Thursday, May 4, 2006

Healthy Schmealthy

MY AOL main screen had a headline that caught my eye: THE FIVE HEALTHIEST FOODS IN THE WORLD.  Says who?

I think healthy foods are relative. Remember when the big push was on for the green goodness of broccoli until we found out that one serving contains enough pesticides to use up your lifetime allowance. Same with grapes. I laugh when people wash grapes to get them clean. My Organic Gardening magazine used to point out that nothing can neutralize the amount of bug spray on those nodular little fruits. That's one reason why I no longer read Organic Gardening.

Another reason is they had a whole article on how you can make your very own indoor outhouse. Sorry, that totally creeped me out. Supposedly you just have to get used to not flushing. For those of us who can't get used to not flushing, there's a handle you can add to accommodate your inability to give it up. I couldn't give up on the idea that all your poops and peeps would be in the basement covered in lime. Nope, I wasn't that much of a tree hugger. I kept my toilet and gave up my subscription.

And that whole thing about the healthy Omega 3s in salmon.  Fine, as long as you can handle the PCB's and whatever new sludge they've found in that pasty pink flesh. I can't even look at swordfish without wondering how many more I have to eat before I can be certified as a thermometer.

Prior to checking out what the five healthiest foods were I decided to try to guess them for myself. No dummy here, I knew right away that chocolate covered cherries, Angus burgers, buttered anything, frosting out of a can, and a Philly cheesesteak were probably not on the list. 

I also know enough not to eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's unless nobody's around. But I can fake healthy. So mostly when I guessed the top five, I went for the fruits and vegetables. 

An orange I figured was probably very healthy because of all its anti-oxidants and colon clearing, cholesterol reducing fiber. Same for apples, bananas, and oat bran. I just couldn't think of a fifth food. 

I do think avocados deserve to be on the list. I hear rumors that they have too much this and too much that, but frankly I consider mashed avocado and chips as two of my major food groups.  

I have a friend who keeps lots of avocados in a bowl instead of fruit. She makes a point of eating at least one every day. And she can do the same moves as those couples on Dancing with the Stars at the advanced age of sixty, which, I am painfully aware, is younger than I am. Even better, she can find a guy who wants to dance with her despite that whole sixty thing. I'm sure it's the avocados.

But, let's face it, avocados wouldn't ever be considered one of the healthiest foods. Not enough good PR working for them. Like portabello mushrooms which, thanks to frou frou vegetarian chefs, are much higher up on the healthy list, assuming you like to eat things off the forest floor.

Whaddya bet the fifth healthiest food is green tea. Never has something so good for you tasted so much like compost.

I actually ordered green tea ice cream the other night. They also had vanilla and chocolate. But no-o-o-o-o. A scoop was offered for dessert with my tuna makaki, which is named for the sound you make trying to swallow those big chunks of raw fish.

My bowl of green colored ice cream arrived.  I took a bite. Everybody just stared at me when I said, "EWWWW this ice cream tastes like green tea."  Lots of sidelong glances and headnodding.  "That's because you ordered green tea ice cream."  I knew that. However, I didn't think it would actually taste like it. Nevermind, it's too hard to explain.

When I finally looked at the list of the five healthiest foods, I was not ready for what I found. In fact, I was rather disappointed.

Olive oil? Soy? Lentils? Yogurt? And kimchi? They just don't seem like they ought to be the top five healthiest foods. Ethnic yes. Healthy, not so much.

Having said that, I've already made the switch to olive oil. Sure I would prefer to peel the paper and lick a stick of butter right down to the nub, but my days of making Hollandaise sauce just to feel the cholesterol coursing through my veins have passed.  Mostly.  

Olive oil is great, once you can get past all the confusing designations of virginity, something I still don't understand entirely. I mean how virgin can something get?  EXTRA virgin totally escapes me. And not because my own virginity is such a distant memory. You either are one or you aren't I figure. People who try to explain olive oil virginity usually get caught up in their underwear explaining things like the first pressing.  That makes me think of heavyset, bearded women with feet larger than mine stomping on olives in a barrel. No thanks.

Soy is one of the five healthiest foods? How about most ubiquitous instead? It's everywhere. In everything. How does that qualify as healthy?  Lately no one seems to be sure just what it does. Soy sauce is so salty you could start your own ocean. Tofu is like mystery meat.  It takes on the flavor of what it's cooked with. Hmmmm, dee-lish.

Yogurt made the list. Not the yogurt I eat -- the Yoplait cherry flavor which tastes like a custard dessert. They're probably talking about the plain stuff from Siberia that tastes like sour cream and makes your mouth pucker.

Lentils. If ever a food looked like rabbit turds, this is the one.  Unlike Raisinets which also have that same visual appearance, lentils actually taste like rabbit turds, too. They're considered healthy because they keep you on the toilet more often. As far as I'm concerned, that's not healthy. You can get hemorrhoids from all that sitting.

And kimchi. Korea's answer to sauerkraut. I've never tried this hot cabbage dish because it sounds like it could rip a hole in your esophagus.  Since when is THAT healthy?  

This whole thing has to be a PR stunt. The kimchi, lentil, yogurt, olive oil and soy bean associations all got together and decided to call themselves the healthiest foods in the world.  Nobody asked them.They just volunteered when we weren't looking.  

What happened to the olden days when a chocolate malt and fries meant something good, not evil?



ksquester said...

I'll drink to that!   My grandmother fried everything in LARD and lived to be 97. I think it's in your genes.  Anne

sunnyside46 said...

I know where you are coming from.
Back in the day, I would eat a tab of acid with much less handwringing than I do over a cheeseburger these days.
Welcome to AARP instead of LSD.

judypearllove said...


screaminremo303 said...

I eat as healthy as I can considering my primary shopping venue hawks 2-for-1 Red Bulls next to the generic cigarettes. I just listen to my body cravings, try to take in the fewest amount of fat calories and hope for the best. Genetics is the biggest factor. You can do everything right and get hit by a truck.

Just live.

bosoxblue6993w said...

hey ... what a chromo! ... my meatball sub isn't on this damned list.

suzypwr said...

Chocolate needs to be on that list. Three billion women can't be wrong.


swibirun said...

You bring up a great point about the marketing behind this.  It's funny though, how the food is not as big of a deal when exercise regularly and don't watch 8 hours of tv a day.


mombzbe said...

I've recently rediscovered the joy that is butter.
That'll teach me to watch the Food Network when I'm sick and stuck in bed...

Moderation.  Moderation will make it all okay, as long as moderation doesn't resort to fettucine Alfredo every day. (I hear he's nice to look at and goes down easily, but is just murder on your hips. lol)