Tuesday, January 6, 2015

From the Archives

I don't know how many years ago I wrote this, it was in my undated collection of prompts, not any blog archives; but I just flipped through and saw it, and thought it fit very well with both the typical New Year's uber-vigilant diets and with one of the books I recommended yesterday. I've added editorial notes in brackets.

"What's one thing people are most afraid of? I could make a case for food, I think. Parents are desperately afraid their kids will be malnourished, women [and men] are afraid food will make them fat, everyone thinks too many steaks will give them a heart attack. Anorexia, bulimia, obsessive dieting and reading nutrition labels, we're driven by the latest expert advice and superfoods. Food is no longer pleasure and satiation, it's fear.

We think we might get addicted and spiral out of control or something, but it's not something you can cut out completely, no one can not eat. So it's harder to control. We try, though -- there are all sorts of lists of 'never', depending on who you are. French fries, soda, fast food, meat, whole milk, trans fats, non-organic, additives and colorings. [Heck, now gluten is bigger than all of those.] Add in the growing concerns (sometimes also over-obsessions) with food allergies, and all of a sudden my kids can hardly choose anything for their daily classroom snack. The official list of suggestions is mostly small variations on processed, carb-loaded items such as pretzels, goldfish, and graham crackers. Seriously unappealing. [I have a daughter now who has simply opted out of the midday snack, she just waits until she gets home rather than choosing from such limited options.]

It seems like the more you read, the more you try to find a solution, the more you realize that ignorance was definitely bliss. I was happily unaware of the real prevalence of GMOs until recently, and have found my limit of what I will do to avoid 'evil food'. I've already stopped buying grapes from Chile, shrimp from Thailand (which seems to be the only available shrimp), non-stir peanut butter, margarine and shortening, storebought bread, olive oil that is sourced from unknown/multiple countries, skim milk; I've seriously reduced our consumption of meat overall; we've also gotten away from industrial salad dressings, and we only eat cold cereal once a week. So you know what? I'm just going to keep using canola oil for my cooking, despite its GMO status and longer-chain fatty acids. Too bad. [Ha ha, joke's on me -- I finally found an acceptable substitute for canola oil, and have been using peanut oil for some time now.]

So why does one bite of something make us cringe with such irrational fear? I'm so glad I'm not afraid of fat anymore, though that took some real convincing; it is such liberation!!!"

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