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1.02.2007

The Devil's In The Pringles

I know by now that were it not for my regularly scheduled weekly grocery shopping my family would eat each other.

If we go more than a few days without snacks in the house Chris starts forlornly loitering around the pantry absently pawing at the space on the shelf where chips normally reside.

The produce drawers go virtually unnoticed. That is until I ask from the living room "What is that stench?". Or I make my own cider without trying. Whichever comes first.

I was a vegetarian for most of my early 20's. I belonged to dozens of vegan organizations, wrote many a term paper on animal cruelty and wore t-shirts that said things like "Meat. It's What's Rotting In Your Colon."

Then I got pregnant. And the child wanted blood. Chicken would not suffice. It needed to be big bloody burgers with cheese and preferably fries and a shake. Mmm...and pickles. Extra sauce.

Anyway. Don't blame me; blame the blood-sucking baby.

Since abandoning vegetarianism five years ago I've tried to keep a fairly healthy albeit flesh-filled kitchen. I've made it my mission to get vegetables into these people without their knowledge at least every fortnight (tip: pureed zucchini and broccoli in all homemade sauces; they'll never see it coming). I consider myself pretty knowledgable about health and nutrition and feel confident in my menu decisions.

That said, do you have any idea how many potato chips we eat around here? Or when we want a snack, how often it's Cheerios? (How can that be wrong? They're OATS for godssake. Horses eat them.) And when we're feeling especially naughty, how often that includes McDonalds fries?

I've managed to protect my family from donuts and Cheez Whiz and e.coli, yet apparently I'm hand-feeding them CANCER.

Can you believe that link? There's 60 times the amount of acrylamide in a bowl of Cheerios than is allowed in your drinking water!

So, what do you do with this information? How do you know where to draw the line? Or blur the line for your family's enjoyment?

I'm trying to avoid going into hyper-obsess mode (Seriously. There's a switch on my bellybutton). But, after reading this article my first reaction was to immediately throw away the half full bag of Reduced Fat Ruffles in the pantry. Then I stood there looking at the Cheerios (my daughter's favorite) and Wheat Thins and thought "Am I overreacting?".

Sure, we would like our families to eat nothing but whole foods fresh from the farmer's market but is that a reasonable expectation? And, if so, am I failing them?

I mean I've already banned trans fats, red meat, and nitrates. And hookers and porn. What reason will Chris have to stay around anymore?

How do I find the balance between health and fun? Between protection and deprivation? Is there such a thing as knowing too much?

87 comments:

Amy Lou said...

Mmmm Cheerios. And Trader Joes Pizza....I need to go shopping. Pick up something that pairs well with the cider that also occassionally resides in our produce bin--what flavor is yours? Mine has a lovely celery-pear-orange note.

I work as an Research & Development Chef for a company that makes one of your favorite snacks. For what it's worth, I e-mailed your link to a scientist buddy of mine and she said it wasn't panning out to be a "worry" topic.

Butrfly4404 said...

Wow...but that would mean a baked potato would have it, too.

I wouldn't worry too much about it. While I tend to think that a lot of the preservatives and stuff are causing some of these new health problems (my b9 has ADHD), people were baking potatoes forever ago.

It is really impossible for someone who lives in sub/urban areas to eat ONLY natural foods. And most people who live on farms and eat only fresh food have extremely high fat and cholesteral levels in their diets.

I would do what the article suggets and cut down on some of the really bad ones. Or switch to Baked! Apparently, they aren't real potatoes anyway. (http://fitsugar.com/70901)

I would like to see a more complete list, though.

Marcia said...

LENA. Seriously. I was a vegetarian for 8 years. And not so much any more. Because... well... after you have Boeuf de Cote de Normandy in Paris, well, you probably already have Mad Cow, and um, what's the point in going back? And besides, I'd already used my, "I'm a vegetarian, so I can buy all these awesome leather skirts with impunity" card enough times that my wardrobe was looking a little slutty....

But. Sitting alone all day in my boring house of loserdom? I cook really healthy. I can imagine how UNhealthy I'll get (and not care about how unhealthy I am) after a) the return to work or b) the advent of children in my life. I'm le no good.

But I promise I'll flip out the first time I see my child do something normal, like eating a non-organic fruit roll up. But I'll also get over it quickly.

jes said...

What the hell is acrylamide?

I just looked it up in wikipedia. Apparently, it's a water-thickener. Like cornstarch. Except carcinogenic.

Is this why my eyesight is suddenly blurry? Too many chips and fries?

Mrs. Chicky said...

Okay, I just threw out all the Cheerios, Wheat Thins and potato products in my home. Thankyouveryf*ckingmuch.

I think when there is a history of cancer in your family you (and by that, I mean me) tend to overreact to all those studies, but when there is no cancer history you can make jokes - "Mmm mmm, these cancer chips are Taaasty." Like I used to do. Stupid stupid stupid stupid.

But why do carcinogens have to be so damn yummy?

Sara P. said...

This has been on my mind lately. Sometimes I feel like everything will kill us anyway and others I feel guilty for not protecting my family.

So true that there is a fine line.

Bobealia... said...

Don't those reduced fat chips cause anal bleeding?

Bobealia... said...

or was it anal leakage?

Butrfly4404 said...

LMAO, bobealia - The "WOW" chips had olestra (fake fat) that caused anal leakage...as do the new "Light" chips...I'm not sure about the "reduced fat" ones...but Baked don't have olestra in them.

Virenda said...

Listen Lena I gave up the porn, and the friend potatoes, but you can't take away the hookers.

The madness has GOT TO END.



I'm proud to say I haven't eaten a potato chip in months and months. Although I did just buy cheerios. Damn.

Lena said...

It's the Wheat Thins that are getting me down. How can something so right go so wrong?

something blue said...

My husband wanted carrots with his cheeseburger tonight and I teased him when was the last time he went to a restaurant and ordered a side of veggies with his burger? I insisted that we have baked french fries (likely with extra acrylamide - ick) At least I gave in and included the carrots.

Still I am allowed boiled perogies, sushi, dark chocolate and red wine right? I could live off of that.

Undercover Angel said...

I could never survive as a vegetarian. Seriously, the only vegetables I like are corn, peas and potatoes.

Just last night my husband hit a deer and totalled the car. We went back and got deer and I felt like Elly Mae (Beverly Hillbillies) going out to fetch the road kill. The deer did over $2000 damages to our car, and injured my husband, but now it's in my freezer. I guess I won that battle. Oh man, do I sound like a horrible person telling that story...

carrie said...

Jesus, that is a scary article. Makes me want to clean out my cupboards...okay, I'll calm down now!!!

Carrie

Lindsey said...

I have been trying to ignore this information for weeks! Thanks for the link. Not.

If you do find the perfect balance be sure to write about it!

themikestand said...

I'm with virenda: NOT THE HOOKERS! ANYTHING but the hookers! Can't we compromise on this?

Maybe just the hookers with cheerios?

blog Portland said...

I think you can only obsess so much before your end up saving your loved ones a few extra years, only to have them spent in a retirement home. I say go down a la Bon Jovi - in a Blaze of Bloody-Hookered Glory. But not in a serial killer kind of way; more like someone who eats a McRib off of her thigh.

Virenda said...

McRibs are disgusting.

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