will be no coming back for me.
I wasn't aware of my daredevil habits until about five minutes ago, when I read a report that said, "Eating crisps, well-browned roast potatoes and toast that is more than lightly grilled can increase the risk of cancer."
And no, this isn't the same chemical that occurs when meat is barbecued. It's another evil by-product (acrylamide) that is formed when certain starchy foods are subject to high temperatures.
My heart sank as I digested all this information. Why can't the experts pick on my least favourite foods for a change? I would cheer if they told me that tripe, kale and hot liver sandwiches are bad for me.
Every morning I have two thick slices of toast, browned to a dark complexion and smothered in real butter (none of that fake rubbish) for breakfast. Sometimes, the butter is so thick I leave an imprint of my front teeth in it after I've taken my first bite. As I savour that first mouthful, the butter begins to liquefy and creates tiny, shimmering pools on top of the toast. I intersperse mouthfuls of this deliciousness with sips of hot sweet tea for the perfect breakfast.
If you start the day right, you can cope with almost anything that comes your way, I usually say. Except for the news that singed bread might just kill you.
It is now recommended that we eat toast that is no darker than a light shade of golden yellow - the lighter the better.
Who eats yellow toast?
According to my dictionary, toast is "sliced bread that has been BROWNED by dry heat". It doesn't say anything about it being YELLOWED by heat.
You might find yellow toast in Tutankhamun's tomb, placed there by a faithful servant of the Egyptian boy king, but I doubt you'll see it anywhere else.
I won't stop eating my toast for anyone. Even if bakers are forced to put warnings on their bread packaging, similar to the ones you see on cigarette packets, I won't stop. Even if they are forced to state, in big bold letters that "BROWN TOAST KILLS" beneath a photo of an emaciated toast addict with lesions and cankerous sores all over her body, I won't stop. Even if my family plead with me to stop because they are afraid that I will succumb to "toast belly", as this type of cancer might be called, I won't stop.
And no, I'm not being stubborn and ignoring the risk to my health. I'm just fed up with the skewed findings that some scientists feed the general public.
If I were to believe everything the experts say, I might as well toss myself on a barbecue right now and allow my body to be turned into a charred piece of carcinogen, because that would at least save me from the prolonged suffering that would surely take place if I were to continue to slowly kill myself one slice of toast at a time.
Like a lot of people, I feel confused about what's healthy for me and what isn't. The experts keep changing their minds. One minute, something is good for you, the next it's bad, and the next thing you hear it's being hailed as a wonder food.
The scientists who are spreading the news about the research results with acrylamide have only conducted research on lab mice. They have isolated the cancer-causing chemical, given the rodents mega-doses of it, and observed the results.
The last time I checked, I wasn't a mouse. If a human were to eat the same levels of toxins given to the mice, it would be the equivalent of consuming about 600 slices of brown toast every day.
Even if you were to eat in your sleep, that would mean consuming 25 slices of toast every hour. Or one slice every 2.4 minutes. And therein lies the problem. The average household toaster can't keep up with such a huge workload. It would simply malfunction after the 10,000th slice, forcing you to stick a knife into the contraption in a bid to remove the piece of toast trapped inside. Then kaboom!
I rest my case. You're more likely to die from electrocution than you are from excessive toast consumption. I think it's safe for me to maintain my current irresponsible toasting behaviour.