Monday, February 13, 2006

STAY HUNGRY?


A Survivor’s Recap on the Quagmire of Healthy Living

Do you like hamburgers? I do. Or did, until I started getting some delightful misinformation from acquaintances who were neither vegetarian nor Marxists.

Did you hear? Wendy’s uses horse meat in its burgers. Taco Bell has kangaroo hoofs in its burritos. KFC doesn’t use real chickens - just some genetically engineered Franken-tweety with no beak or feet. That’s why they don’t refer to it as Kentucky Fried Chicken anymore.”

So that’s where all the excess Thalidomide went.

Not being one to take such outlandishness to heart – at least not without doing my own underground research - I soon discovered no truth to any of the above mentioned.

Seems our postmodern zeal for conspiracy theories on everything from the J.F.K. assassination to what’s in the ‘special sauce’ has been proliferated by fanatical anti—corporate prophets - some perhaps even more dangerously unhinged than the monolith of greed they report to be protecting us from.

Inevitably urban fast food legends crop up around the most prominent pop-culture food-producing leviathans. Like the latest McDonalds internet bru-ha over the use of cow eyeballs in their burgers, presumably to keep the cost of beef down.

Okay, morons – I checked.

Cow eyeballs sell for nearly ten bucks a pop to medical research facilities. So if Mickey-Dee’s is using Elsie from Borden’s oculars to fill in blind spots on a Big Mac they are spending far more than they would by simply sticking the rest of poor old Elsie through the food processor.

Now, before I start receiving hate mail from parents who claim Burger King gave their seven year old coronary thrombosis, or I am inundated with crates of free coupons for Jack-In-The Box and Harvey’s, I want to be clear about two things; fast food is fast but not very healthy.

Say what?

Oh, come now…like you needed to read that in print to believe it. As though the ninety-nine cent special on spicy salsa burgers means that Grade A chuck is being used to fortify your expanding waist line.

Perhaps interjection of a very old adage would suffice more clearly here: you get what you pay for.

I lump in such naiveté in the face of sensible self preservation under the same iron lung as chain smokers who, after forty-plus years on the weed, sue tobacco companies for giving them cancer.

Ring-a-ding-dong; it’s time to accept some personal responsibility for putting toxins into your own body and then expecting a clean bill of health to emerge from this fray of chemical dependency and severe love handles.

The first point I am trying to make herein is, we all eat on the go, knowing full well that whatever is ready for us to shove down our gullet by the time we have driven to the other side of the drive-thru has not been scientifically engineered or even remotely planned with considerable health benefits and overall vitality in mind.

But we do it anyway, because we’re hungry, lazy, out of time, or just plain physically at the end of our proverbial ropes by the time four o’clock comes around.

The hitherto point is that one’s options for healthy food choices might be far more narrow than merely limiting our intake at Uncle Ronald’s.

“Okay, we’re hungry” your mind says as you drive around in search of sustenance, “What’ll it be?”

Well, you might choose a bucket of preprocessed chicken partsonly I heard from a friend of a friend who knows somebody who works there, that the grease in those vats rarely gets changed, and, some of the meat suppliers are employing genetically engineered hormones to mature their fowl from egg to slaughterhouse in just six weeks. I have no idea, nor do I want to know, what that’s doing to my small intestine.

“So what’s option B?”

Well, you could skip the main course entirely and move on to a quick sugar fix…you know, something that will have your kidneys on dialysis by the end of the decade. Try ice cream washed down with a Pepsi.

Of course, I do recall reading an article by so-and-so in some such publication about cheaper brands slipping antifreeze into my Vanilla. And then, there was that scandalous bit of business about a reputable cola company using a well known narcotic in their fizz. Since I don’t want to be spun like sugar and hallucinating pink Faygo elephants on parade with my eyes wildly ricocheting back and forth like Pac-Man I resolve to forgo sugar entirely.

And quite suddenly, in between pondering the malignancies derived from Red Dye number nine (or was it six?) I am reminded of Eric Schlosser’s fascinating study of the stop n’ go; “Fast Food Nation”.

For those not already a devotee of Mr. Schlosser – this disclaimer will suffice: If, as McDonald’s mass marketing suggests, I “can still have it my way” then I simply choose to go the grocery store, pick up some ground meat and veggies and break out the grill. At least then I don’t have to contemplate the secrets in the sauce. So with Eric in mind, I turn the car around and prepare for my ritual fast and abstinence from junk food on the long drive home.

Fine.

Forget fast food.

Forget junk food.

I’ll go it natural.

Nuts and berries and that Portobello mushroom I’ve been saving for a special occasion. There’s nothing like the goodness of Mother Nature to stir a body to health and vitality.

So…do I want the veggies sprayed with this cancer-causing pesticide or that cancer causing pesticide?

@Crabby Critic 2006 (all rights reserved).


Dear Crabby:

I am fourteen years old and want to be a vegetarian. My mother won’t let me. She says I need meat to grow bones and stuff. How can I convince her to let me give up meat?

Carrie

Dear Carrie:

You can’t. You also can’t convince me that a meat free diet is entirely healthy for anyone – but particularly for a young woman whose body has yet to fully mature. You need the sort of protein that ONLY meat can provide. There are supplements out there – workout powders mostly, like ‘Creatine’ and amino acids too…but they are what they say they are – supplements – NOT REPLACEMENTS for healthy eating.

What is it about meat that you find so distasteful? Is it the actual taste of it or is it the idea that someone had to hack into a living creature to give you a hamburger?

Personally, I don’t want to see the slaughter of an animal first hand. I have in the past and it’s not pretty. But I really don’t have any trouble cutting into a steak or breast of chicken with complete immunity from feeling guilty. I suppose you think that makes me a hypocrite. Oh, well.

Here’s the deal, Carrie. Killing an animal for food is not the same as murder. It’s just not! I want to get that concept through the cement block you’ve put up between your stomach and that plate of pork sausages currently going to waste in your freezer. As human beings we’re carnivorous creatures – WE EAT MEAT! Even the most convoluted nutritionist, hell-bent on spreading the gospel according to Greenpeace, will have to admit under their professional code of ethics that a NO MEAT diet is NOT a HEALTHY diet.

Think of it this way – in case your environmentalist side is getting the better of you. As humans we damage the planet in all sorts of other ways other than through our consumption of meat.

We pee and crap into the rivers we drink from.

We wear and use synthetics like dyed wool, plastics and leather – all of which require poisonous chemicals emitted into the sky, water, earth…you name it, just so that we can sit on our couch or walk softly on our carpets.

We burn fossil fuels in cars, busses, trains, planes.

We smoke tobacco – polluting both the air and our lungs.

We slaughter innocent trees, grass, bushes and bunnies to lay down our homes, highways, and that parking lot for the new Wal-Mart moving into your neighborhood.

If you still want to live the so called clean life – then here’s a list of items I want you to junk right now before you decide to quit eating meat. Get rid of all your hair care products, make ups, (they pollute the water) CD’s, clothes that have any sort of dye transfer colors in them, magazines, newspapers and/or books (you’re killing trees), shoes (no leather, because its murdering animals). Toss out any product made of vinyl (it emits noxious fumes during the curing process), plastic (same reason). All your memories in photographs (damaging chemicals used in the developing process). I want you to bulldoze your home and start a natural preserve…I hope you’re getting my point, how utterly absurd the whole venture is quickly becoming.

I want to make it clear: I’m not advocating that you go out and buy a butt plug and live barefoot, zitful and naked in a tree hut held together by dried leaves and your own mucus. But you do have to be sensible about these things, Carrie.

Now that cooler heads and revised intellect are prevailing once again – I want you to go out and order a steak. You need meat – Carrie. Without it there are a litany of health risks and problems in store for your future. You can cut back, if you like…to say, only one meal of meat a day. But I have to tell you this, Carrie – if you’re going to cut out meat entirely, then cut out fish too – it’s an animal…and then cut out eggs for that matter. Because every yolk you dip your toast into is a little birdie that will never be!

Isn’t that a pleasant thought to end on.

Bottom line: It’s not up to you to save the world. You’re doing your own body no favors by challenging life’s natural order. You are a MEAT EATER, Carrie. If you wanted to live off of plants you should have been born a budgie.

Yours truly,
The crabby critic

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so depressed. Today is Valentine's Day and my boyfriend did nothing for me. I sent him some saucy texts the other day that included pictures of myself in various poses and he texted back "next time warn me when you're going to do something like that so I can open them up at home". Hello! He was supposed to be home when I sent them. Where in the hell was he anyway? And then he sent me an email today saying "Don't break too many hearts." His is the only heart I'm interested in. Should I dump him? Do you think he's giving me the cold shoulder? We slept together twice. Do you think he didn't like it?
Troubled in San Fran

February 14, 2006  

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