I keep meaning to write about salt, and then I see insanity like what I’m about to share with you today. I feel constantly compelled to write about it lest someone be fooled. Of course, no one is actually reading my blog and thousands of people are reading these articles, so it’s much like hoping you can stop a tornado with a desk fan.
First in the WAIT JUST A COTTON-PICKIN’ MINUTE category we have this headline: N.J., Del, still getting fatter, says report; Pa already is. (Any of you who work in editing might be advised to calm down. Don’t smack the desk with your head. It’ll only hurt.) Now first, weren’t we just told a few months ago that we’re not getting fatter anymore? That we’d reached Maximum Fatness? More importantly…are these people serious?!?!? Here’s the explanation from the brain trust behind this study:
Ginny Ehrlich, director and senior program officer of the childhood obesity team at Robert Wood Johnson, called the progress so far “fragile.” She said the keys to improving the numbers for poorer people were to increase access to healthy and affordable food while boosting the number and safety of places where people could be physically active.
Oh, are those the keys are they Ginny? Can you please explain to us then how New Jersey can possibly be getting fatter? New Jersey is the second richest state in the nation. Their median income is $69,667, and they have the 5th lowest percentage of people living below the poverty line. 11% of the state has an income of at least $200,000 per year, which is more than any state but Connecticut and double the national average. Seriously. If New Jersey doesn’t have access to healthy and affordable (to them) food, then no one else in the country has a snowball’s chance in you-know-where of slimming down.
New Jersey is also home to three of the twenty-five “best cities for walking” in the United States. Three out of twenty-five in one city is a lot. New Jersey also has more than 375,000 acres of state park for you to be active in. The state’s not that big, folks. The whole thing is only 7,354 sq miles, of which over 586 sq miles are park: and that’s not counting city parks, county parks, or municipal parks. It’s also not counting even one private health club, or public one, of which New Jersey has many considering that they have some of the densest employment of fitness trainers, and pay them highly, too.
So no, Ginny. Being able to afford what you say is “healthy” food and having plenty of safe places to be active is clearly not the problem.
Speaking of “healthy” food, how about this article: Orthorexia: When ‘pure’ eating goes too far, victims’ health, life suffers. This is where I get a little confused. How can you eat too healthily? When you first look at it, you might think that what they mean is that taking the eating of pure food to manic extremes destroys your social life and mental health and makes you miserable. That’s very true, and that warning I can accept. But the problem is the article goes on after the first few paragraphs to say stuff like this:
Bratman, who declined to be interviewed for this story because the disorder is no longer part of his practice, wrote that his orthorexia began in the 1970s when he was a “dedicated” vegetarian living and cooking at an organic food commune. Self-denial and “pure” choices made him feel “clear-headed, strong and self-righteous.” Like Righini, he developed an aversion to produce that hadn’t just been picked and lectured friends and family about the evils of refined, processed food and the dangers of pesticides and artificial fertilizers. “My ability to carry on normal conversations was hindered by intrusive thoughts of food,” he wrote. “The need to obtain meals free of meat, fat, and artificial chemicals had put nearly all social forms of eating beyond my reach. I was lonely and obsessed.”
Experts say orthorexia becomes life-threatening when people’s food restrictions make it impossible for them to take in enough calories and nutrients to maintain good health. Bell recently treated a 14-year-old girl who ate only raw fruits and vegetables. She dropped to 80 pounds and had to be hospitalized for an irregular heartbeat.
WAIT JUST A MINUTE. I thought fruits and vegetables were good for you? I thought a vegan diet was the healthiest diet there is? I thought there was no safe limit of saturated fat? I thought meat was the undisputed killer? How can people be having this problem if they’re eating so well? I thought “intrusive thoughts of food” were only what happens fat slobs, and to people who are starving themselves to death.
That’s what Bratman was doing. He wasn’t eating any fat and meat, so starvation was exactly what was happening. He wasn’t having intrusive thoughts of food because he had some kind of mental disorder: he had intrusive thoughts of food because his body was trying to tell him he was acting like an absolute, unmitigated fool. Dr. Bratman doesn’t have “orthorexia” anymore, and he doesn’t even treat this disorder as part of his practice any longer. I have to wonder if Dr. Bratman finally realized that it was his diet that was killing him, not his mind.
Finally, if you were worried about how to have a healthy snack when you’re out in the woods that don’t exist because Ginny says there isn’t any safe access to places to be physically active in, never fear. The Gov’mint is here to save you. They’ve been doing such an incredible bang-up job over the last couple decades that now the US Forestry Service is getting in on the action! They haven’t got enough to do, apparently, and they’ve always been kind of the second-tier amongst the Ruling Class, so this is their big chance to jump in and tell schlubs like you and me what to do.
What we need to do, they say, is to replace the chocolate in our s’mores with fruit. “You will still get a tasty treat but by substituting with fruit, it is healthier…”
(insert frustrated, angry sounds here)
Note to Forestry Service: YOU ARE COMPLETELY IGNORANT ABOUT NUTRITION. STOP IT. FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, STOP!!
S’mores are made with graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate. Here’s the nutrition you get from graham crackers:
11g carbohydrate, almost all sugar
1% of your RDA of selenium
4% of your RDA of manganese
Here’s what you get with marshmallows:
6g carbohydrate, mostly sugar
So, basically, you’ve eaten nothing whatsoever.
Now if you use a milk chocolate bar in your s’mores, here’s what you get in an ounce:
17g carbohydrate, mostly sugar
8g fat, most of which is milk fat and cocoa butter
1-5% of your RDA of every essential vitamin
3-7% of your RDA of every essential mineral
None of the ingredients in a s’more are health foods–let’s not delude ourselves. But of the three, the chocolate is by far the most valuable food source. I mean, it actually has food in it. It’s not just empty sugar. And of course if you went with dark chocolate instead of milk you’d get:
13g carbohydrate, mostly sugar
12g fat, most of which is milk fat and cocoa butter
The same vitamins as milk chocolate
LOTS more minerals, including 25% of your copper, 27% of your manganese, 19% of your iron, 16% of your magnesium and over 9% of your phosphorous. In just 1 ounce.
Antioxidants in amounts higher than any “super fruit” they want to sell you at Whole Foods.
Something or other that lowers high blood pressure
So our first WAIT A MINUTE is this: why on earth does the Forestry Service want you to remove the one item in the s’mores that has actual nutritional content? Why not replace the worthless graham crackers with sliced pineapple, not the chocolate? It’s nutritional profile is almost as good as the chocolate, but of course that’s only fresh pineapple (canned is another story), and a lot of vitamin C content will be degraded when you grill it. Also, if you replace the chocolate with it you won’t be able to get much Vitamins K, A, E, or F out of it because those are fat-soluble, and you aren’t eating any fat if you don’t eat the chocolate.
The Forestry Service has another suggestion. Use angel food cake instead of graham crackers. This is AWESOME. Graham crackers give you eleven grams of sugar. Angelfood cake gets you sixteen! Score!
No wonder everyone’s fat. Good grief.
Plato says he’s hungry
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