Eat This, Not That Other Stuff
By Rob Hoffman on May 24, 2018 at 5:29 AM
A few years ago, a book came out that became very popular amongst those who spend a lot of their time dieting. The book was called Eat This, Not That. Its popularity came about as a result of the following in my humble opinion:
Americans are always dieting because let’s face it, we’re fat.
The book was small, easy to read, the pages were colorful, and it had a lot of pictures, most of which were of food, which fat people like.
It blew the lid off of the nutritional nightmare that is to be found in most restaurants.
It’s informative in that it allowed people who have various health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and lactose intolerance to make informed decisions.
It allowed people to discuss food which is another thing that fat people love to do.
The book was so popular that it spawned an entire series of sequels and follow ups that expanded upon the information that it originally provided. The books look like this.
Image result for eat this not that new york times
Diet books love to tell you that their diet plans are not diets. Whenever somebody tries to tell you that what they’re selling is not what you think, it’s definitely that thing exactly. (You Tube)
The epicenter of all of this was an organization called the Center for Science in the Public Interest. This non-profit organization created in 1971, exposed the caloric nuclear bombs that many restaurants were serving up. Amongst the foods that the “CSPI” took down, included, but were not limited to…
Kung Pao Chicken – The reveal of this dish as a poor choice for dieters shocked a lot of Americans who had been led to believe that a diet born of Asian design would automatically be healthy since so many from the largest contingent seem to live a life of quiet fulfillment, good health and tranquility, where they rarely overindulge themselves in greed or gluttony. (That’s if every episode of “Kung Fu” that I’ve ever seen is to be believed.)
Fettuccine Alfredo – The “CSPI” dubbed this most rich and delectable of Italian dishes, “A plate of heart attack.” (Oh yeah, what if I eat it with a “Diet Coke?”)
McDonald’s and other “Fast Food” fare – Talk about telling us what we already knew. Imagine, McDonald’s and KFC are bad for you.
TGIF’s – They really hit Friday’s, Applebees, Chili’s, and the rest of these kitsch places pointing out how high in calories and fat their dishes were, even their salads. Still, who can resist all of the “crazy crap” on the wall.
White Flour – Apparently, the type of bread we eat is really bad. We also eat a lot more corn than we think, because corn is literally in everything.
Image result for fettuccine alfredo you tube
There are few dishes that I enjoy more and eat less than fettuccine Alfredo. All I can imagine is being in a restaurant, and I’m found slumped over a plate of fettuccine, and the paramedics all mock me in unison for not heeding the warnings from the “CSPI.” That’s no way for a fat guy to die. (You Tube)
While many Americans may have seen this information as their own personal dietary “come to Jesus” moment, others I’m sure waved off the warnings and continued to do as they pleased. It’s funny how we as Americans are very particular regarding the scientific information that we choose to believe. I’m starting to understand climate change deniers and creationists a little better, although, not really.
Bad “p.r.” however, can wreck it for certain foods. When I was a young reporter for the Oswegonian, (One of the 20 most influential college newspapers in the SUNY system, a publication voted “Most likely to be read while suffering from a hangover.”) during my collegiate years at SUNY Oswego, I wrote a story for the paper about the dining halls, and the food that they served. While the fare offered up at Oswego St. was often better than fair, they tried to also be calorie conscientious for those students attempting to avoid the “freshman 15,” or the “sophomore 17,” and even the “5th year super-senior 30.” As a result, the good-hearted people who ran dining services decided to put the calorie totals on the daily menus. This meant that now, a college student at SUNY Oswego would be making a well-informed decision before they imbibed in let’s say five “Buffalo-style” chicken wings, which were approximately 500 calories, or a Reuben sandwich which clocked in at an impressive 450 calories. Did this deter the students, and affect their choices? Well, while I not only witnessed a student eat 100 chicken wings before going off to see The Who at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, I also saw a friend of mind put down four Reubens, which matched roughly the entire caloric intake of the entire nation of Eritrea on any given day in the 1980s, which told me that some people are never deterred, and always play like champions…of unhealthy eating.
Image result for reuben sandwich youtube
Don’t go around blaming the Reuben for your weaknesses. If you just eat the sauerkraut on the sandwich and chuck the rest, you’ll be fine. (You Tube)
Eventually, the calorie totals disappeared from the menus in the dining halls. I did a little more digging in my “Woodward/Bernsteinian” way, and found out that the caloric totals were in fact affecting people’s decision-making regarding what they were choosing to eat, and so, bye-bye calorie counts, hello double-extra large.
Perhaps no single individual has done more to impact the information available to American consumers than the former mayor of New York City, and exceedingly short billionaire, Michael Bloomberg. Mayor Bloomberg not only made it literally impossible to smoke in New York City, he made it very difficult to eat all of the “goodies” people have traditionally enjoyed without having to feel seriously guilty. Thanks to Mayor Mike, all restaurant chains in New York City have to list their calorie information on all menus. This of course allows consumers to make an informed decision. Has it had any impact however on people’s eating and purchasing habits? Well, according to a study commissioned by seven New York University and Yale professors, customers at four fast-food establishments, including McDonald’s, KFC, Wendy’s, and Burger King, located in some of the poorer neighborhoods in New York City, revealed that only half of the customers even noticed the nutritional information. Of those, 29% said it influenced their decision to eat healthier. However, upon checking the receipts of customers at these restaurants, it was found that their orders actually contained more calories than before the caloric information law had taken effect. Apparently, people want what they want, when they want it.
Image result for michael bloomberg getty images
While I applaud former Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt to coerce New Yorkers into making healthier choices, if he’s really wondering how to accomplish this, he might want to start distributing some of that endless cash that he’s sitting on top of. He can pay me to eat healthier anytime. (Getty Images)
It should be noted that it’s not just calories that concern consumers, there seems to be a spate of dietary issues that many Americans are dealing with today. If you’re of a certain age, my age for example, then you have probably been taken aback by all of the maladies that affect so many in our society, particularly our children. This has created many stressful scenarios for the parents of these resistance deficient children every time they leave the house and get something to eat. Amongst the foods that it would appear have the killing capabilities of “SEAL Team Six,” include, but are not limited to…
Peanuts – Peanuts are so deadly, that President Trump has claimed that Iran broke its promise not to produce weapons of mass destruction literally based on the popularity of the peanut in that nation. “Mr. Peanut,” has become the Heinrich Himmler of the snacking universe.
Gluten – Go ahead, admit it. You have no idea what a “Gluten” is. Food companies know this as well, and so they will put the term “Gluten Free” on their packaging even though the food they are selling never included gluten. The same trick was attempted with foods that didn’t contain cholesterol back in the “anti-cholesterol” craze of the 1980s and ’90s. “Hey look, this oatmeal doesn’t have cholesterol, it’s safe to eat.” At any rate, gluten is a substance found in wheat, and it causes a reaction in people who are said to have celiac’s disease. Celiac’s disease affects the body’s immune system, causing the body’s defenses to treat gluten like a foreign invading body. This can cause the immune system to attack the stomach, and create all sorts of digestive issues, as well as anemia. While the effects of celiac’s seem real enough, keep two things in mind. Firstly, everybody seems to know a whole lot of people who suffer from celiac’s despite the fact that it affects only 0.7% of the population, and secondly, I never knew a single individual who suffered from this throughout my entire childhood. How is that possible?
Lactose Intolerance – When I first heard about this disorder, I literally thought it was one of the worst maladies that a human being could suffer from. You can’t have ice cream? What kind of benevolent higher power would allow for such a horrible condition? It also makes you wonder how the human body could reject what is essentially milk, when we are all dependent upon it at one time or another. I honestly can’t fathom a life without ice cream. I feel that these individuals may be the bravest souls known to man. I applaud them, pity them, and wonder, are they just doing this for attention?
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Hey, lactose intolerant humans, milk me! (You Tube)
Because so many Americans seem to suffer from such a vast variety of dietary restrictions, even though we remain the fattest country in the industrial world, many food manufacturers have taken to creating what I derisively refer to as “fake food.” Now I understand that there are many people whose dietary restrictions are serious, and they simply can’t enjoy many of the foods that the rest of us take for granted, but I’m referring to those individuals who are choosing not to eat the real version of a food or substance, claiming that they can’t “handle” the real thing. A pox upon them I say. What foods do I refer to you ask? Well, here’s a brief list of foods that really aren’t food.
Almond Milk – Sorry, you want to call it “Almond Water,” fine. You want to refer to it as “Almond Juice,” I’m down with that. However, calling it milk is nonsense. Coconut milk is at least a natural substance found in coconuts, but almonds have no liquid flowing through their center, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think you’ll find any teats on an almond either.
Soy Milk – As with almond milk, it’s a fraudulent version of the wholesome treat. All you have to do is soak and grind soybeans, boil the mixture, and filter out the remaining particles…whatever they are. Try dunking a cookie into it.
Boca Burgers – It’s endlessly fascinating to me the lengths vegetarians will go to, in order to make everything they eat taste and look like meat while professing an utter abhorrence to eating it. If you love vegetables so much, eat them the way the good Lord intended, deep-frying them in a heavy batter, and filled with Cheese Whiz.
No-Nut Peanut Butter – Apparently it’s made with peas. There’s no way that can stick to the roof of your mouth.
Soy Cheese – Have you ever seen it in the dairy section of your local grocer? It looks incredibly #sad. It’s like they don’t even let it play with the other cheeses. I’m sure there’s some overachiever out there however who eats it, and will tell you that they really can’t tell the difference. You sir, are an abomination. Good day to you sir! I said good day!!
Image result for sitting alone in school cafeteria you tube
The peanut free table may in fact be the last form of allowable segregation in the United States. On the other hand, instead of having to live with the stigma of not having friends, you could just say that you’re allergic to nuts, and that’s why you sit by yourself. (You Tube)
People have a right to know what’s in their food. However, sometimes when we find out what it is exactly we are ingesting, we’re a little sorry we asked in the first place. Perhaps ignorance is bliss. People didn’t worry about these things 50 or 60 years ago, and they seemed fine. Sure, the average life expectancy was about 10 years less, but you really got to live on the edge. People didn’t waste their precious time worrying about what was in the glorious Twinkie. You opened the wrapper, took a big bite, and hoped for the best. So what if the third ingredient in the Twinkie was paint thinner, you were blissful in your ignorance, just the way any good population should be.