What Do You Eat? Part 2

Eating rice cakes is like chewing on a foam coffee cup, only less filling.

–Dave Barry

In What Do You Eat part the first, I ended with a short diatribe on why I don’t prefer the whole gluten-free, low-carb, pre-packaged food movement. You know: things like low-carb pancake mixes and heritage grain gluten-free bread. Carbs-that-aren’t-carbs, I call them.

Let’s review, shall we?

My chief complaint is that they portray eating lots of grains as normal–as if someone eating steaks, vegetables sautéed in butter, and fresh berries with cream is somehow a dangerous aberration, while those eating carbage are normal. People who think of themselves or their habits as abnormal tend to want to gravitate back to “normal,” which means you think of avoiding grains and sugar as a temporary measure to achieve weight loss or a health goal. When it’s achieved, you give it up…

…and statistics say you’ll probably go right back to being fat and unhealthy, and probably fatter and more unhealthy than you were before you started.

My second issue with them is that all grains, and even some nut flours, contain anti-nutrients that need some work to get around, even if they don’t have gluten specifically.

But last night when I was supposed to be sleeping, I thought of two other big problems I have with low-carb, gluten-free foods of this sort. So I figure that now, when I’m supposed to be working, is the perfect time to blog about them!

The first one I like to call the:

The “Who are you kidding?” Factor

Let’s be frank with each other now, shall we?





And we really shouldn’t pretend it is. It’s a poor substitute for the real thing. It doesn’t taste as good, and it’s not as satisfying. Why keep yourself in a perpetual state of craving things that you realize you can no longer eat (except possibly on the rarest of rare occasions, and I’m struggling to think of the occasion you’d need to eat a peanut butter cup).

If you just ditch that stuff completely, you will likely come to find your tastes changing. It won’t happen overnight. It won’t happen overmonth, either. It might take months or even years. For me it was six months, but that’s just me. But once those tastes change, and you try eating that cake you used to think was delicious–or those pastries–you might very well find that you can’t see now what all the fuss was about. It doesn’t taste like much, which makes sense: flour is tasteless. And once you’ve made things like berries and fine dark chocolate your occasional treats, garbage like donuts just falls so far short.

I hate to be so counter-cultural so early in the morning, but it’s true. Don’t eat any white sugar or any grains for a few months and tell me I’m wrong.

The second reason I call the:

Social Factor

I’m about to drop a bombshell here. If you’re under 18, or under 18 in your maturity level, you might want to turn away at this point. Ready? Here it is:

Most people are so self-absorbed they aren’t noticing much about you, unless you give them reason to notice you.

There I said it, and I feel better.

A lot of otherwise smart adults don’t seem to get this. I hear it all the time: but if I don’t eat bread people will ask me about it. How do I have a meal with them if I won’t eat the mashed potatoes?

All I can say to this is that people just don’t care about what you’re doing nearly as much as you think they do.


But if the opinion of others worries you, the worst thing you can possibly do is start eating all that low-carb, gluten-free, carbs-that-aren’t-carbs junk. Then people will notice you.

Dream with me, will you?

Well, daydream, anyway.

It’s July 4th. The whole family is there. You’re cooking out. There are hamburgers and hotdogs and lemonade and ice tea and soft drinks. There’s watermelon and chips and pickles and potato salad and egg salad. You load your hot dog with chili and mustard and pickles and onions and cheese, but just leave the bun behind. You pile your plate with the egg salad you brought instead of potato salad, and pickles and pork rinds (YES!). You oooh and ahh with everyone over Aunt Patrice’s 4th of July cake with all the colors, and you have a slice of Susan’s blueberry pie and eat all the delicious filling, leaving the crust crumbled behind, and you bring piles of appropriately-colored raspberries and blueberries with whirls of whipped cream on top as your dessert.

Everyone has a good time, you brought some food that you could eat–but everyone else could also enjoy–and no one notices you or thinks you’re odd.

But let’s say that instead you bring the kale chips (Really! They’re just as good! You put some salt and olive oil on them and you can’t tell the difference…), and the almond coconut flour “Doritos”, and the almond and flax meal “cake” that didn’t quite rise properly and looks pretty sad there next to Aunt Patrice’s, and the heritage grains pie with the crust that cracks like pieces of drywall and doesn’t have any sugar in it (“it tastes just as good without!” you feebly intone…)

Now people don’t know what to say to you, no one wants to eat the tasteless stuff you brought, and everyone thinks you’re weird.

Let’s try another holiday. It’s Thanksgiving. You pile your plate with turkey and green beans swimming in sour cream (easily leaving behind the french fried onions), olives and fancy cheeses and some spicy sweet potatoes, deftly avoiding the marshmallow brown sugar bomb stuff, and even some amazing cranberry compote you made by cooking cranberries and grapes together. You have some salad and maybe some nuts, too. Maybe some squash casserole with Parmesan and lots of butter. For dessert, you happily accept a wedge of delicious pumpkin pie, eating the insides out of the crust, perhaps with a side of that chocolate pumpkin mousse you brought and lots of whipped cream.

You’re full; you had some treats to celebrate the holiday without setting yourself back three weeks (just maybe a day or two). Everyone enjoyed the things you brought, and it’s Thanksgiving: everyone has to pick and choose what they’ll eat. No one notices what you don’t eat.

But what if you brought the low-carb bread stuffing, and the sugar-free cranberry jello that just doesn’t quite taste right, and mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes? Chickpea crepes? That Splenda and almond flour-frosted pumpkin bar? Amaranth pie? The quinoa stuffing???!!!

Now people hate you and are making mental notes to just ask you to bring drinks next year.


Plato says he’s hungry

Help us keep paying for this site and feeding the dogs.


2 thoughts on “What Do You Eat? Part 2

  1. Another factor in this is the $$$$. All those fake desserts, gluten free, heritage grain, almond flour, etc carries all the negatives you have just described and at 3 times the price! Same with Atkins approved candy So on top of all the draw backs here noted you can also add paying vastly more to eat that crap.

    1. This all is all is awesome except one thing. . . Kale chips are DELICIOUS!!!!! They are not potato chips but covered in fresh garlic, salt and olive oil they are wonderful.

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