FLOG: The Foodiness Blog

Episode: 10

We were meant to eat meat, (that’s why we have pointy teeth on the side).


To veg or not to veg? Is it healthier and more “green” to be a vegetarian, or a meat eater? Good question. Most of us would probably say vegetarian. And we’d be right, IF we ate REAL food. Real vegetables, fruit, real beans, tofu, rice, lentils, nuts, seeds, maybe eggs and dairy… Real food always trumps Foodiness, vegetarian or not. But the long, freaky finger of Foodiness has found its way into the world of vegan and vegetarian foods, too. Like Chick’n nuggets, and veggie burger patties. Some have almost 30 ingredients (!) , which have to be grown, picked, processed, packaged, shipped to a factory and then opened, processed again, re-packaged, re-shipped and refrigerated. Doesn’t sound very green to me. How ‘bout just raising an animal, butchering it, shipping it to a market, and selling it to me, the meat eater? I see a tiny hoof-shaped carbon footprint inside that gigantic tofu hotdog shaped one…

Take a look:

Sample ingredients in some fake meat products (the number of ingredients is the important thing, not necessarily the ingredients themselves)

Lightlife Chick’n strips
Water, textured soy protein concentrate, natural flavors (from vegetable sources), less than 2% of: salt, barley malt extract, yeast extract, tapioca starch, onion powder, dextrose, garlic powder, annatto (color), paprika, potassium chloride, chicory fiber (inulin), natural smoke flavor. (15 ingredients)

Quorn burgers
mycoprotein (38%), partially rehydrated egg white, textured wheat protein (wheat protein, wheat starch), onion, sunflower oil, whey protein concentrate. Contains 2% or less of rusk (wheat flour, ammonium bicarbonate), palm oil, natural flavoring from non meat sources, salt, sugar, tapioca starch, sodium alginate, smoked paprika, pectin, potato maltodextrin, barley malt extract, smoked yeast, potassium chloride, smoke flavoring, citric acid, gum arabic, silicon dioxide, tricalcium phosphate. (25 ingredients)

Tofurky slices
Water, vital wheat gluten, organic tofu (water, organic soybeans, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride), non-genetically engineered expeller-pressed canola oil, natural vegetarian flavors, shoyu soy sauce (water, non-genetically engineered soybeans, wheat, salt, culture), non-genetically engineered corn starch, white bean flour, garbanzo bean flour, lemon juice from concentrate, calcium lactate from beets. (17 ingredients)

Ingredients in chicken: Chicken.

Of course you can be a vegetarian and be righteous when it comes to the environment. But it means you’re going to have to find, prepare and eat real non-meat food like vegetables and fruit and beans. Otherwise you might as well go and eat a hamburger.

Episode: 9

Eat Fruit. Not “Fruit” Bars


Getting your vitamins, fiber, minerals and antioxidants from convenient fruit and grain bars? There’s plenty of reason to believe you can. Fruit and cereal bar packaging claim to deliver everything from the antioxidant power of pomegranates to the nutritional bang of vitamins C and E…in other words, everything powerful and amazing that comes from eating real fruit. New products on the market today even promise a “superfruit fusion” that puts all the amazing health benefits of messy, inconvenient fruit into a convenient bar form with no messy juice dripping on your tie or anything annoyingly hard to peel.

What they aren’t telling you is what actually goes into fruit and cereal bars. One new “superfruit fusion” breakfast bar claiming to deliver the nutritional “pow” of pomegranates is actually made from mostly invert sugar, corn syrup, water, glycerin, sugar, and modified corn starch, with only a nod to pomegranates in the form of juice concentrate, which is really just the sugar from the fruit. Typical “fruit” bars like this one contain 13 grams of sugar. …that’s one gram less than a Milky Way bar.

So there isn’t anything in a typical fruit and bar that really counts as fruit. And if you’re in the mood for something fruity, pop a Jolly Rancher and call it a day.

Obviously, if the packaging on fruit and grain bars made this clear, no one would think they were getting the nutrition that real fruit delivers. So they just call it fruit…or “pomegranate”, or “apple” or “blueberry”. That’s foodiness…or in this case, fruitiness.

The solution isn’t that hard: just eat real fruit…it may be a little less convenient, but it’s food. Real food. Not sh*t. Why would you eat that?

Episode: 8

Veggie Packing Peanuts


We are sooooo busy. This is the 21st century! We have a lot of stuff to do! Blogs to write, soccer games to watch, smartphones to check every 3 minutes. Are we busier than we were in the 70’s?

Maybe…Probably. And we get hungry while we’re busy. So do we sit down for 3 meals a day at home like we mostly did in the 70’s? Probably not. We eat on the go. Takeout, pre-made meals, and snacks. A huge boatload of snacks.

Our away-from home food consumption is now almost 40 percent of our total food intake. 40 percent!!

It was only 18 percent in the 70’s.

We now spend nearly 50% of our food dollars on away-from home meals and snacks. HALF of our money! Ask your great-grandma how much she used to spend on food away from home.
And all that food eaten away from home isn’t grass-fed lamb and organic kale, that’s for certain. Eating real food in a moving SUV or on a bus is so totally inconvenient. Forks, dirty hands, fruit peels, plates, crumbs…messy, messy, inconvenient stuff.

And where are going to find a vending machine that sells local, organic apples or raw-milk cheese?

Maybe in Brooklyn…

So we pick up some “healthy” snacks. Stuff that says so right on the label. Things made from fruit, or soy, or “whole-grains”. It’s snack-time Foodiness all the way, that insidious doppleganger of food, pulling us down the rabbit hole, making us believe that its ok to eat veggie puffs and fruit gummies and soy bars to fill the real food void. It’s ok, we tell ourselves, we’re not eating doodles and nuggets and slushies, so we’re doing ok. The package says its good for us.

But it isn’t really. Foodiness marketing lies to us and tells us it’s something good, and healthy. The truth? Those “fruit” snacks are not made from fruit. They’re made almost entirely from the sugar derived from fruit. Those protein bars may seem better than a candy bar, but they often have more sugar than candy bars, and the protein is not nearly as good for you as the protein in meat, eggs or beans. As for those soy chips – the idea that soy is healthy is a big scam. In fact soy in chip form is probably not actually very good for you, and you’d be better off eating potato chips. Yogurt? Seems like you can’t wrong. Not so – most yogurts on the market are sweetened with corn syrup, are full of artificial “thickeners”, and you’re getting an insignificant amount of fruit that has been cooked to death and robbed of most of its nutritional value. And I hate to break it to you but there are no vegetables in veggie puffs.

But let’s get real about snacks. Eating real food as a snack is a tough one. Even I’m challenged, and this is what I do for a living. So for most people the answer is never going to be carrying around a baggie full of steamed broccoli in your purse or having locally grown organic peach juice drip down on your tie at work.

So how do you get real about snacks? Situationally always aim for something realer than less. Check out the 6 degrees of foodiness chart on this site and try to move up a notch with every snack. Dried apples are more real than an apple-flavored soy bar; yogurt with sugar is more real than yogurt with artificial sweetener; and almonds, which are full of protein, are definitely more real than a protein bar (and save yourself from 30 grams of sugar). You might even cook a meal one night a week and then take a bit of it with you somewhere. The point is to begin to make your way out of the foodiness rabbit hole…one real snack at a time.

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