No one raised even a limp wrist when Naura Hayden, testifying yesterday at a congressional hearing on diet and nutritional needs, turned to ask the audience:
"Now, who feels super-good and bursting with energy every day?"
At the post-luncheon afternoon hearing, about the only one who seemed capable of raising an arm to be counted was Hayden, who was there to warn congressmen that we are in danger of becoming a "pooped-out generation."
"Since I've read your book, I've taken to eating yeast," Rep. Fred Richmond, chairman of the House Agriculture subcommittee on Nutrition, told Hayden, whose book on human energy (200,000 copies hard-cover) has just appeared in paperback.
"I'm so proud of you, sir, whether you're kidding or not," said Hayden. "If I appear passionate about yeast and vitamins, I am."
Revved up on her usual morning Dynamic Milkshake (she wouldn't go anywhere without her blender), Hayden was among a long list of witnesses, largely nutrition specialists and public health officials, who opened hearings aimed at investigating nutrition education in the United States. Congressmen want to know if the government should be supplying more reliable information for people to decide what they should eat.
Hayden, tossing her long titian-colored hair energetically as she testified, gave a super-charged performance of personal testimony yesterday. It ended with clapping from an appreciative audience.
There she was in the midst of an episode for the television Western "Bonanza" eight or nine years ago when she found she couldn't get out of bed.
"I was falling apart - bledding gums, canker sores . . . In the hospital I began reading books on nutrition."
Anyway, Hayden now feels super-good. She avoids coffee, sugar, smoking, and alcohol.
"Is wine considered alcohol?" Rep. Richmond asked apprehensively.
"Yes. But as long as you're taking your yeast, it's all right," Hayden reassured him.
Hayden, who says that she is in her late 30s, once played the role of Big Red (a gal, not a horse) in a comedy episode of "Bonanza" and appeared in roles on "Gunsmoke." But her longest run was on RCA color TV ads in the '60s with her red hair and green eyes testifying to color fidelity.
At 5 feet 8 and 135 pounds, she now energetically jogs 300 steps in place daily and does 20 sit-ups on a slant board.And she bounds around the country, blender in a tote bag, preaching about the human energy crisis and touting her book.
The book - breezy and breathless and bursting like its author - blitzes you with "Everything You've Always Wanted To Know About Energy But Were Too Weak To Ask." Without help of favorable reviews but with Hayden's tireless self-promotion, the hard-cover edition (Hawthorne) took off with brisk sales of 200,000 copies to readers obviously tired of being pooped-out.