Saturday, September 5, 2009

'Tis a Gift to be Simple

As loyal light greenies know, I've been trying to cut back on foods with unpronounceable chemical ingredients. Therefore, I was psyched to find Haagen-Dazs five ice cream. Boasting only five ingredients (cream, milk, sugar, eggs, and whatever flavor -- they have mint, chocolate, ginger, brown sugar, passion fruit, coffee, and vanilla), this is a delicious treat that makes you wonder why ice cream needs anything else.

My changed eating habits have re-introduced me to the pleasures of foods like ice cream -- foods which have been labeled "bad" by our "health" establishment. For years I'd been eating low-fat "ice cream" (all of the quotation marks denote that so much of what we considered true about healthy eating is really just smoke and mirrors) which is full of the unpronounceable. Manufacturers reel you in with claims that you can eat a whole "ice cream" bar for only 150 calories, adding endorsements by folks like Bob Greene, Oprah's wellness guru (his website even bears a border of green leaves, making you think that the foods he's endorsed are somehow natural).

But what you're eating really isn't ice cream. It's more like the contents of a chemistry set. Here's the ingredients list for one low-fat ice cream bar:
skim milk, sugar, corn syrup, water, polydextrose, cocoa processed with alkali, cream, stabilizer [microcrystalline cellulose, cellulose gum, mono and diglycerides, locust bean gum, calcium sulfate, polysorbate 80, carrageenan]

Yes. Low-fat. But healthy? Who knows what all of those chemicals will do to us? The truth is, noone does know. We're living in a world-wide experiment, treating ourselves with big batches of lab-produced goodies that seem to be making us sicker and fatter. Nevertheless, we continue to be told that we can eat all we want as long as the things we eat are imitation food items that have been cooked up by mad scientists.

So what if you can't eat all you want when you eat natural foods which contain natural ingredients like fat and sugar. These are the ingredients are bodies evolved to process. We were never meant to eat all-you-can-eat buffets. Food was scarce for our ancestors, and so our bodies are meant to cope with that reality. I admit, I love food, and I'll always be someone who struggles to eat healthy amounts, but a quarter cup of real ice cream, with real flavors, rather than lab-invented flavor simulators, is more satisfying than a whole box of imitation, low-fat, frozen dessert bars.

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