Look at it. LOOK. All orangey and evil. Taunting you with it’s citrusy goodness but lurking behind the scenes is a devil in a pulpy disguise!
I recently read an article that was called “The Top 10 Good Foods That Are Actually Bad for You”. Listed among these foods were two that, I’ll admit, threw me completely for a loop; orange juice, and whole grain bread. The article goes on to explain how orange juice is typically made of pure sugar with orange concentrate or orange flavoring and are ‘rarely juice’. Likewise, whole grain breads are made with brown sugar, molasses, and other sweeteners that make it more palatable. While this may be true of some brands, it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the norm. Nor, for that matter, is it worth avoiding. I grew up on orange juice. I drank liters of the stuff in college. And I, to this day, have a cup every morning with my breakfast – it’s like natural red bull. What aggravated me about this blanket statement was that it was only partially factual and it seemed primarily intent on scaring people away from what has become a ‘staple’ drink in our culture for hundreds of years or more.
Delicious orange juice aside, this all leads to this concept of nutritional fear mongering. It’s slowly crept over us like a slow moving storm front for about a decade now. From the basic:
“Stay away from carbs”
“Dont eat sugars and avoid high fructose corn syrup”
To the more ‘scientifically backed’
“Spinach and Kale riddled with salmonella”
“Tainted meat found to possess e-coli bacteria”
But now..orange juice? What’s next? We can’t have water?!
We’re living in an age where everything, it seems, is designed to frighten us. Seemingly everything causes cancer from Aspartame to Alcohol, Pot to Phenylketonurics. Heart disease exponentially increases with the consumption of red meats high in fats. Avian flu can be passed from tainted chickens to humans. Soy milk causes increased estrogen production. Dairy a leading cause of acid reflux and gastric disease. Red #5 food coloring potentially the cause of brain illnesses such as ADHD and hyperactivity. And it goes on and on and on…
I can’t help but read all this and get aggravated. Mainly because I can now no longer just go to the grocery store and get the groceries without doing a google lookup on the FDAA studies that were done prior to releasing [insert any product here] to the marketplace and reviewing it against Web MD to find any health related correlations.
Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating. (maybe..) But the point being where does it end and is this all really necessary? I was sucking down Ecto-Cooler like it was my job when I was a kid and I turned out just fine…*twitches* (kidding)
Hundreds of years ago our ancestors ate very similarly to the way we do now. In fact, there’s an entire diet specifically revolving around this concept called ‘Paleo’. Fresh vegetables from the garden, slaughtered animals for their beef, pork and poultry, and – god help us all – squeezed out some juice from an orange every now and again. Did they lie awake at night wondering if they were going to keel over because they ate that pork shoulder? Did they suddenly go out and start sucking down tomato juice because the lycopene would bolster their heart? Did someone walk up to the iceberg lettuce, jonesing for a nice chef salad and say, “Nah man, not today. Lettuce has too much algae.”
People run screaming to the organic foods now thinking that simply because it’s stamped ‘Organic’ it MUST be better for me not realizing that, depending on what it is you’re buying, it’s not all that different. Did you know that unless it says “100% Organic” that it can range anywhere from 90% organic and up? Theoretically containing the same fertilizers you’re trying to avoid. It’s also worth noting that the nutritional value of an apple vs an ORGANIC apple is nearly identical. The principle difference being in how it was grown. Regardless of this fact, the media has everyone convinced that paying triple the price for ‘organic’ is worth it because ‘non organic’ is bad for you.
Cmon now people.
Maybe I just “know too much” because I am a part of that food culture but I’d like to think it’s not just me. You turn on the TV, you read the news, the blogs, you hear it on the radio to work. Every day something we’ve already been consuming for years turns out to be bad for us, and we immediately look elsewhere. You know what? We wouldn’t be looking at the “low fat” sour cream if you’d kept your mouth shut about how much fat was in regular sour cream. And NOW they’re telling us low fat sour cream is WORSE because it contains a higher caloric content.
Here’s an idea. How about I just eat some fucking sour cream? Cool? Cool.
All I’m saying people is life short. To me, food is one of lifes greatest joys. It is, by its very definition, that which provides the energy and sustenance required for the human body to function…and it can taste pretty damn great too. Don’t let these people ruin your meals, seep into your brains with their marketing and their ‘research studies’ and fear monger their way across your shopping list. We grew up on orange juice, whole milk, wonder bread, and Hi-C. As nation (as a whole) we are overweight and there an ‘obesity epidemic’. That is indisputable. But I think it’s unfair to place the blame on the food alone. We’re fat because it’s $1.29 for a bacon cheeseburger and $6.99 for a salad with chicken, not because I have a piece of buttered toast with my morning newspaper.
Am I encouraging that you go out and buy 6lbs of bacon and go to town? No. I’m just saying don’t look at the bacon and immediately go “Wow that’s fatty. That’s bad for me and will lead to increased risk of heart disease, pulmonary embolism, and death. I’ll have some celery instead.” I’m sure there are some things to avoid but for the most part, you’ll probably be OK. Everything in moderation. Exercise. Control your portions. Eat healthy, eat natural, and eat what you want to eat.
Years from now I’m probably going to have a massive heart attack, a victim of not listening to the journals, reports, and warnings. Crumpled up on the floor with a nice pile of scrambled eggs and bacon on the table and a tall glass of orange juice still clutched in my hand.
[EDIT: I am neither a doctor, nor a nutritionist, nor have a background in medicine, food, health and wellness, or even biology. I just like food. That is all.]