Choose carbs…

I’m completely and totally sick to death of hearing about low carb this and low carb that. Beyond the ridiculous amount of advertising and marketing that is now being slung at me on a daily basis about this low carb folderol I’ve actually had otherwise perfectly sensible and intelligent people try to tell me that there’s some value in this rubbish. Once again, Tomato Nation comes to the rescue.

People, everyone dies. Deal with it. You are going to die. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, you can do to prevent it from happening. You are worm food from the moment you’re born. The only unknowns about our eventual demise are where, when and how. My mind just completely boggles at why anyone would, knowing that they might be a corpse tomorrow, choose to live anything less than the most pleasant life they can make for themselves.

Most of us will never be wealthy. Heck, most of us won’t even be affluent and a lot of us are going to live our lives either teetering on the brink of abject poverty or swimming in the deep end of the pool of privation. Very, very few of us will ever get to live in an opulent pleasure palace having our every need and want catered to. Cripes, most of us are going to ride this spinning rock never having been truly loved or appreciated by anyone. With these things as a given why would you want to deprive yourself of food in any way shape or form?

Right, right. We’re fat. Yup. No denying it. Americans are lard asses. We’re huge. The other day at work my coworkers and I were actually seriously discussing the need for us to offer a bariatric chair as an option in our line of standard seating. That’s a chair for the drastically obese. That’s right. The number of fantastically fat folks where I work is significant enough that we have to make sure we offer a chair big enough for them. This was not only precipitated by the fact that some of the fatties we work with won’t fit in the regular chairs we give them, but because they’re breaking them. We’ve had an absurd number of broken seats, bent seat posts, cracked frames… it goes on and on. We are a nation of tubbos. No doubt about that.

But as the Tomato Nation article linked above states really well this is not because we eat too many carbs. The fact is, we just plain eat too much and move around too little. There’s a little bit of wisdom someone offered me when I was in college – never eat anything bigger than your head. Seems sensible, and it is. And yet when you walk into restaurants in most of the US the plates are massive. When I was in Chicago a couple of months back I was staggered by the portion sizes. If you’re not supposed to eat anything bigger than your head you sure as hell shouldn’t be eating a plate of food that’s bigger than your head, your date’s head and the heads of the couple at the table next to you combined. Portions tend to be more reasonable in California, but that’s because folks around here are more pretentious about their food. They forget all too often that food’s for eating and enjoying and not for admiring.

We’re also a nation of suckers. We’ll believe anything we’re told, no matter how absurd or illogical as long as it’s told to us by a talking head on a news program with sufficient gravitas to scare us off of disagreeing (or thinking for that matter). And folks, I hate to break this to you, but the food service industry is laughing at you and your low carb/no carb obsessions. Another part of my job is managing the on-site food service for my company. I talk to the food service manager and the chef in our cafe all the time, and they are rolling on the floor about this fad. Sure, we’ll serve you a burger with no bun and charge you the same price. Sure, we’ll serve entrees that are almost entirely composed of meat. You’ve just taken the highest priced and most difficult to store foods out of our kitchen and also cut our prep time way, way down. We’re sort of hoping the next food fad involves eating everything raw so we can lay off the cooks and really make a killing off of you saps.

Then there’s the whole fiber issue. I’ve had four different people try to tell me that abiding by the Atkins diet doesn’t knock your fiber intake down. Well, sure, as long as you weren’t getting much to begin with you probably won’t notice a difference, but if you cut cereals and bread out of your diet and you’re a typical American that means you’ve probably completely eliminated your soluble fiber intake. If you do eat the three cups of veggies that Atkins says you can have a day that’s some fiber, but it’s not enough. Go read up on diverticulosis and diverticulitis folks. Both conditions are massively common and most doctors agree that they’re caused by low fiber intake. The thing is, if you get enough fiber in your diet to keep your colon in good shape (and your cholesterol under control) you’re going to have to eat plenty of foods with a lot of carbohydrates in them. Your best bet is to eat fruits like apples, oranges, plums, apricots, melons and so on. And you’re also going to need to eat more than a handful of veggies a day (and I’m really sorry but lettuce won’t cut it because it’s got so little nutritional value that it just fills you up and displaces other foods loaded with nutrients you do need). All that stuff is high in carbs and your colon needs it to function properly. You may drop some pounds by dropping all that fibrous, carb-loaded stuff from your diet, but you’re also probably going to end up with a colon so tied up in knots that you’ll need Roto Rooter to come visit you once a month just to keep you from choking on your own feces.

Anyway, enough about nutrition. Eating good food is good for you. Good food is pleasurable to eat. It’ll make you happy. Maybe not forever or all the time, but while you’re eating it you’ll feel great. Choosing to deprive yourself is just stupid. Choose carbs.

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