A lot on my plate

Fear sells, but why does the food industry use anxiety to sell products? I mean, if there’s one thing the seven billion people on this planet agree on, it’s that we need food. (And Baby Yoda is adorable. That’s universally accepted.)

Weeds or food?

When COVID hit last spring, I heard we’d run out of beef by autumn. My husband lost his mind. Someone told me canned vegetables would be as valuable as gold, which is good because I’d rather wear a can of peas on a chain around my neck than have to eat them.

Experts tell us food is plentiful and cheaper than ever before. Just the food leftover from Las Vegas buffets could feed several third-world countries for generations. They’d all develop diabetes and heart disease, but they’d have plenty of food.

And that’s the other fear; the idea that the food we eat, even broccoli and kale, has no nutritional value because the soil’s been depleted of nutrients and we’re consuming the dietary equivalent of Rice Krispies for each meal.

So, we hear companies proclaiming to have discovered new, perfect foods. Not just foods – Super Foods (with a heartbreaking origin story). They ask questions like, Do you poop every day at noon? Are you often irritable? Well, you’re eating the wrong food!

Social media is awash in these types of ads. “Buy our product made of 300 superfoods found only in caves along the Ganges River!” “Learn the secret of Cleopatra’s radiant skin, Helen of Troy’s weight loss supplement and Queen Elizabeth’s longevity.” (Spoiler alert: it’s never having to clean your own toilet.)

Companies tell us fans are “raving” about their green juice. False news. No one raves about green juice. The recipes have unknown ingredients like chlorella (a dried sea vegetable) and rhodiola, a cold-climate plant used by Vikings. Mmmmm. Yummy. (Sidenote: Vikings are dead. Did rhodiola kill them?)

Mushrooms are the new meat. The reishi mushroom is called the Queen of the Mushrooms because . . . um . . . it has a crown? I guess psilocybin mushrooms would be King of the Mushrooms, or at least the laid-back, hippie brother-in-law of the mushrooms.

Pretend meat is also the new meat. Impossible Meat might be better for the planet, but with its soy, wheat, and vegetable ingredients shaped and colored to look like chicken nuggets, it’s definitely not health food.

And don’t think it’s safe to drink water. No, sir! You can’t drink tap water, bottled water, well water, river water, toilet water or any other water unless it’s gone through an expensive, artesian reverse osmosis process. I used to drink water out of the hose in my front yard. I’m sure I’ll die full of mercury, lead, and chlorine.

Spinach and romaine lettuce routinely try to kill us, and don’t get me started on GMO conspiracy theories. I don’t have that kind of time. Are apples still good for us? Can we eat corn without worrying about growing a third arm? Does everything have to be organic, farm-fresh and certified because according to Facebook, we’re all doomed!

 I know Americans don’t have the best diets but throw me a grass-fed bone. We’re assaulted on all sides and just trying not to dive headfirst into a bucket of chicken for a morning snack.

Originally published in the Davis Journal

Proof Our Parents Tried to Kill Us

If you grew up during the ’70s (the 1970s–not the 1870s) then you’re lucky to be alive. The ’70s ushered in the heyday of processed foods, experimental products and sugar, sugar, sugar! The things our parents fed us have now been banned in most countries and labeled with the warning: “DO NOT CONSUME. Side effects include DEATH.”

I’m not blaming my parents, they didn’t know they were feeding their children toxic chemicals that would eventually ruin their lives and cause worldwide destruction. These are just examples of the “food” products that have left a lifelong residue of regret and triglycerides flowing through my veins:

  • Bologna. Yes, it had a catchy tune–and it taught us how to spell–but what exactly is bologna? Here’s the definition. Not joking. “Bologna is a finely ground pork sausage containing cubes of lard.” Lard!?!?! Yeah, my bologna has a first name–F-A-T-A-S-S.
  • Hamburger Helper. Exactly what is this product supposed to help hamburger do? Taste like salty cardboard? Mission accomplished. (Besides, unless a hamburger is ready to ask for help, there’s nothing you can do.)


(This hand should have covered our mouths.)

  • Chicken Kiev. This was my mom’s go-to meal to impress dinner guests. And it worked. It was fabulously delicious–and had 750 grams of saturated fat, and 4,355 calories per serving. This ’70s staple of elegance had the following steps: 1. Take a chicken breast. 2. Wrap it around a 1/2 cube of butter. 3. Roll it in bread crumbs. 4. Deep fry in oil until your arteries explode.
  • Space Dust/Pop Rocks. I can hear food scientists discussing this product. “I know let’s give our kids exploding candy!! Hahahahahaha!!”
  • Jiffy Pop Popcorn. It was innovative and clever. You watched it pop right on the burning hot stove. If opening the tinfoil didn’t melt your fingers, the face-vaporizing steam streaming off the popcorn would have you in the burn unit for days.

  • Cream-chipped beef on toast. I hated this meal. Mom would open a jar of dried beef (with more salt than the Pacific), stir it into a mixture of paste and sadness, then pour it on toast.

chipped beef

(For the love of all things holy!!! Why is this okay to feed to a child?)

  •  Candy cigarettes. Just in case the sugar, chemicals and mystery meats didn’t kill you, we had these chalk-flavored candy sticks to prep us for the stressful world of adulthood. (Disclaimer: my mom NEVER bought these for us. But dad did!)
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP). This meat extender was created for use in THIRD WORLD countries, not Utah. (Although some would argue Utah is a third world country.) Mom mixed this . . . . well, whatever this is. . . with hamburger to make patties, meatloaf and meatballs. She always said we couldn’t taste the TVP. She was soooo wrong.

This is only a tiny sampling of the types of things we ingested during our formative years. What foods did you survive? Did you grow extra limbs, eyes or superpowers as a result?


Top 5 Healthy Food Groups

I spent the holiday weekend eating. Non-stop. Things like pork enchiladas, Fat Kid pizza, Harry & David candies, Mrs. Field’s cookies, popcorn, margaritas, hamburgers and bacon. But I did have a fruit-cup on Monday morning . (Calories don’t count on holidays. Duh.)

As many people do, I decided to wake up this morning (following a weekend of binge eating) and start shoving healthy food into my face. After researching the bests kinds of foods, I’ve compiled a list to help me stay on track.

I vow to eat:

Brown Foods: Things like brown rice, whole wheat pasta and breads fall into this category. But (if I understand colors) this also includes chocolate cake, fudgsicles and caramel corn. I’m pretty sure I can rock this area.

Vegetables/Fruit: I can easily incorporate foods like spinach, asparagus, berries and grapefruit into my diet. And then there’s what I call the “fancy” veggies and fruit: Pringles (potatoes), Bugles (corn), Sunkist Gems and Gummy Bears (assorted fruits) (also found at Harry & David).harry

(So many healthy choices to choose from!)

Nuts/healthy oils: Natural butters like almond and peanut, and products like olive oil, can easily be spread on the aforementioned brown foods–and even some fruits and veggies. But avocado?!?! (yuck. nope.) Also falling into this category is See’s Toffee (this  delicacy is ROLLED in healthy nuts), chocolate covered nuts of all types, and, my favorite, a Reese’s Peanut Butter Sandwich. (This consists of two Reese’s Cups glued together with a glob of peanut butter.) Good times.

Lean meats: Unless someone is selling supermodel jerky, I’ll assume this means skinless chicken breasts, healthy pork cuts (probably not bacon), roasted turkey and small cuts of beef. B.O.R.I.N.G.

Cut back on sugar: Hahahahaha! Nope. (I’m sure this was the FDA’s idea of a joke. Those wacky FDA employees.)

So, starting today, I’m on a healthy eating mission. Just as soon as I finish my chocolate covered cherries from Harry & David. Or . . . maybe that counts as a brown food AND a fruit! Shazaam!