Food for thought
I had a nightmare that I was sitting on the couch watching TV when I went to bite into a cupcake. Just as my teeth grazed the icing a spotlight hit the house, the sound of a helicopter could be heard overhead, and men dressed like ninjas clinging to ropes crashed through my living room windows screaming, “Freeze chubby. Drop the dessert.” As the cupcake hit the floor, a solitary tear fell down my right cheek, for I knew the jig was up and I had been busted by the FAT POLICE. I woke up, the sheets were soaked with sweat and I did what anyone in my situation would do. I watched a re-run of “Oprah” while splitting a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia with the dog.
Is it just me or have we all gone a little nutty when it comes to nutrition and people telling us how to live our lives? I know our elected officials have the best intentions, but if you look at the history of man, lots of very bad things have been done with the best of intentions. Do you remember the TV series “The Love Boat”? How about “Flavor of Love”? I rest my case.
It started with trans fats and the government telling restaurants how they had to cook their fried foods. I know I’m in the minority, but I never agreed with it. I think if you own a restaurant or fast food joint you should be able to make the food however you like. I mean, no one is forcing people to eat at these places, it’s their choice. If you want to eat junk and get as big as a house (as unhealthy as that is), it is your right as an American. Trust me, if Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were here today, they’d not only agree with me, they’d do so while splitting a bloomin’ onion at the Outback.
I went to the hardware store the other day and they have these big steel bins filled with different size nails. But nowhere in the store did they have a sign that said – “Nails, Don’t Pound In Head”. I mean, there is an assumption that the people shopping in the store are not idiots. In that vain, we know French fries and chicken wings and loaded potato skins are not good for us and if we’re smart we won’t eat them on a regular basis. Period. But, if once in a while we want to treat ourselves, we should be allowed to have them exactly as the restaurant wants to make them.
I love Cinnabons. Those are those unbelievably delicious and fattening cinnamon buns they sell at the rest stops on the Thruway. There’s a reason they’re yummy – they have 730 calories. That is also the reason I may eat, at most, one a year. In researching this column, I found a fitness website that calculated how long it would take you to burn off that many calories if you purchased a Cinnabon at the mall. They estimate you’d have to walk 36.5 laps around a quarter mile mall for three hours to work off 730 calories. Or, you could do what normal people do and go easy on dinner and dessert that night. Should we ban Cinnabons and KFC extra crispy and large chocolate Frosty’s at Wendy’s? No! Again, common sense should prevail.
The latest move has been to ban trans fats in desserts at local bakeries. Memo to politicians – nothing at the bakery is good for you and trimming 50 calories off someone’s favorite cupcake isn’t going to change their dress size. Eating one cupcake instead of six; that’s the way to go. And how much sense does a law make when you can buy cakes already boxed at the supermarket or your local convenient store that are not subject to the tough new rules? And by the way, who is going to run around testing every cookie in the county? Maybe we should spend our time chasing down Jesse James instead of Betty Crocker? Any nutritionist will tell you that if you eat a balanced diet and exercise you’ll not only be healthy, but probably like what you see in the mirror. You can’t outlaw bad behavior and the fat police can’t keep someone from sitting on the couch and inhaling a bag of Oreos. Which last time I checked, were still legal.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to every effort to help us eat healthier. Getting soda and candy out of school cafeteria – no problem. You want to force restaurants to post the calories on the menu right next to the item – fantastic. That will work. Not as many people will order that Jack Daniels bacon cheese burger if they know it has 1,540 calories. But again, let it be their choice.
Since September is the food issue of CRL, I want to leave you with the recipe for my favorite lunch you can make at home for under $5 bucks. Take a fresh Kaiser roll and cut it open. Place three slices of freshly smoked turkey, two slices of provolone and a generous portion of roasted red peppers. Place in the oven long enough to melt; while that’s happening mix a quarter cup of mayonnaise with some garlic salt. Smother the sandwich with mayo, toss a pickle and some Cape Cod potato chips on the side and enjoy. I have no idea how many calories it has, but trust me, it’s the best sandwich you’ll ever have. And if you’re feeling guilty after eating it, I suggest you duct tape two huge Cinabbon’s to your backside and walk around the mall until its Halloween.
That should do the trick getting rid of the treat.
John Gray is a Fox23 News anchor and contributing writer at the Troy Record. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org