Monday, January 07, 2008

Bob Vila Would Not Eat Low-Carb Ice Cream

There is no experience as heart-breaking as coming home from Europe to the US and then eating. I have made this fall from food grace five times now, and it's painful every time. The five steps are:
  1. Denial. The food in the US can't really be that bad, can it?
  2. Anger. Why the hell is our entire country's food supply such a disaster. Why are there hormones in the milk? Why is their E Coli in the meat? Why doesnt' a tomato have any flavor any more? Why is it legal to sell a baked good that can go unrefrigerated for four years?*
  3. Bargaining. So you make a plan - I'll make my own bread, I'll go to whole-foods, I'll give up Doritos, anything!
  4. Depression. What's the point of eating?
  5. Acceptance. Let's go to Taco Bel..
If you haven't been to France or Italy, here's what I have experienced: food is of better quality all the way up and down the spectrum. From the sandwich you buy on the street to a restaurant meal, the ingredients are better, the preparation is better, the experience is just better.

Now if I may tangent slightly, Lori and I made a really really good pizza the other day. The dough was made from scratch (thanks to our bread-maker this is really easy), cooked on stone, with caramelized onions and fresh Mozzarella, it was just a really good pizza.

But if you buy into the latest "healthy eating" trends in the US, what we did was not healthy because it's high in carbohydrates.

So here's my rant: back in the 70s, fat was the evil food. Americans ate a ton of processed food. So the food companies did their best to remove as much fat as possible from processed food. We kept eating processed food (now jam packed with carbohydrates) and we continued to get fat.

Then the Atkins diet gets all trendy*, and the processed food companies try to remove all carbs from processed foods, we keep eating processed foods, and we keep getting fat.

Perhaps we should just stop eating processed foods?

* I had a science teacher in 7th grade who took a Twinky, injected it with water from a local pond (read: water with a heavy concentration of microorganisms) and then left it on top of the blackboard on a shelf. Several years later he took a job in another state. Before he left, he unwrapped the Twinky and cut it in half. There was absolutely no sign of organic growth.

** I know many people who have lost weight from the Atkins diet. But the trend I see is that it really really disrupts your regular eating habits. I can't help but wonder to what extent the Atkins diet causes weight loss by either (1) lowering total caloric intake or (2) eliminating "empty" foods like processed snacks.

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