Friday, June 24, 2011

SLAP! What Should We Eat?

Is he trying to tell us something?

First off, apologies to Katie S. She had me going on a perfectly fine rant that I’ve had to abandon because something else has caught my eye and it’s STAGGERINGLY ignorant to me. 

So of course I have to share it with you.

Once again the labeling on food is in the news. We are such total morons that that we need to be told what’s healthy, what we should eat and in what quantities. Much like being dumber than a chimp, we are the only species on the planet having no clue how to feed itself. 

Can you imagine? I mean, you don’t have to because it’s a reality - but consider it.

Do cheetahs look at food labels? Do squirrels have a food pyramid or plate? Does a turtle need an FDA to decide what amounts of chemicals are good for it? 

If it isn’t food, IT ISN’T FOOD no matter how many chemical vitamins and minerals have been added. And if it comes in a bag, box, bottle or can the chances are pretty high that it’s not an item that a socially unconnected, “indigenous” type human would recognize as food.

A few weeks ago I wrote you a tongue in cheek (idiom!) post on being a fat American but today I'm serious…isn't it absolutely absurd that we collectively wonder, “Is this brightly colored, sugary cereal nutritious?” Or, “Will this bar of low fat, low cal, high fiber ingredients be healthy for me?”

You know they used to be called "SUGAR Pops..."

The cereal didn't change...just the name.
VOILA! Healthy.

We have higher than ever incidences of cancer, diabetes, obesity even in children as young as three, high blood pressure, thyroid rebellion and every other health malady you can imagine. And it’s such a mystery! Sure we can look at the data however we choose: there are more people not more incidence, there is better diagnosis not more incidence…but I think we might know what’s really happening. 

We’ve lost the ability to feed ourselves FOOD. We’ve lost the ability to determine what, in fact, constitutes food for human bodies. More labels are the answer, naturally. (Irony!) People like Michael Pollan are deemed hippie idiots. Food Nazis…because they advocate this whacko advice:  if your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize it immediately as food, it’s probably not.

Please note that we've only needed two generations to lose something that was presumably instinctual for, well...EVER. And now pediatricians have to tell us that feeding junior nuggets, ice cream and potato chips is bad.

So what IS food? Food stands on its own. Food packages itself. Some of it is highly convenient on its own. Some of it isn’t inherently convenient. And I’m not a Michael Pollan; I like my pretzels, microwave popcorn, and Cheez-Whiz (trademarked!). But I don’t operate under the assumption that Funyuns (tm!) and root beer are healthy foods…I don’t eat them and then stare in gaping horror and disbelief at the rising scale numbers. There really isn’t any question why I carry around extra weight. I LOVE COMBOS! (TM!) 

Lest you think I’m only finger wagging today, let me offer the following advice. Shop the outside of the market. If it’s refrigerated it’s perishable. And natural things perish. Twinkies (tm) don’t. Buy the Twinkies, but remember that no matter what the LABEL says….it’s junk. It’s not good for you and the 2% of RDA vitamin C that’s inside is decimated by the 2,000% of sugar and sodium you’re going to eat. If you choose to eat it anyway (and who am I to say you shouldn’t?) just remember that you’re not eating food. And don’t blame the industry when, after stopping at every fast food joint on the commute for the last 5 years, you find yourself obese, diabetic and on more pills than you can remember to take. 

P.S. Any "food" with a silly spelling, or an all natural ingredient that you can't pronounce on its label, is probably not a real food. Blueberries by any other name are chemicals.

Much like the havoc we’re wreaking on our environment, we’re murdering our own bodies; the most intimate environment we’ve got.

So add this one to the pile of things about which we need to shift our thinking. Because honestly, when the “gubmint” has to tell us what we’re eating, how much we should eat, and when to eat it…haven’t we really lost our minds completely?

I wonder if that walrus knows the health benefits of that cake?

*Photos: Pops- Marina Dominguez/NPR,,

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