Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Would Have Preferred to Remain Ignorant

by Rob Wells

In recent days I've watched two documentaries that have totally screwed up my life. I feel like all my life I've been merrily running stop signs, blissfully ignorant that I was running over puppies--puppies that give you cancer when they die. (I'm not so good with the analogies.)

The first documentary I watched was Food, Inc., a rather damning look at the food industry. It's not a PETA-style video where they focus on the plight of animals--those sad, delicious animals--but instead this one talks about how the mass industrialization of the food industry is unhealthy, harmful to the environment, and possibly corrupt.

None of this came as an enormous shock to me; I briefly worked for ConAgra, a massive food conglomerate that was mentioned in the show. As such I've read lots and lots of studies about food additives and growing methods. And, for the most part, I was fine with it. There's nothing particularly shocking in the statement: "Guess what! Food can make you fat/sick!" However, I was rather upset by the blatant corruption in the system: the former beef lobbyists who now run the FDA and the crazy laws that prohibit anyone from criticizing the food industry. (WHAT?)

Shortly after watching Food, Inc. I saw a related documentary, Super-Size Me, in which a healthy person eats only McDonald's food, three meals a day, for a month. It was fun to watch as he got sicker and sicker, gaining 25 pounds in 30 days. It was fun to watch as he puked trying to eat a Super-Sized double quarterpounder meal (because he used to eat healthily and couldn't handle the quantity of food). And it was embarrassing to think that I could fairly easily eat a super-sized double quarterpounder meal, because I'm a fatty.

Anyway, I imagine that I could have drowned my concerns in a pile of cheese fries, but I made the mistake of watching these shows with my wife, and we are now Living Healthy. In fact, just yesterday I bought couscous (if you can imagine) from Whole Foods (if you can imagine). (This was shortly after I bought Diet Coke at the regular grocery store.)

(Amusing note: my one major business success when I was at ConAgra was that I studied and recommended the discontinuing of Orville Redenbacher's Organic Kernels. So... sorry about that, Whole Foods.)

I don't imagine that my diet is going to change dramatically. I'll eat out less, but I'm already eating out less (because the doctor hates me). More importantly, we're going to try to ween our kids off of McDonalds. We hardly ever go there as it is, but it's their favorite place on earth, surpassing church and Disneyland. Whenever we drive past they immediately announce they're hungry.

It's not that I don't like healthy food. I quite like it. It's just that I also like convenience, and healthy food is a pain in the neck. Subway (the only moderately healthy fast food) is lousy and all of their sandwiches taste the same. And salads at fast food places are, well, salads, and no amount of sad animals in confined spaces are going to make me like salads (unless they--the salads, not the animals--are sprinkled with bacon, which ruins the whole point).

I mentioned my predicament on Twitter and was immediately followed by a Vegan awareness campaign. I read their literature, and it appears that vegans don't eat honey because it's mean to bees. But I say that bees deserve whatever treatment they get. Maybe that should be my new food philosophy: only eat animals that are mean. Bees, lions, badgers, weasels.

I believe I'm going to start a new restaurant.


At 6/22/2010 9:03 PM, Blogger Valerie Ipson said...

Ignorance know.

At 6/22/2010 10:07 PM, Blogger Debra Erfert said...

Bring on the medium rare Badger Burgers ala Robison, with a honey barbeque dipping sauce. Mmmmmm

At 6/23/2010 9:35 AM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

The "mean meat" theory would explain why roast goose is so popular in Europe. I have a gander I would gladly contribute to your grill...

Also, thanks for not sharing too much information. I'm with Valerie on that one. (Think I'll skip the badger burgers, Deb. I know where those guys have been. Also, the six-inch claws are too chewy for my tastes.)

At 6/23/2010 11:16 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

How about skunk shish kabobs?

At 6/24/2010 1:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was so funny! Thanks for a good laugh!

At 6/24/2010 6:19 PM, Blogger Anna Buttimore said...

That guy on Supersize Me was a wimp.

At 6/26/2010 11:38 AM, Blogger Me again said...

Just an FYI, there are people out there who raise their own meat in small herds (we raise 2-3 cows every few years).

These people also sell this meat. We do. We're not in your area, but just wanted to make you aware.

If you wait for the right deal and right people, you can find cows with the barest minimum of shots, grass fed, grain finished. organic, whatever, etc etc. Whatever you decide your requirements are, you can find someone who meets them.

And it doesn't cost an arm and a leg. It costs about the same as the store (around here anyway).


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