Lasagna is great, therefore other food products should be banned

I once put a spoonful of brown rice in my mouth and gagged a little.  My husband had been eating it and this made me wonder how I could ever have married him.  This gag reflex made me realize that I am a much better person than the type of person who eats that nasty stuff.  I grew up eating real food so I have a natural tendency to dislike foods that are dissatisfying and make me unhappy.  I have a great respect for my own health and I am therefore obligated to tell you why you should only eat food that gives you energy, tastes wonderful and makes you feel really happy.  Lasagna is the best possible food for this and all other non-lasagna food products should therefore be removed from our grocery store shelves.  I’m sure that once I have educated you regarding the facts, you will begin to remove other foods from your diet.  Once this is accomplished, we as the educated few, are obligated to campaign to pass laws removing other foods from our shelves so that the unfortunate and uneducated are not tempted by the wrong kinds of food.  Lasagna has been scientifically proven to contain nutrients, vitamins and minerals that enhance health and more importantly; the pasta in lasagna provides a readily available source of glucose to feed our brains.  Without the starch, protein and fat provided by lasagna, our brains would starve and we would all die.  I feel good about the all natural products that go into lasagna and love that my eating these ingredients contributes to society as a whole and to our environment.  I am proud that by buying meat and dairy products I am contributing to the birth of hundreds, if not thousands, of cattle and dairy cows that would otherwise have never been born and kept safe and healthy by a caring farmer and other contributing members of society.  It makes me sad that less environmentally conscious folks refuse to understand the importance of this contribution to our planet.  As the educated elite, we need to make sure that every person on our planet has access to just the right amount of lasagna to compensate exactly for his daily caloric expenditure.  We also need to make sure that no other toxic food sources containing unhealthy ingredients and chemicals; that make me gag and drain my energy are available to the general public.  Twinkies may be ok (every now and then) but lentils, soy milk, tofu and raw carrots must be banned immediately.  Once we have achieved our goals of removing all lasagna non-compatible items from our stores, and of providing just the right daily allotment to the general public; obesity and all the medical problems associated with obesity will disappear and our national health care system will no longer be drained of important resources that can be used to fight more important diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.  Many of you are already smart enough to know what foods you should and should not eat, but please help me educate the masses who are obviously clueless.

This was inspired by some of the idiotic ‘health food’ articles that I’ve been reading in my Lifetime Fitness magazine lately.  Do you think they’ll publish this?  A letter to the editor maybe?

CHEMICALS ARE BAD

My sister recently told me about a friend of hers who was traumatized by a recipe that included a packet of dry Italian dressing seasoning because it contained “chemicals”.  There seems to be a societal trend for prejudice against chemicals.  I find it a bit strange that people have this rose-colored view of what the world would be like without chemicals (and without technology which they also perceive as uniformly bad —but that’s another story).  I realize that some chemicals are toxic in large doses and maybe if I had young children with developing brains I would be a little more careful about washing off the trace amounts of pesticides from their apples and pears (http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/index.jsp ).  But for me, trace toxins are not a big deal, I certainly prefer toxins to worms!  I have been eating fruits and vegetables with trace amounts of pesticides my whole life and I seem to have turned out ok.  I looked at the ingredients in the offending Italian dressing packet and the only two ingredients that weren’t herbs/salt were maltodextrin (sugar/ food stabilizer/enhancer) and xanthan gum (emulsifier and stabilizer) http://www.chymist.com/Food%20Additives-What%20they%20do.pdf .  These are extremely common food additives and most food additives are completely non-toxic.  Of course there are some food additives that it would probably good to avoid http://www.sweetpoison.com/food-additives-to-avoid.html.

The thing that worries me is that highly educated people have this misguided notion that anything natural is good for you and that anything man-made is bad.  The reality is that how a chemical was synthesized has nothing to do with its potential toxicity except perhaps that natural vitamins and foods are not pure and therefore are more likely to contain unknown chemicals mixed in with the known chemicals.  I remember learning in a toxicology class that when you grow vegetables without pesticides, natural selection helps them to build up their own natural toxins to ward off pests.  It you want to avoid chemicals in your diet, it seems to me that it would be a good idea to do a little research and learn which ones are toxic and which ones are not.  Most of the nastiest toxins known to man are created by nature.

A friend of mine who happens to be a chemist made a comment about milk that was even more bizarre than the comment made by the person who was traumatized by the Italian dressing packet.  She said that she avoids milk because it’s acidic (as she sipped her wine).  I’ve heard this concept of avoiding acidic foods before and I’d love to know who started this whole ‘acidic foods are bad’ idea.  I looked up the acidity (pH) of milk and it was something like 6.8, which is pretty darn close to neutral (7).  If you’re worried about acids, don’t drink orange juice and lemonade, but milk?  Better yet, go ahead and drink the orange juice.  Then, if you think you might get indigestion, take an antacid.  The irony to me is that the pH of our stomachs is extremely acidic, so when you add something less acidic than your stomach (even orange juice, lemons and vinegar are less acidic than your stomach) you are essentially making your stomach less acidic than it already is.  Besides our stomach and kidneys work very well together to regulate the acidity of our bodies extremely efficiently.  You would really have to do something drastic like eat a handful of aspirin or vomit for 3 days in order to alter the pH of your body.  Why people make up reasons to avoid a food or drink that doesn’t cause them any problems is a mystery to me.  My theory is that they make excuses for foods they don’t like and then completely ignore potential toxins in foods that they do like.  I have another friend who insists that milk is bad for you because 60% (I don’t remember her exact number) of the world is lactose intolerant.  Why would I care if you’re lactose intolerant?  I’m not lactose intolerant.  I like milk and milk likes me.  If milk doesn’t like you, feel free to avoid it but leave me alone.

I think a food scientist and a toxicologist should get together and start a blog about the benefits and dangers of both natural and man-made “chemicals” in food.  Maybe they could help people get over their irrational food phobias.

Comment:  I included the links because they seemed reasonably informative, I didn’t really look at them carefully enough to decide how accurate they might be.

S’mores for adults

Spread one grahm cracker with nutella; spread one grahm cracker with marscopone.  Put them together.

-Aldo

The ‘TNT’ Diet

I’m on a ‘new’ diet.  Aldo informed me that he bought a few books including cookbooks because he knew I had been talking about going on a diet.  I don’t remember that conversation.  I whine about being fat, but I don’t remember suggesting a diet.  So, turns out he tricked me into going on the Atkins diet.  I read the TNT book and it is a blatant Atkins rip-off.  In fact, I’m not sure how they can get away with giving it their own name.  The good news is that the food is fabulous.  Aldo has made stuffed pork chops, greens with tomatoes, fish with real butter and a broccoli salad with cashews, mayo, cheese and bacon that is fabulous!!  Fried cheese and whipping cream are considered ok.  I can’t complain about what I CAN eat, which is more than I can say for most diets.  The bad news is that my body isn’t stupid.  It knows I’m in ‘starvation-mode’ so of course the thing I crave most is carbs, more specifically, fruit juice!  Aldo hasn’t actually read the book, so he’s basically just cooking things from the cookbook.  It took him a couple days to realize that I was eating pasta for lunch before he started sending me to work with cans of kipper snacks or leftovers from dinner.  The idea is that we’re allowed to eat carbs every now and then (just one day a week for the first 4 weeks) on a day when we exercise enough to burn it all off.  I promised that I would try this for a week before deciding if it’s working or not.

Veggies

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Veggy update.  Turns out the problem with this ‘resolution’ is not making the vegetables, it’s eating them.  The cabbage soup just isn’t something I’m excited to come home and eat.  Also, Aldo does most of the grocery shopping and he doesn’t remember to buy veggies or know which ones I like.

My New Years ‘resolution’ is to eat more vegetables. Specifically, I am going to make one vegetable-rich dish every Sunday for the next 4 Sundays. And maybe one additional vegetable as a side dish one weekday/week. I agree with the ‘experts’ who say that a New Years resolution that is vague such as: lose weight, exercise more or get out of debt are doomed to failure, so I decided to be specific. The idea is that in the next few weeks I’ll get in the habit of making a few vegetable dishes and continue making the ones I like. I made vegetable soup yesterday. It’s sort of like that cabbage soup from that ‘cabbage soup diet’ that was popular in the 80s. Not great, but somewhat filling and theoretically good for me. I also made a stir fry which was ok, but I want to try it again with a LeAnn Chin’s sauce or some other stir-fry sauce from the grocery store (mine wasn’t that great).