Tasty poisons be gone! or “I only eat what you feed me.”

My battle with trans fat and high fructose corn syrup is getting ugly.  I found some great Vox entries relating to trans fat here, here, and here, and a couple here and here about the dreaded sweetener.  I caught a smidgen of Dr. Roizen on PBS, pitching You: On a Diet, discussing the fact that corn sweeteners bypass your system's reaction to signal it's full.  The result: one usually overeats the violating food product, or even condiment (ketchup, salad dressing, bottled spaghetti sauce, etc), and worse, feels still hungry after consuming HFCS.  The above posts have links to articles in the SF Chronicle and NY Times, and the data is horrifying.

Modern life can revolve around these two  ingredients, and although I can adjust, the hubby's food tastes are common to folks who disdain the flavor of healthy foods.  For breakfast he consumes a yogurt drink (corn syrup) and two breakfast bars (corn syrup and trans fat—I have looked at almost every bar on the market and they contain one of those two, or, like the Kashi bars, are unacceptably tasteless).  He's just not a toast and egg kind of guy, as he tends to eat on his commute.  So far the only reasonable alternative to this is to bake my own breakfast bars, but that would nonetheless contain lots of sugar.  Otherwise, he goes without breakfast, so I need to find an alternative.

Then there's the ice cream and convenience food factors.  Things like Rice-a-Roni and Stovetop stuffing became part of our dinners-in-an-instant life, although I'd never eaten them until I met him.  It's not that I can't figure out how to replicate these things, but it would be healthier to delete these entirely.  Many of the convenience foods are evil—boxed noodle meals (he uses the cheese product to remediate polluted ground), corned beef and bacon (nitrates), lunch meats and processed food in general…things he likes, whether I'm around to cook or not.  Woe is me…I can make perfectly good, healthy meals, but he prefers many convenience foods to their homemade counterparts (e.g. mac-n-cheese, salad dressings), probably because the extra-high sodium, the strange, flavor-enhancing qualities of trans-fat, corn syrup, and MSG gives them the distinct flavor and consistency many people have grown up with.  He grows weary of healthy food (too much ethnic variety?), and refuses to eat anything made by Kashi (dry).  Mostly, he likes the unhealthy taste — I like IN-n-OUT occasionally too, and who doesn't like pizza, but fish sticks are disgusting— which, again, has likely to do with flavor familiarity (with the aforementioned death ingredients).  I can't make Pepperidge Farm Goldfish or Grapevines.  Aaarggghh.

Can there be Wheat Thins,cereal bars, good tortillas, etc without any of these things (and I don't mean "trans fat = 0" thanks to the government loophole of being under 500mg) ?  And taste good?  His Friday night drink is a Jack 'n Coke (hates diet soda).  He hates wheat bread, whole or otherwise.  Only likes fish raw.

I imagine his arteries are aging very quickly and his cholesterol is pretty high, but since I'm the sick one, perhaps the worry is misplaced.  After all, tumors love sugar and vitamin C.

He misses the bad things in his diet (ice cream, sweets) and never notices the improved concentration or well-being when he goes without.  Keep in mind this man was a Marine, and MRE's ("Meal Ready to Eat) tasted pretty good to him.  Talk about a dietary nightmare.  How would that food keep without trans fats and sodium, and how would it be palatable without HFCS and MSG?  On the other hand, Skittles is a small reward for someone defending our country, even as it destroys his arteries.

I'm tossing out half the cupboard.  Phasing out baked goods (lots of refined sugar) will take a while, and making my own pizza dough is doubtful. Not eating the chips with salsa at Mexican restaurants will never happen.  Note to Dr. Roizen: until whole wheat pasta tastes better, I can't get away from the "enriched wheat flour" of regular pasta.  And I'm not ready to make my own Vindaloo/Rogan Josh/Tikka Masala/Kalbi sauce.  It's a long road ahead.

Here's a good sign: this morning he called to remind me it was Farmer's Market day (in Alameda).

Edit:  It's not looking as bad as I thought, although the 96% Reduced Fat Mission tortillas have that trans fat loophole thing going.  Mac-n-cheese & Rice-a-Roni — no trans fat if you use butter; either way, the sodium is Yikes!!  Unacceptable, not to mention all those synthetic ingredients.  The Bisquick has to go, which is fine, I never use it anyway (except for waffles, and it's been a long time since I've made them).  The Pillsbury rolls and stuff—what a drag.  Love 'em for convenience but man are they full of everything.  Looks like I screened the bottled sauces pretty well, although there's MSG in things that don't have HFCS, trans fat, or high sodium.  Freakin' soy sauce has MSG.  All the Campbell's soup has MSG, as well as the Las Palmas enchilada sauce (all the brands do, I checked).  Is it even worthy of the earthquake kit?

This is good though.  Maybe we'll be healthy by summer.  Or maybe we'll be on to cardboard by then.  

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2 thoughts on “Tasty poisons be gone! or “I only eat what you feed me.”

  1. try not to obsess. If you put 'spread' on cardboard would it taste better. What about just keeping it simple? I like the european model myself. Small amounts of delicious, satisfying food.

  2. I look at the fat numbers on everything (since I'd really rather not have another heart attack) and I've noticed that trans-fats are slowly being phased out, even in prepared foods, like crackers, which supposedly couldn't be made without them. When I cook and bake, I use olive and canola oil instead of butter or margarine. Works fine – no big deal, and I don't have to eat like a hippie. No, wait! I love whole-wheat pasta…

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