Trying to Save a Dying Post

Do you ever start writing on something, and you’re feeling good about it, and then your argument completely falls apart?  That just happened to me.  I was going to post on French fries and possible addictiveness, but I can’t prove (quickly enough) that MSG is addictive.  It’s bad, but not necessarily addictive.  And I also can’t prove (quickly enough) that ingredients with glutamate (as opposed to monosodium glutamate (MSG)) are as bad as MSG itself.  Based on those two facts (or lacks of fact), I can’t prove that the glutamate-containing hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk in McDonald’s fries are addictive.  Or the modified potato starch in Burger King’s fries.  Or the modified food starch in Arby’s fries.  All of that half-finished research, and for what?

If this were finals, and I were writing for a class, I would tie it together nicely and hope for the best.  Or try to switch sides if I were still able to pull an all-nighter (it’s barely 9 p.m.).  Even now, I’m compelled to salvage part of the unprovable post… The beginning could almost stand alone…  Here it is (quoting myself here)…

I mentioned in last night’s post that there were some “dark years,” which were apparently littered with the packaging of M&Ms, Diet Coke, and gum. There was actually a lot more “darkness” to it than that (try living in a house with 23 sorority girls when you’re the one “in charge”), and while I’ve emerged (I think) from those dark years, I can’t say I shun chocolate, caffeine, and gum altogether. Their remnants no longer litter my desk, though. And actually, I now eat only the darkest chocolate I can find (88% cocoa content this week). I try to avoid diet soda — preferring the carbonation of S. Pellegrino and/or the caffeine of green tea, but I give in more often than I should. And I have a pack of gum (first in a long time) in my purse right now. But I am healthier, I swear.

In June I gave up wheat and dairy and most refined sugar, and I’m really glad I did. It helped solve some health issues I’d been having, and I feel healthier overall. Last fall I took this a step further, and did an 18-day cleanse, where you cut out a different type of food each day until you are down to liquids (fruit juice and broth) for four days. It sounds intense, and it was, but again — I’m glad I did it. It really changed the way I thought about my body, and emphasized the importance of good nutrition (which, I found, means more than “enough calories”). I hung on to the good habits for a while, but fell back into a few old habits eventually.

I still don’t eat wheat or dairy, but I do have a major penchant for French fries. I will make decisions on what to order based on what does or does not come with fries (typically it’s the burger — less the cheese and the bun, and then the waiter raises an eyebrow when I turn down the side salad in favor of fries). A few weeks ago, while investigating whether or not fries were addictive, I started looking at the ingredients of fries at fast food restaurants. I don’t know what many of these ingredients actually are — most likely stuff I will never purchase to use in my own cooking. I did, however, see something that leads me to believe that some fries are addictive…

…which, it turns out, they only may be.  I’ll keep eating my fries (but not from just anywhere anymore).  If you want ingredient lists, I’ll post them, but I kind of thought I’d be a little kind and leave you thinking they were only maybe addictive, sparing the harsh details of what actually is in them.



Filed under food, social issues, What's wrong with the world

4 responses to “Trying to Save a Dying Post

  1. Darling,

    Best of luck with your health and diet modifications. I’ve been struggling with the same for quite a while. My mom is off gluten, my sister tries to eat a ‘whole foods’ diet, and we all try to avoid cow dairy some of the time at least. I think I have a sensitivity to a ton of things–but I admit I’m not quite consistent enough to go on an elimination diet, so at the moment I’m keeping more of a general ‘health journal’ tracking how I feel day to day in a sentence or two. I feel too exhausted and mommy-ish to do anything too helpful for myself.

    Recently, I went to a naturopath (Herbalist/Chinest medicine/holistic health/nutrition), who is a proponent of good diet and overall (aka holistic) health. I’ve always had a keen interest in this field–I may even go into myself one day. I have noticed that I am probably pre-diabetic and need to cut out simple carbs altogether or at least 80-90 percent, in favor of complex carbs in smaller portions, lots of veg, lean protein and legumes, and good fats. I love sweets…I am such an emotional eater. I have to fulfill myself in other ways and realize that the best ways to nourish myself are with self care (not cramming my face with sweets). Thankfully I have been trying to get a hold on this.

    Still…I have 40-50 lbs to lose and a long way to go before I feel like I won’t dive for something tasty to make me feel more relaxed, but I also don’t want to beat myself up about it or obsess over food…life’s too short, damnit!


  2. p.s. I think given some research, there’s quite a bit of evidence to support your claim of additives being addictive. Diet drinks, MSG, any and all perservatives, and high fructose corn syrup. EW.

  3. Thanks for the comments, Hannah… I think the key (for me at least) is understanding the relationship between what you put into your body and how you feel, both physically and emotionally. Some people can handle dairy and gluten without a hitch, and others can’t. The same goes for most things. A naturopath put me on this diet, and I think she changed my life. I’m so impressed that I’ve thought about it as a career, but I’m still (in spite of my own positive experience) so skeptical of so much of the field… I do believe that it’s not about the numbers you read on the scale or on labels, it’s about feeling good and being good to yourself

    I’m also an emotional eater (and worse, an emotional drinker), and that hasn’t really changed a whole lot. I am often tempted by the things I know I’m sensitive to — I will allow myself to eat them (for example a Brussels-style sugar waffle in Philadelphia, or a gluten-full beer) only when I’m not emotional. It’s been enlightening to recognize the difference between hunger and emptiness, even though I sometimes lapse…

    Anyway, good luck with your nutritional pursuits — if you want to compare notes at any point, or get together for a good meal, do let me know.

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