I was on the last bite of my flatbread sandwich from Quizno's the other day, listening to the "Daily Show," the guest happened to be Katie Couric. She was talking with John Stewart about a documentary she'd recently co-produced and narrated, called "Fed Up."
During the interview, she said it's predicted that a third of us will have diabetes by 2050, and that 95 percent of Americans are estimated to be overweight or obese in the next couple of decades. That last bite caught in my throat, and while I made a mental note to watch the doc, I also felt the urge to hurl.
It's not new, being told whatever you're eating is slowly killing you. Coffee, wine, red meat, dairy, eggs — they were in and out of fashion daily when I was a kid. One night we'd have breakfast for dinner with eggs and bacon, the next we were eating vegan chili.
Everyone knows too much sugar is bad for you, that we as a nation eat far too much of it, and that processed foods often hide sugar in places you don't expect it. Like freaking fast food salads.
So I didn't wanna vom because Couric was saying something I already knew, or even because those stats are more disturbing than I ever could've imagined. It's because the second someone started talking about how bad the sugar epidemic is, the rest of the Bad Food News came rushing back: every major pizza delivery place hides MSG in the food by calling it something else, HotPockets had meat in them deemed "unfit for human consumption," fast food burgers are filled with pink slime.
Being told eggs will raise your cholesterol is very different from being told your Subway sandwich has yoga mat in it. Now I'm worrying about the couple of Oreos I had last night, or the coffee I made this morning in the Keurig. I thought I was being good by making it black but what if they're snickering behind my back? "We've secretly switched Fritz's regular coffee with high fructose corn syrup; let's see if she notices."
When I think about what it'd take for me to eat perfectly, I think about how first I need to slow down and work less so there's time to cook — shit, maybe even have a garden. But in order to work less, I need to lower my overhead. Five minutes later, I'm having a meltdown about the disappearing middle class and dreaming of taking that hermit position in the Verena Gorge in Switzerland, tending my garden, bullshitting with tourists and never eating another yoga mat again.
Jeanine Fritz writes for the Colorado Daily every Monday.