1. Matt, I had no idea you did this blog! But my wife and I were awakened to this very thing this summer, the SAD (standard American diet) syndrome. We read Pollan’s In Defense of Food, and my wife called the kids, who were with their dad at the time, and apologized for everything she ever fed them.

    The despair you express here about the pervasiveness of this into every cranny of our diet is only alleviated by the sense that there’s nowhere to go but up. Every decision we make that doesn’t support the Babylon of food-like products is a moral, economic, and bodily victory. We started with drastically reducing our purchase of processed foods, especially refined sugars and flours as well as corn and soy oils, upping our consumption of vegetables of any stripe (especially mixed greens, but also beans and unpolished rices), and buying local as much a possible (we have suppliers for beef and pork, and are working on chickens and eggs).

    Even in an agricultural center like Kirksville, Missouri, getting direct from the farm is not easy. But Holy Christ, when you look at the “alternative” that is the food industrial complex, you feel like you really have no choice but constantly to push on toward that guiding star.

    • Dereck, thanks for an awesome response. I am so glad to hear that yet another old compatriot is down with the new movement “in defense of food.” Like you I think we ought to be fleeing the food Babylon that is enslaving the world.

      Coming back from Louisiana today I just decided that it was easiest to fast in the airport. Going hungry for a such a comparably short while never hurt anybody. I sure saw a lot of people who looked like they could stand a weekly 24 hour fast… for a few months at least! It was morning time and people everywhere were chowing down on “fresh” hot Cinnabon rolls. It got me thinking about how we tell ourselves these lies about the worthiness of our rationales for eating the way we eat. The only good reason I can see for eating something like that is to try something you’ve never had before, or if you want to deliberately induce a sugar high followed by an insulin coma, for some reason. Or because it’s some kind of tradition that you have for celebrating something. But we just act as if these obscene food-like items are really “everyday foods.” We tell ourselves it’s ok or even good to eat things that are self-evidently poor choices from a nutritional perspective “because it tastes good,” or “because we really want it,” or “because I deserve it.” Well, it’s sometimes true that we get what we deserve, I suppose. But the right reason for eating something is because it will help you live life and live it more fully. Sometimes that might mean eating something that’s not healthy for you. But not usually.

  2. Right on, as usual Dr. Baldwin!

    I’ve flown 175K miles this year so far for work, and I’ve had to get very crafty to follow my modified Zone. Life-saver is the cashews and almonds for sale at Starbucks: nothing added (not even salt), so you get 3/4 cup of goodness on the go for relatively cheap.

    Hopefully your cheat day falls while you’re in New Orleans!


    Dr. Shepley

    • Joe I did have one cheat meal in NOLA (and quite a few cheat beers and cheat whiskeys). It was a dinner at one “BJ’s Bistro” … I ate the BBQ shrimp, which is basically fresh gulf prawns, head and shell on, drowned in this unbelievably rich and flavorful creole butter sauce. I also ate the beautiful in-house made crisp crusty french bread they served along with it. This was authentic food, and I don’t regret the cheat one bit. But it’s back on the wagon for me!

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