Saturday, September 13, 2008

Don't trust the guy with a clipboard.

I saw this today, an article about science changing perceptions of what makes healthy food.

Growing up in the 80's, I was flung around with the yo-yo of the Egg debate- it was one of the worst things you could eat because you were going to keel over from cholesterol at any second, no- just the yolk is bad... errrr... ummm... no it's okay, in fact we should all be eating more eggs because it's good cholesterol… which we didn’t know existed (oops).... carry on. We'll just be over here in a corner, trying to figure out how velcro works.

In my family, we ate a lot of eggs. Because they’re cheap and breakfast is good at dinnertime and they make superior chocolate cakes and scrambled eggs was the first thing I learned to cook. So I worried about having a heart attack on the volleyball court during 3rd period gym class.

In the 1990’s was the command to drink a glass of water every hour. That’s… almost a gallon of water a day. Putting aside the idea that humans evolved to not do anything more than a 20 minute walk from a water source being clearly inaccurate, that’s a whole lotta peeing. Who wants to spend that much time in the bathroom every day?

The last article I read was a few years ago that said milk causes cancer… maybe. Guess what I drink with my chocolate cake? And I'll not embarass myself by singing about my love of cheese. Because I can't carry a tune and that just doesn't do my love justice.

I've given up on food science. I glance through the articles now but I don’t pay a spit of attention to what the latest guy in a white lab coat is telling me about how my diet is going to kill me.

In fact, I guess you could say I boycott food science, because my biggest diet rule is to avoid eating things made in a lab. Things made in labs: sugar substitutes, butter/oil substitutes, tofurkey, anything with powdered cheese product, anything you pick up in a drive-thru. And just because the astronauts drank it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t rather have had a real orange.

I have a hard time believing something that sustained mankind for thousands of years (i.e., bread, potatoes, cows, eggs, wine) is bad and that Yellow Dye #5 is good. If I read a label and something has too many syllables or anything with 'poly' or 'mono' or 'di', I'm moving on. If you don’t know what something is, go look it up in The Food Lover’s Companion, a supremely useful reference guide that should be in every kitchen.

But Don Gorske, the obsessive-compulsive guy in Wisconsin that’s eaten 2 Big Macs a day since 1972, is proving us all wrong. Except, and this is only my personal theory, it looks like possible side effects include a stellar mullet.


Blogger Nik Snacks said...

I enjoy food science as far as the way things work in the kitchen. As far as modifying food to make it better, faster, stronger, or shelf-stable....ummm...not so much.

September 13, 2008 at 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Dana McCauley said...

Couldn't agree more Kathleen. In fact, I wrote a post on a similar theme earlier this week myself.

I find that Big Mac story fascinating. If I could commit to my fitness regime or even to taking calcium supplements the way that guy has committed to the Big Mac, I'd be pretty pleased with myself!

September 13, 2008 at 6:14 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I moved on from my intimate relationship with the Big Mac about the time I stopped laughing at "Mork & Mindy" and started finding Mork a postmodern museum exhibit for the decline of humor in western civilization. I retained, however, my Mindy fetish, which continues to this day and manifests itself in restraining orders filed by women with perfect, shoulder-lenghth bobs that never seemed to be bothered by their interaction with the air generated by their open-top Jeeps in high-altitude locales.

That said, clearly whatever Don Gorske is doing (sans coiffure) is working for Don Gorske, as is whatever the power swallowers who throat dozens of hotdogs each year on the boardwalk in the name of Nathan's every summer are doing.

We were all born individually. (McCaughey septuplets, stand over in the corner for a moment.) We eat individually. We digest individually, thank goodness, because that would be messy. And yet we're supposed to believe that one item consumed singularly over mass populations has a common thread applicable to all people everywhere, enough so that severe avoidance and limitation is preferable to enjoyment and moderation?

I think not.

Now shut up and hand me that bottle of Bordeaux. I have me a French paradox to cling to.

September 14, 2008 at 3:22 AM  
Blogger Sabra said...

I go with the theory that if it is bad for me, it is going to be really yummy. I honestly can't keep up with what is good or bad for me now a days. I like to stick with what know. So good so far.

September 15, 2008 at 8:28 PM  

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