A new chapter has begun in the world of Bricotrout. A chapter of reading and analyzing and inspecting and comparing those funny little (seemingly useless) grid charts that appear on the side of package of edibleness in this great country.

I'm referring to my having to now carefully consider which brands of food I consume in order to keep my counts where they belong.

Or more accurately, to get them to where they belong.

You see, my blood tests came back yesterday and now a grocery store trip that used to take me 10 minutes now takes fifty!

Having not eaten meat (except on a very rare occasion) for 20 years come this December, not having any sweet tooth to speak of, having zero liking for beer and never ever eating at any fast food joint, I always figured I was left to my own devices on what to feed myself without any real consequences healthwise.

But my blood tests (if they are indeed 'mine') beg to differ.

Despite my healthy nutritional leanings it turns out my bad cholesterol level is 25 points to high, my good cholesterol level is 8 points too low and my triglycerides count is through the roof.

Now I ask you, how is one supposed to watch their triglycerides when the nutrition info on food wrappers doesn't even list the daily percentage of triglycerides?!

So now, instead of just grabbing the package of Twinkies (er, I mean... granola) with the prettiest packaging and/or cheapest per unit cost, I am now forced to stop and read the micro print of each can and bag.

And seeing that the total fat count on a jar of peanut butter is only 1gram more than the fat count on a jar of peanut butter that has 'fat free' and 'organic' and 'zero trans fat' all written on the label I am truly at a loss to decipher if that 1gram less of total fat is really worth the extra $3.78 I gotta shell out. Why should one pay more for the grainy textured recycled paper label item rather than the full color high gloss label? At least that one stays fresh until the Mayan calendar ends in 2012, rather than a mere 4 weeks like the 'healthy' stuff.

Basically my technique in the end came down to not the item's cost, how bright and tasty the label or brand name was, what shelf tier it sat on (the one at arm level always got my vote in the past - to be honest it wasn't until last year that I realized there even were other levels for the food to sit on) or even if it comes with a secret toy surprise in the back.

No, instead I realized the best method to picking the healthy food was to look at the item's ingredients. Whichever of the 2 contending brand items made it to the final round (see above for qualifications that got it into the final round in the first place) that had the longest most unpronounceable most unrecognizable and least appetizing ingredient in it's list was placed back on the shelf having revealed itself to be the impostor and not the truly healthy choice.

And did anyone out there ever know that 5 rum and cokes each night has about the same effect on a waist line as does a 6 pack of beer?

This stuff is complicated!