Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nothing Good Can Come of This

A diet is the penalty we pay for exceeding the feed limit. - Anonymous

Not a day goes by that we don't see either some ad for a diet product, or some study on how America has the most Cartmans fat assed kids in the whole world. What we're eating is important. How we're eating it is, too. Just today I saw an article about how McDonald's is going to half the size of the orders of fries in the Happy Meals targeted at children. They're even going to be putting apples in each of those happy little boxes.

A couple things in the news today have caught my eye and I've decided I want to talk about them.

First is the Paleo Diet. Also called the Caveman Diet, this supports the idea that we should be eating more like the cavemen did. (Although where the hell I'm supposed to get a Brontosaurus burger is beyond me.) On first glance, this seems to be almost the ideal diet. No processed foods, no complicated recipes, no additives... they don't even want you to eat gluten. (I have my own theories on the whole gluten-free fad, none of which I'll share here. Make your own decision by Googling pros and cons.) "You exclude grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar and processed oils.*" Ok. Yeah. Sure. 

My problems with the Caveman Diet? First of all, it really hasn't been studied for effectiveness and safety. So, for now, it's just a fad diet.

Secondly, the words "organic" and "grass fed" are all over both of the web pages I've linked to about this diet. The term "organic" causes me some issues. The organic food industry is largely unregulated. For a farmer to be able to label their food as being organic in the US, the guidelines are as follows: at least a certain percentage of the food's total plant and animal ingredients must be organic (95% in the United States) and any non-organically produced ingredients are subject to various agricultural requirements. Foods claiming to be organic must be free of artificial food additives, and are often processed with fewer artificial methods, materials and conditions, such as chemical ripening, food irradiation, and genetically modified ingredients. Pesticides are allowed so long as they are not synthetic.

All fine and dandy, if the producers are regulated, which they are in some cases, but not all. This means that there could be god only knows what in your nice little packaged marked "organic, grass fed beast of some sort." Pesticides? Chemicals? Fillers? Missing PETA members? Yeah, buy organic if you know the source. If you got a little old wrinkled Amish farmer up the road from you and you know he's only giving his cows and pigs the good shit, then by all means buy his sausage and rump roasts. Otherwise? Beware.

My second problem with organic is that it's usually just too fucking expensive. Why is the food that's better for you always higher priced? Great. I can't afford premium grade-A organic beef tenderloin, so I'll go buy forty-four packages of turkey, chicken and other meat hot dogs. (In the Dan Akroyd/John Candy movie The Great Outdoors, they referred to hot dogs as "lips and assholes." Seriously. Even the raccoons did.) Why don't I just go balls-out and buy a case of potted meat. Yeah. Yum.

Ok. Different, but related train of thought. I saw a page on today about the current (alarming) trend of diet food made to be eaten in large quantities (because even fat asses on diets have the right to gorge themselves.) Now, this isn't in reference to people like my mother. After she had a heart attack, she took to eating Snack Wells cookies. A box at a time. In one sitting. Because diet obviously meant better for her.

No, this article references two products in particular: a soy based noodle product, and an "ice cream replacement." A what? Like ice cream can ever be replaced? I've heard of Skinny Cow (taste = eh), but this stuff is called Arctic Zero and it's supposed to be about 150 calories a pint. It comes in several flavors (including chocolate peanut butter) but is actually being marketed as a frozen protein shake. The nutritional value is actually a broken image right now. Sorry. I did find out that I can get it at a store not too far from where I live. But I don't think I'm going to make the trip. I can get Ben & Jerry's from the convenience store up the street. Calorie count if I eat a whole pint of Karamel Sutra? 1040. Awesome. But at least I know what the fuck I'm eating. 

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