Real Food

vitamins

I hate vitamin supplements.

Well, I don’t hate them, but the evidence indicates that they are not necessary for most people in first world countries under most circumstances.

We used them in a hospital setting, but that was with people who were already ill.

There are diseases that can cause vitamin deficiencies. My mother is a good example. She is a celiac.  Not the fake “I’m gluten-sensitive” currently popular type, but the real deal. She was celiac long before being gluten-intolerant was cool.  In addition, she contracted non-tropical sprue (an intestinal disorder) just after World War II when she was en route to the United States on a bride ship from Australia.

The doctors had no idea what was wrong with her. They didn’t know about either condition. One specialist told her she probably had leukemia.

At any rate, as a result, she became very deficient in Vitamin B-12 and had to take shots. I remember her doing this when I was a child.  She gave them to herself which always fascinated me.

When I went to nursing school, I bullied her until she went to see an internist I knew and he diagnosed her as celiac just from a  brief conversation (later confirmed with actual tests).  Her gut began to heal and she no longer needs the vitamin shots.

So that’s an example of a necessary use of vitamin supplementation.  Pregnancy is another. (Folic acid tablets are simply too easy and cheap to risk spina bifida by not doing it.) But most people don’t need them. As one of my doctor friends used to say, all people are doing is creating very expensive urine. That is because the usual first-world diet has all the vitamins and minerals any human being needs.

So here I agree with Nicole.

I will pause for a moment while you pick your jaw up off the floor.

Eat real food.

But then she just drives right off the cliff.

“Real food.”

There are two big problems with her statement.

First Problem:  Nicole is the biggest hypocrite on the planet.

chocolatecake

Chocolate cake for breakfast.  It’s obvious that 13 people didn’t have chocolate cake for breakfast unless she bought six of these, so one assumes that Nicole bought it and hoarded it for herself, but still, she had cake for breakfast and dares anyone to criticize her.

For the record, as you’ll see, I’m not critical of her choice. I’m critical of her bullshit hypocrisy.

hardees

See? They’re at Hardee’s, having “real food.”

hardees2

They go there a lot, as you can see.

gyro

She’s gonna go get her a nice gyro.  “Real food” from the takeout place.

icecream

Here’s some “real food.”  How much do you bet she bought this someplace?  We have ice cream here too.  Sometimes we buy it, but often we make it from our cow’s cream.

nachos

And she starts them young with that “real food.”  Super nachos from Hardee’s.

softdrinks

Just so you know, Alex Jones is a blithering idiot and ninety percent of the stuff from his site is total bullshit.  “Chemicals” in soft drinks are fine. They are not “habit forming” or “addictive.”  The problem with too many soft drinks is too much sugar.

drpepper

If that is the case, why in the world do you post shit like this, Nicole?

starterkit

It’s quite true that nicotine and caffeine and alcohol are all mind-altering drugs.  (I’m not sure why the Mars bar is there, except for the idea that somehow sugar is bad, which it is not – unless they are representing chocolate, and Nytol and Ritalin aren’t pretending to be anything at all other than drugs, one by prescription and the other over the counter).

I don’t consume caffeine in very large quantities because I have a problem with rebound headaches if I do.  It’s present in chocolate, but in small quantities. And alcohol, while it is a drug, is nice in small amounts and I partake from time to time, but have rarely been drunk.

However, there is no evidence, zilch, nada, that would suggest that if you use alcohol or caffeine or nicotine, you are somehow going to progress to other drugs.  None of those substances could remotely be considered a “starter kit.”  This is nonsense.

And that leads me to the second point.

Second Problem:  What in the hell is “real food”?

Nicole loves to talk about this. She likes it because it’s all healthy and homesteady and it makes her sound like Earth Mother.  Everyone nods sagely and agrees.  “Just eat real food.”

When people say this, I tend to exit the conversation because what is going to follow is complete bullshit.

What most people mean when they say “eat real food” is “don’t eat processed foods.”

But that leads directly to another question.  What are “processed foods”?

If you look up the definition of the term, you’ll find stuff all over the map.

processedfooddefinition

So from this definition, which is not really very accurate (more in a moment about that), we get two main things: packaged in something, and contains the dreaded chemicals.

Exactly how are you supposed to get your food home from the store if it’s not packaged in something?  Even if you buy fresh produce, they put it in a bag.

Chemicals.  Sigh.  Everyone has spasms about chemicals. Salt is a chemical, folks.  Sugar is a chemical compound.  You are a bunch of chemicals.

Some artificially produced chemicals are very dangerous indeed.  For example:  ethylene glycol. That’s the stuff in anti-freeze. Don’t let your pets near it.  Some artificially produced chemicals are preferable to their “natural” counterparts:  melatonin, for example (“natural” melatonin can be toxic, artificial melatonin is much safer, if you’re going to take that shit, which I do not.)

Chemical is not a dirty word.

processedfooddefinition2
click image for link to source

So here’s a better definition of the term.  “Processing” is whatever you do to food before you eat it.

cannedpeaches

Here’s some peaches being processed, put in cans so people can store them on the shelf for a considerable length of time.

cheese

And here’s some serious food processing:  cheese. The factory takes milk and adds some chemicals (rennet, which by the way is almost entirely GMO in America and has been for decades, and salt), heats it slowly and then presses the hell out of the curd that results.

These are processed foods.

peachescheese2

So are these.

The difference is that the last picture was taken by me in my kitchen of my canned peaches and my cheese.

There is virtually no difference nutritionally in my processed food and the photos of the factories above.  None.

If you take a tomato and slice it, you have processed it.  Here I am, processing some meat.

butcheringmeat

But, you say, that’s not what people mean when they talk about “processed food.”

I know.

They mean this.

junkfood

I blew that photo up and tried to identify some of the foods that are in it, and was surprised to see Jif. It made me laugh.

Peanut butter is the food that held me together when I was a kid. I love the stuff.  I still eat it often.  And I have eaten every kind of peanut butter there is, creamy, crunchy, “natural,” “processed,” homemade from peanuts that we grew ourselves.  All of it.  I love it no matter what, but I greatly prefer the processed stuff because it spreads better.

They also have Kraft Singles in there. You know, cheese.

Oh, and Wonder Bread, as though that is really bad.

bread

Here’s a loaf of my bread. To make it, I begin by grinding whole wheat berries into flour. That’s called “processing,” by the way.  When I mix up the loaf, I put chemicals in it.  I add salt, gluten flour, and something called “dough conditioner.”

doughconditioner

That’s what is in it.  I use very little (that 3 tsp serving size is for a whole loaf of bread).  It makes all the difference in how the bread slices and stores and everything. I’ve been using it for years, and so do the Wonder Bread people, and so does every other bakery in America.

The truth is that there is very, very little difference between my bread and Wonder Bread when it comes to nutrition.  I prefer mine for two reasons: it’s cheaper and it tastes better.  But if I’m in the middle of house-remodeling like I am right now, and my kitchen is torn all to hell, I have no qualms at all about buying a loaf or two of bread from the store. We grumble a little but it’s fine.

The truth is that America’s food is some of the best in the world.  The quality is high.

We shop largely at Aldi. It’s cheap and so are we, so it’s a good fit for us. One major reason that Aldi is cheap is that there are few choices.  If you go in there and want a bottle of ketchup, you will find one size, one brand. Take it or leave it.

Do you want eggs? Aldi has eggs.  One size, one kind. That’s it.

The other day, I had to shop at Kroger for the first time in about three years (other than running in there for an occasional item that Aldi doesn’t carry).  I found that experience to be a little unsettling.

I needed those two things, among others:  ketchup and eggs.  There were so many choices I had difficulty.  I just wanted plain-Jane ordinary ketchup, but I was faced with 15 different kinds and brands. I wanted a dozen eggs, but there were ten different brands and kinds. I nearly had a meltdown right there in the store.  And that was a small Kroger. They’ve put in a very large one in a neighboring town and I’ll be damned if I will ever put my foot in it.

My point though is that we have a lot of food available and there is nothing wrong with any of it.

Take that photo of the Naugler baby and the nachos.

There is nothing wrong with nachos, even from Hardee’s.  Corn chips, and cheese, and probably salsa and maybe some sour cream.

Our problem is that we have so much food that we eat too much of it, and I am guilty of that.

But, you say, we need to eat more food as it comes from nature.  Why? What is the difference between my canned peaches (or the commercial canned peaches) and a peach?  The answer is pretty much nothing.

Where we screw up is that instead of those canned peaches, which are identical nutritionally to a fresh peach, we eat peach ice cream or peach cobbler.

And that leads me to sugar.

It gets a bad rap. People carry on like it’s tantamount to eating arsenic.  It’s not. Sugar is good stuff.

And there is virtually no difference at all between ordinary white sugar and honey or molasses or any other sweetener (artificial ones excepted). All of them are sweeteners, and all of them provide basically “empty” calories. And none of us need to eat mountains of any of them.  Honey is not “better” for you than sugar.

But I think most parents already know this basic stuff.

But what about this?

chili

Nicole posts these types of photos and I see people go off on her for it.

This particular “chili” is fine as far as I can tell.  I’m not sure we’d eat it because I don’t think Dave would like it.  It’s not how I make chili.  But that’s okay.  There is nothing at all wrong with any ingredient in it.

But it’s not what is conventionally called “real food.”  It’s mostly processed foods from cans all dumped together in a pot.

godawfulrice

And there is this.  Nicole admits this is bad, and I agree with her.  It’s not that it’s bad food – it’s not – but holy shit, how do you screw up something that horribly?  It looks like she dumped some raw rice and water along with a package or two of frozen mixed veggies in a crock pot and thought magic would happen.

joechili

First, would somebody please steal that bowl from these folks and destroy it?  It looks like the inside of one of the plastic buckets they use for. . . well, you know. . .

Second, what in the hell is that?

Beans and rice or beans and noodles are good foods. You don’t need meat with every meal, even if you’re a growing child. Beans are a great food and Americans should eat more of them.

But damn, what is that?

Seriously, if Nicole can’t come up with better stuff than this, she needs to quit lecturing us about “real food.”

broccolitomatoes

Here’s an example of what is so disingenuous about her.  She says that she has “eliminated. . . most processed food.”

No, she hasn’t. Not even close.  Not even slightly.  In fact, she eats as much processed food as anyone. Do  you think nobody else has ever eaten cherry tomatoes before?  Or raw broccoli in a salad?

hamburgers

Note the photo of the “real food” for dinner.  Hamburgers on white bread (store bought), sliced tomato, fried potatoes.

There is nothing at all different about that than this.

bigmacfries

Please understand that I am not saying that Nicole’s food choices are bad.  I have never said that. I know people do say that, but I’m not one of them. There’s nothing at all wrong with having a hamburger with some fried potatoes and sliced tomatoes.

I don’t find fault with her menu postings (she did some on one of her blogs and people had conniptions because of their supposed inferior nutritional content.) I sometimes make menus like that and just because I write down “Tuesday: spaghetti” that doesn’t mean that spaghetti is the only thing that will be offered.  There will probably be a salad and bread and maybe some fruit for dessert.

What I am criticizing is her attempt to appear all “natural” and homesteady while the reality is that she eats just like the rest of us, only she appears to be able to consume Joe’s can-dumping “chili” and I know I couldn’t do it. I am criticizing her little memes saying that we don’t need vitamins because we should just eat “real food,” when she doesn’t eat any different from anyone else.  I am criticizing her claims that they have “eliminated processed foods” when they absolutely have not done that at all.

She’s fake.  You know, fake, like store-brand cola instead of the Real Thing.