We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Tuesday, July 19. 2011
One of my favorite topics to get annoyed about here are the American (and northern European) food fetishes.
Indeed it is a symptom of prosperity that a civilization can obsess about what they eat rather than whether they eat. This occurrence is an anomaly in the short history of Homo sapiens. In the past couple of decades, many have fetishized their food as if what you eat were a major determinant of your fate in life (fatness aside - but recent studies say being fat isn't so bad for health either). "Eat this - it's good for you." Says who? Grandma? Brown rice and whole grains? Are you kidding me?
I have had four main categories of gripes:
1. What the latest research says. Eat Broccoli, then it's Avoid Broccoli. Avoid salt, but now salt is encouraged. Potatoes are carcinogenic. Avoid fats, but now it's avoid carbs (carbs will fatten you up and fat won't). My point is that whatever you read will be obsolete in a few years. Nobody on earth knows what the ideal human diet is, and that is because humans are basically opportunistic omnivores, designed to feed on whatever they can find.
2. "Supplements": A major scam and rip-off with a remarkable marketing machine, but I will not talk about that today.
3. "Genetic engineering": Unless you collect your food in the woods, pretty much everything you eat has been genetically engineered for thousands of years (except maybe mushrooms).
4. "Organic food": Back to clever marketing again directed to those who know no science or biology. Finally, Scientific American has a piece ripping apart the entire "organic" food fetish. Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming. Want to pay extra for "organic" for no reason whatsoever? Whole Foods shareholders thank you very much.
Sometimes I think that food fetishes must be a mild, verging on normative, form of eating disorder. I'll have my hot dogs with chopped onion and extra bright yellow mustard, thanks, with Lay's potato chips and a cold beer. Is there anything better on a summer day?
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Balance in all things whether its rock-n-roll, sex, or food. overdoing it is never healthy.
I'll have my hot dogs with chopped onion and extra bright yellow mustard
Amen! to that.
I shop in a Whole Foods pretty often; it's convenient to my regular run-a-day schedule. Just about never buy dry goods, canned foods etc. there, though -- they are stupid expensive, and I flatly disbelieve the supposed social benefits puffed by the various green or socially conscious manufacturers. I also flatly disbelieve most all of the supposed health benefits of "organic" foods. But I have to defend them on some counts:
I have noticed that their fresh meats and poultry consistently taste better than what you usually find in regular supermarkets around here. Same for their eggs. I don't eat a whole lot of meat anyway, so I'm willing to pay more if it tastes better. I don't know if the tastiness is the product of the diet fed the animals, and I doubt it's because there's supposed to be treated "more humanely". But I think it's better meat. Further, the folks behind the butcher counter usually know what they're talking about, and what you're asking for, when it comes to cuts of meat etc. I rarely cook any fish at home, so I can't speak to that department.
I've also found that some of the produce stays fresh in the fridge longer than what's found in regular supermarkets, but that could be some sort of supplier or logistics edge Whole Foods has on the other stores. It matter to me -- I'm only cooking for myself, so what's in the fridge doesn't always get eaten right away.
Also, I like their bagged sandwich bread, and the cheese counter is wonderful. But, I'm usually buying a regular use cheddar or sandwich cheese rather than something special.
They do manage to get in some more or less local produce that's a good deal. Breakfast for me is usually bacon & eggs, or a peanut butter & honey sandwich and a banana. You can get a pretty big tub of honey from a local supplier for a decent price that's way tastier than "Sue Bee" and the like. And their peanut butter is tasty, sugar-free as I like it, and dirt cheap (hey I do live in Georgia).
Even so, I usually feel like an impostor, spy, anthropologist when I'm in there; or like I'm on the set of some play or movie that's a social satire.
Tin foil, wax paper, dried beans, mayonnaise (means Duke's to me), mustard, canned goods etc. etc. I get elsewhere.
Whole Foods is a pretty good deal if you stay away from the fancy stuff! Ours runs a chalk board tote of their store brands vs. Kroeger's and Safeway's and usually wins the battle of the $$$.
That said, I go for the great La Quercia pork products(Uummm, speck!), the excellent cheese selection, hanger steak (only place in Denver that knows what that is!) and their soda water---to make my own fuit juice spritzers, of course. Why give Hansen's or Izzy a ton o'dough for fizzy fruit water?
Ours also has the board with the low $$$. They just started selling donuts at the Starbucks price of $1.95 compared with the Safeway price of $.55. Wonder if they'll post that.
Agree with pretty much everything except the supplement. I had surgery 1 year ago that severely cuts down on my ability to get vitamins, and especially iron naturally. I'm medically required to take supplement for the rest of my life, not really a choice.
Bright Yellow French's Mustard, Onions, bright Green relish and a slice of tomatoe.
Jays NOT Lays
Always thought that the human obsession with food was a carry over from caveman days. The first sentence was probably "Is that poisonous?" It's an obsession we'll probably never get rid of even though todays supermarket is one of the wonders of history.
For me at least, switching to a low carb diet has done several things:
- I enjoy cooking again
- I've lost some weight, and am slowly loosing a bit more, despite not eating less than before or being hungry (in fact what I eat now tastes better than what I ate before, and I need less of it to not feel like eating)
- My chronic fatigue has disappeared almost overnight
Of course that won't work for everyone, which is the crux of all diets.
And also, many people will take any diet to extremes. They translate "low carb" into "no carb", "low fat" into "no fat".
My mother is one of them, my doctor is one, so is the dietician he sent me to because he decided I needed to eat less and wouldn't do so without being forced by a professional (he never even asked how much or what I was eating, and neither did the dietician, I never went to her again).
That's how all those fad diets sell. Protein shakes costing $20 a day. Take just those for 2 months and you loose weight, guaranteed! Of course the moment you do so your health deteriorates and the moment you stop that weight returns.
"Organic foods" have been a scam since day 1. My father used to work in the dairy industry and was fighting the phenomenon when it started, brought home the publications in professional journals that never made it to the mainstream about how "organic" farms were using far more pesticides, herbicides, and everything else they claim is bad than their regular cousins.
That said, the food at the small shop that gets it locally from small farms is usually better than that from the big supermarkets. But that's not because it's "organic", it's because it's been grown locally, less storage time, not harvested before it's ready in order to "ripe in delivery", and (for meat) not injected with water and dies to make it look nicer in a plastic tray sitting in a display freezer.
about "supplements": not baloney for most people, who follow all the diet fads.
They're eating a diet that's severely lacking in basic nutrients, and don't even realise it because it's supposed to be "healthy".
What is baloney is "probiotics". A new and far more dangerous and insidious flavour that's being hailed as preventing any and all diseases, much like that other miracle cure of a few hundred years ago, the "elixirs" sold by travelling salesmen which of course did nothing at all but by the time you found that out he was long gone.
Organic bologna? Who knew?
Oh wait- balonEY. Ah - I get it - I get jokes. :>)
I am not a food nut but cutting back on carbs and taking supplements has brought my blood sugar down without medication. My husband's blood work has improved dramatically with an improved diet and vitamins.
Not paying attention to the latest nutritional research is close minded and stupid.
Of course there are people that will take supplements and eat organic food with no real knowledge as to why and what works. That does not mean that there is no benefit in soundly researched nutrition.
It's important to recognize that a "low carb" diet by definition is a high fat high protein diet. Also if you have an illness such as diabetes that can benefit from a particular diet then by all means follow your doctors advice. But understand this advice does not translate to good advice for someone without that illness.
There are no foods on our tables or in our stores that are "bad" foods or should not be eaten. There are no foods that are so good that they should be eaten in exclusion to all others. As with everything diversity and moderation should be the rule.
Organic, health food, supplements, etc. are for the rich or people who think they are rich. You are throwing your money away. These things do not make you live longer or provide better health. Most of the hype and belief is pure superstition and has nothing to do with science or reality. Some of these fads are actually harmful to your health.
The chicken we buy from a local farmer is worlds apart from what we get in the supermarket. I'm not sure what's going on at the big chicken farms, but they seem to raise poultry that mature and gain weight very quickly, resulting in flabby tasteless meat. Cook a store-bought chicken into stock and the leftover meat is papier-mache, fit for the dogs' dinner, while the local chicken is still fine for soup or dumplings after hours of simmering. Roast the two types side by side and the difference is obvious in a blind taste test. I'm just as pleased to be doing without the hormones and antibiotics, too.
I don't buy "organic" produce in the store, but we raise our own without pesticides.
I'm not a big fan of food supplements. I do think live-culture yogurt has proven benefits.
I only wish we had a Whole Foods (or, as we call it, "Whole Paycheck") within 175 miles. Their bread and dairy sections alone would make it worthwhile.
there's tricks you can use --like ice cream for instance. Always eat it standing, in the kitchen, with a very small spoon, with your other hand in a stove burner flame.
"I'll have my hot dogs with chopped onion and extra bright yellow mustard"
For as long as you're allowed to...