When I’m planning a meal or going to the grocery store, I always check the USDA food pyramid to make sure my list is on track and ensure that I have a healthy lifestyle.  Don’t you?

The USDA released Dietary Guidelines last week and while they’re more sensible than in years past, I honestly wonder, do they really do any good? Is it more helpful to suggest that people reduce sodium than to suggest they reduce the amount of processed food they eat—which would help on numerous levels, not just the salt issue. My belief about salt, this very essential rock we eat, is that if you don’t eat processed food, and are otherwise healthy, your body will automatically regulate the salt you desire. I don’t worry over salt.

Remember when we were told that eating eggs was bad for us.  Eggs! This culinary miracle, a wonder of nutrition, economy, and deliciousness. They keep telling us that saturated fat and dietary cholesterol elevate blood cholesterol. I’m dubious. I’d bet a lot of money that your blood cholesterol level is determined primarily by your genetics, not by how much steak and eggs you eat.

Fat doesn’t make you fat. Eating too many calories makes you fat.  Fat is calorie-dense so it can make you fat if you eat too much of it.  I don’t need a chart to know that I’m twenty pounds overweight, and I don’t need the government telling me reduce salt and fat. I only need to know that I can and would drop my twenty excess pounds by laying off the Maker’s Mark and that third helping of pasta carbonarra.

What is it about our government that thinks it can regulate how we eat by telling people how to eat.  Want to know how it can change the way people eat? Regulate and tax the all the mega corpoarations making and selling cheap crappy food!

This is a fascinating series of graphics of other country’s how-to-eat diagrams. We’re not the only knuckleheads who think diagrams will actually change people’s behavior. Why doesn’t the government teach people how to roast a chicken or make pasta carbonara?

Todd and Diane, whiteonricecouple, filmed the above during a moment of pique last fall at SF’s BlogHer conference.  If they ever get their hands on actual talent, they’ll be off like a rocket. I adore them.  The two videos referenced in the above clip, btw, are here: Lewis Black on the insanity of the milk aisle at the grocery store, and Jim Gaffigan on bottled water.

Be smart about food.

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73 Wonderful responses to “Something To Say: Stupidity, Humans, Food”

  • James Rosse

    What I wish they would take out of our food is the High Fructose Corn Syrup. I’m a diabetic, and they slip this garbage in our food over and over again. Your body treats it like a fat, rather than a sugar, and it raises your blood glucose much longer and higher than plain sugar does.

    But HFCS is not food. It is a food-substitute.

    • Arturo

      James, Check the ingredient lists on the food you purchase. If you don’t want HFCS in you food, don’t buy the food that contains HFCS!

      • Ssha

        Except that if you want to eat anything that you don’t cook yourself from raw ingredients, you don’t get to eat by this rule.

    • Mantonat

      I think you are making Ruhlman’s point for him. There’s no corn syrup of any kind in a whole chicken you roast yourself. Or in the veggies you add to the roasting pan to go with it. Or in the home-cured pancetta, fresh pasta, and eggs you make your carbonara with. I probably don’t know it every time I ingest HFCS, but I know every time I risk ingesting it.

  • pat

    It follows on from some of your previous articles. We’ve taken food preparation out of the household, told people it’s too difficult for them to do. We’ve told them it’s too scientific, that they wouldn’t understand all the things they need to do to balance their diet; we’ve given so many rules and regulations that, like the juggler who has been passed one ball too many, people don’t know how to handle them all, and they all cascade down onto the floor as people JUST GIVE UP.
    That’s what we need to change. Michael Pollan called it nutritionism and it’s destroying us.

  • Paul

    I hear you man. You wish people would cook more. Hell, I wish people, especially highly educated people, would think more … it’s another skill that we seem to prefer prepackaged for us cause we’re too busy and tired when we get home. Maybe that’s why NE Ohio has one of the nation’s largest rates of credit card debt … cause we can’t think about things like spending our money wisely … not buying dinner out every night. Scheesch … ranting is contagious.

  • Jeff

    The USDA has conflicting goals, since it is also responsible for marketing American-produced food. This is why they request that we reduce sodium without mentioning the sense in avoiding processed foods: it is their *mission* to help big agriculture and factory foods sell more stuff.

    Would it help to move the food pyramid under the FDA?

  • Moonbeams

    Pat has it right. People do not know how to plan meals and cook them. They are paralyzed because they think it is TOO difficult to make a meal. In our household of two, we make most of our food for lunches and we make a dinner almost every night. We bake our bread; we make simple cheeses; we brew our beers; grow a few veggies; ferment our wines; can, freeze, and cure; and offer meals with love to our friends. And we live in an urban townhouse.

    Almost everyone says, “I could never make a dinner like this when I get home. It is TOO HARD and TAKES TOO MUCH TIME.” HELLO! I got home at 6 p.m. and we are sitting down to eat at 7:15 having had time to sit and chat for a little bit over cocktails and a quick before-dinner snack! And you just WATCHED me make the dinner from scratch from REAL ingredients.

    Boxed mac and cheese is my favorite nemesis. I have explained over and over that the pasta takes the same time to cook and that while it is cooking, one can make a lovely sauce from scratch with real ingredients instead of ingredients with words that one cannot pronounce and come from who knows where and it will be done at the same time as the pasta. Doesn’t sink in.

    I blame Betty Crocker and her “au gratin in a box”. And peas in “butter sauce” (there isn’t any butter in that sauce!). And Chef Boy-r-dee. And Mr. Swanson. Oh, and broccoli with cheese sauce – broccoli is better plain with a good squeeze of lemon juice.

    Pass me that spoon, would you? I need to stir the pot a bit more.

    • Mantonat

      No, no, no! You are so wrong!
      Broccoli is way better with cheese sauce. :) I just make my cheese sauce from scratch too.

      • Moonbeams

        I would ,too. I just think the lovely fresh taste of broccoli is better PLAIN! And less fattening! LOL

    • Sandra McKenzie

      Damn! You’re preaching to the converted. I want to volunteer at our local food bank – I can actually teach you how to have a good, well-balanced, inexpensive meal on the table in less than half-an-hour, okay, using maybe some packaged goods such as tomato sauce, or frozen peas, but mostly not. Mac and cheese is a perfect example. And while the pasta water is boiling and the cheese sauce is cooking, you can whip up a batch of pretty sublime buttermilk biscuits and toss together a quick salad. Alas, the patrons of our local food bank don’t want that – they want meals they can microwave, or eat straight from the can. They don’t want home-made biscuits, they want Wonder Bread.

  • Fuji Mama

    I think you, Todd, and Diane need to get together to do a bunch more of these clips! It blows my mind how uneducated we are as a population about our food. I recently made a cake for a baby shower—a simple white cake with buttercream frosting. I had 2 people ask me where I bought the cake, and THREE people ask me what brand of frosting I used. When my answer to all of them was that I made it from scratch, all of their eyes glazed over. I mean really? White cake and buttercream frosting? How much easier can it get? And your roast chicken recipe should be required material for all public school curriculum. Just sayin’.

    • EM

      Agreed! I get razzed because I make my own croutons, mayo, BBQ sauce, dressings, etc. So these people are paying $4 a box for stale bread but I’M the weirdo for making homemade croutons. I don’t understand the logic there.

  • Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen)

    Reduced sodium food 1) tastes bad and 2) often has crazy additives to replace the salt taste. Why is this better than properly seasoned food?!

    A serious question about that ‘rock’: We cook at home nearly all the time and use kosher salt exclusively. I’m not a huge worrier, but I have wondered whether we are missing out on iodine. Have you ever thought or researched the impact of using non-iodized salt?

    • Paul

      Hey Rachel … why not keep both around. The only reason for not using iodized salt is that you don’t want the iodine to mess up other good bacteria or micro-organisms. So you definitely use non-iodized or kosher salt in curing, brines or yeast baking. But just for making things taste good with salt, iodized is fine and then you get some essential iodine.

      • Colin

        You know balanced diet including seafood which is high in iodine eliminates the need for iodized salt. Andyou can test yourself for iodine by rubbing some on your skin.If it disappears after an hour start eating seaweed.

    • ruhlman

      good question. If you eat a balanced diet, you shouldn’t have any iodide issues. In the 1920s in the plain states were sea products rich in iodide were rare, people lacked iodide and developed thyroid problems. I think in 1924 they began adding it to salt.

      • Marcy

        I eat non-iodized salt and I wouldn’t say I developed an iodine issue, but after adding a small iodine supplement drop to my food each morning, my energy is better and I’m not freezing cold all the time. I eat seafood about once a week, but I apparently still needed more iodine…

  • rich sims

    MR, my complement”s to a fine rant! As much processed food as america eats, we are that stupid. I know every one has a busy life, but it’s not that hard to plan weekday meals. Your next book can be on that topic!

  • Dave

    I agree with the rant…but it sounds like you’ve been hangin’ around Bourdain again, Michael

  • Bob

    I wonder if the ‘not enough time’ illusion is a result of the pace we set for the rest of our lives. Because of downsizing, are too many of us faced with the ‘too much work, not enough time’ dilemma … and, thus, acquire a screwy sense of time vs. labor?

    I’ve also got relatives who have discovered the ‘raw food’ craze, misinterpreting the hazards of processed foods, conflating it with being gluten-free, avoiding GMO products … so, obviously, if you don’t have the time to cook, and you shouldn’t use the convenience stuff, you shouldn’t be cooking at all, right? (To which I say, stuff and nonsense! I grew up at a time where Mom worked a full day, then came home and could put a healthy dinner on the table. It’s not like she was denying us nutrition.)

    • EM

      Nonsense indeed. I’ve known a lot of people who “don’t have the time” to cook but they seem to have several hours a week to update their Facebook page, keep up on whatever TV shows they’re watching, go shopping for non-food items, monitor their boyfriend’s e-mail and cell phone usage, tinker with their non-working automobiles, etc.

      I used to work near a McDonald’s and when we closed at 7 p.m., the line outside McDonald’s was approximately 20 minutes long. In the time it took those people to drive to McDonald’s, wait in line for the food and take it home, they could’ve prepared a roast chicken, baked potato and simple salad.

  • derek

    fat really isn’t all that helpful physiologically. yes, you need a certain amount and everything (this amount is very low, btw), but you can generally be filling your stomach with more productive nutrients. if the government is going to recommend that one eat certain food groups over others, recommending against fat is probably the best way to go. (i don’t quite understand the obsession with fruits or the neglect to give a supreme anti-recommendation to alcohol.)

    re: salt, i think we are all aware that processed foods contain huge amounts of salt. even someone eating a diet of somewhat heavily-seasoned homemade foods is consuming far less sodium than they would in a processed food diet. the government is effectively endorsing fewer processed foods.

  • Db Sweeney

    “I only need to know that I can and would drop my twenty excess pounds by laying off the Maker’s Mark and that third helping of pasta carbonarra.”

    Speaking of which, how about a great carbonarra recipe? The Internet is littered with thousands, but 99% of them end up with half cooked eggs clinging to pasta and bad thin-sliced bacon. C’mon Ruhlman, I know you have a trick or two up your sleeve for the “perfect” carbonarra….. and it better not include peas!

  • Drew @ How To Cook Like Your Grandmother

    Brilliant rant, with one exception: “Fat doesn’t make you fat. Eating too many calories makes you fat.” Actually, eating too much sugar and refined carbs makes you fat.

    No one gets fat eating fat, unless they’re also eating carbs. Leave out the carbs and your body regulates appetite appropriately.

  • Zeke

    My wife is gluten free due to celiac disease, not fad or fashion. We have to be 100% wheat free or she gets violently sick. The suggestion to simply look at the ingredients and not buy foods with HFCS or gluten/wheat is ludicrous. These things are in EVERYTHING and often disguised on the labels as “natural flavors”. Wheat is used as a cheap thickener commercially, whereas you would use cornstarch. Anything that needs cooking time in order to turn brown, like soy sauce or gravy is colored with toasted wheat.

    We’ve solved the problem by doing extensive research and by raising much of our own food, like sheep, chickens, and a garden. I can cook a fabulous dinner of lamb chops, rice, and fresh steamed broccoli in 20 minutes.

  • james

    Allow me, for a sec, to put on my tin hat. I figure that the Government knows exactly what it is doing. It puts out a warning about salt. People cook with less salt. The food is bland. They buy processed food and zounds! It’s 100 times better! It has…salt in it!

    I mean, you go to someone’s house and they’re all hyped about the 15 gallons of homemade soup they just boiled for a week and a half. But the recipe called for some huge-sounding amount of salt and they decided to cut it to a teaspoonful. For health.

    Makes you want to run, not walk, to the store for some Campbells, don’t it? It’s got salt. And those big companies give those big politicians some big sacks o’ cash. So there’s plenty of incentive to drive good citizens to the corporate product, the “Italian” salad dressing which lists sugar as it’s first ingredient and HFCS as its second, crap which Italians wouldn’t touch with a ten foot focaccia.

    You wouldn’t want to put OIL on your salad! That’d make you FAT.

  • Deanna

    I don’t understand why so many people swear off carbs, especially the people who are trying to lose weight. I understand cutting down on white flour and sugar, but according to my sports nutrition professor, “Fat burns in a CHO flame”. People really need to grasp that a single nutrient doesn’t make you fat, excess calories do.

    And I 100% agree with your perspective on salt.

    • Marcus

      For me, it has helped me lose weight easily. By having meals that focus on a protein and vegetables I can lose lbs without worrying about much else.

      Generally, I do best when I’m eating protein, veg/fruit and healthy fats like olive oil, nut oils, etc.

      Excess calories might be the thing that makes you fat (I personally think the whole system is more complex, but I digress), but you are a lot more likely to take in excess calories eating a loaf of bread (and/or other grains) every day than meat/veggies. Seriously, I can (and have) lost weight without doing anything else. I didn’t exercise. I didn’t count anything (calories, carbs, etc). Just ate as described above. It seems impossible to overeat like that, you’ll get full first. I’m down 35 lbs from 205 to 170.

      But that’s just my experience.

      • ruhlman

        I don’t know the science behind it but I too drop weight when I cut out carbs. Sigh. I just love them so much.

        • Marcus

          Fortunately, thanks to all this charcuterie business and the magic of salt, I can cut out carbs and still have really delicious and varied food. No-HFCS, homemade sausage stuffed into acorn squash? No problem!

          That sounds good…I think I’ll make that next week.

    • Jean McNeel

      No one, not a person, group, medical group, government group, or corporation has a definitive answer or solution to weight control.

      With very few exceptions they all center on overeating, exercise, under active thyroids, drug reactions, etc. I have never heard in any obesity discussion where it is stated “Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCIOS)” usually makes you fat.( and may make make you sterile).

      To give a simple answer to Deanna’s question…because not everyone metabolizes carbs the same way. Currently, the much maligned Dr Atkins diet where carbs are greatly reduced is gaining more credibility.

  • Janet

    Love the video and the message. It’s up there with “People don’t Read!” Over the pass year, I’ve totally changed the way I cook and eat. I’m now preparing meals with real food (just imagine) and not the stuff which comes in a box or needs to be microwaved, but actually cooking real food. And do you know what? My husband and I feel better and have loss some weight. I enjoy cooking, always have and now I get to do what I enjoy. Tonight’s dinner, we’re having roasted cauliflower, sauteed rappini and we’re spitting a grilled rib eye steak. Maybe a glass of wine to go with it. Life is good.
    Thanks for the Rant!

  • Theresa Bruno

    I love this blog! People are always amazed that I bake my own bread. They don’t understand how I can possibly have the time. Yeast practically does all the work for you. Yes, it takes a few hours, but so worth it.

    Its sad that many people no longer know how to prepare healthy meals or even what they are eating. Long live homemade food!

  • Drew @ How To Cook Like Your Grandmother

    Deanna, “Fat burns in a CHO flame” is a nice slogan, but completely meaningless. Look up gluconeogenesis.

    “People really need to grasp that a single nutrient doesn’t make you fat, excess calories do.” I don’t eat calories, I eat food. 100 calories of beef and 100 calories of sugar are completely different. The only way they compare is how well they burn in a bomb calorimeter.

    If it really is just about calories, how do you explain this (fewer calories, subjects gain fat) and this (same calories, high fat vs. low fat, radically different outcomes)?

  • Drew @ How To Cook Like Your Grandmother

    Deanna, “Fat burns in a CHO flame” is a nice slogan, but completely meaningless. Look up gluconeogenesis.

    “People really need to grasp that a single nutrient doesn’t make you fat, excess calories do.” I don’t eat calories, I eat food. 100 calories of beef and 100 calories of sugar are completely different. The only way they compare is how well they burn in a bomb calorimeter.

    If it really is just about calories, how do you explain this (fewer calories, subjects gain fat) and this (same calories, high fat vs. low fat, radically different outcomes)?

  • Kimber

    Many are ignorant by choice and don’t educate themselves to the truth about food and its elements; fat, sugar, salt, carbs, or other life sustaining needs, but, prefer a form of self imposed stupid unknowing sheep following understanding. Gotta look at the source of information too. Who is providing the guidelines and for what purpose. If it’s from the government then it has to be correct, correct? Good to not only read labels but ask some deeper questions. GMO? OMG…. I think that corn has become part of our DNA…….

  • Jan

    Bravo Mr. Ruhlman. Two truisms that are lost on MANY people: fat doesn’t make people fat and dietary cholesterol has never been linked with increasing blood cholesterol. There is some evidence that a diet higher in saturated fats will increase blood cholesterol, though the link is not as strong as some would have you believe. The link is stronger when it comes to synthetic trans fats.

    Too much fat can make you fat, not because dietary fat equates with body fat, but because it is calorie dense. Too much of fat, carbs, or proteins could lead to increased body mass but it’s not the type, but as you correctly point out, ultimately it comes down to calories. Nothing fancier than that.

    Re salt, I agree that it wouldn’t be a problem if we didn’t have processed foods, and if we drank water. Our body has a method for removing too much salt; we can help it by drinking appropriate amounts of water!

  • Shaggywillis

    The USDA food chart is a joke. It should be turned upside down. Natural Fats like avocado, eggs, olive oil, coconut oil is good for you and grain is terrible and should be eaten in moderation.

  • Natalie Sztern

    I am odd. It’s the act of cooking that satiates my desire to eat…it is true that excess sugars that the body does not use up turns into fat. Simply put make sure you don’t consume more sugar on a daily basis than your body uses up. Diabetics have had to learn this rule in order to live safely; obviously for other reasons such as heart disease and cholesterol one does not want to consume a lot of fat either. Low glycemic and exercise…so Pasta carbonara is not so good but a slice of cheese is great – full fat cheese- is great. Never never never eat anything that is low in fat as it will never satisfy your taste buds and will consistantly leave you wanting more food.

  • Nancy@acommunaltable

    I have to disagree here Michael – when Todd and Diane filmed you they were working with talent!!! I adore them too and you are right – they are poised to take the world by storm!!!
    Ok, on salt. About 8% of the U.S. population has an issue with salt and blood pressure. Likewise, dietary cholesterol does increase cholesterol blood levels in a certain percentage of the population. The problem of course is that we don’t know who – to date there is no simple blood test that will tell you (but no worries, we are getting there!!). So, the government has a problem – what do they do with that information? If it says nothing, it will be accused of “not protecting the American people from the evils of manufactured food” and if they do, well, they are subjected to your “rant!:-) A definite “no win” situation and another excellent example of why the government shouldn’t take on the role of the “food police”.
    Ok, back to the dreaded “dietary guidelines” –
    Bear in mind that these are “general” guidelines – they aren’t specific to the individual but at present it is the best we can do. While excess sodium may not actually harm a large percentage of the population it isn’t beneficial either. So suggesting that Americans reduce their salt intake is not necessarily a bad thing. Likewise, most processed foods aren’t inherently “bad” in the sense that eating them will cause immediate harm. Now, are they the most nutritious option? Of course not – and their impact on individual health is as varied the individual!!! Again, another great example why it is hard to apply “general guidelines” to the individual – some people can eat a large amount of “junk” food and yet be very healthy (they of course are an exception, but they do exist!) The problem is that instead of people saying “ok, I’ll skip the chips every day because I am a bit overweight” (which requires some personal responsibility) society says “tax the chip manufacturers!!!”. It is far easier to blame the food manufacturers for American’s poor dietary habits than for us to accept personal responsibility for them!!!

    Finally, I am bit confused here. You advocate against the government telling us what to eat and yet you seem fine with government regulating “crappy food” – they are two sides of the same coin Michael!!! I get the impression that you are fine with the government regulating foods you don’t approve of but aren’t when it comes to things you like (ah, isn’t that always the way of things!!). The bottom line is that we have to take responsibility for what we eat (as in knocking off the Maker’s Mark and the third serving of carbonara) Relinquishing this responsibility to the government isn’t going to solve America’s health issues. Even if we eliminated all “junk food” I would suggest that Americans would still have an obesity problem – we would simply find substitutes for the “junk” foods since we are “hard wired” to enjoy fats and sugars.
    Thanks again for a great discussion and for allowing me me own personal “rant”:-)!

  • Gary Terner

    Michael, a semi-related issue, that I would love to hear your take on is: Why are we supposed to treat commercial chicken as if its poison? Shouldn’t that be Agribusiness’s job? Shouldn’t Perdue’s finest be safe enough for the public to handle when we buy it? I think that its reprehensible that the public is made to be responsible for the industry’s lack of safe handling standards.

    Of course, we as professional and domestic food handlers are on the hook to be scrupulous in all food handling procedures, both in our homes and in restaurant kitchens. But, being told that we should just assume that chicken is contaminated and should be handled as such is just ludicrous to me. It drives me bat-shit-crazy. Michael, I would love to see you bring your considerable research and writing talents to bear on this subject.

  • karen downie makley

    amen. amen. amen. fat is just math… it really only was ever about the calories… and much of your health as a living thing is just organic biology. it really only was ever about the chemicals (in processed food). don’t eat too much and don’t eat chemicals. if you do that much and have halfway decent genes, you can expect a reasonably long and happy stay on this planet.

  • helen

    One of the simplest and most effective ways to get your children and family involved in understanding food, and cooking, is to grow it yourself. Even if it is only a patio garden, the joy of watching a tomato grow, and the deliciousness of eating it fresh or coming up with recipes to use the 10 pounds of tomatoes is empowering, uniting AND healthy. Growing an organic garden was the very best thing I have ever done for my family, my cooking and my realization of connections between the three.

  • Darren

    A major contributing reason for obesity is people’s unwillingness to cook for themselves and/or learning to cook. You often hear the cliche, “I don’t have the time.” What are these people doing that fills their time so fully? Probably texting, twittering, and complaining about how they have no time to do anything . . . while they spend two hours on the computer or turning into a mindless boor in front of the TV watching the latest iteration of Dancing With The Survivor or some such merde.

  • Sergi

    Humans are really stupid about our food and we “swallow” it tells us on television advertising.
    In Spain we eat a food that affects the amount of food eaten, organic, no preservatives, no dyes, fair trade, high in amino acids, vitamins and minerals, chocolate and almond praline, we added spirulina and garcinia cambogia … and it works. Chocolate is called LOLA. We hope someday I can prove.
    Congratulations Michael Ruhlman on his blog, is really interesting.
    Greetings from Spain.

  • Lee

    Right on the money as usual Ruhlman! My cholesterol has been in the 270 region since I was 28 and in perfect health. The last 12 years it stayed in that region never varying to much. Now its a problem, so I tried Lipitor (the number one “branded” medicine on the entire planet, 12 BILLION in sales) and the side effects were miserable and quit taking it. They scare the living crap out of you, saying you have a 12% chance of dropping dead at 50 of heart failure due to your high cholesterol. I tried eating 25+ grams of fiber and the fish oil pills and it went up slightly, so I’m convinced that 270 is what my cholsterol should be!
    Anyway the roast chicken and tomato water pasta are two of your recipes that I make on a regular basis and they are without fail, two of my finest dishes. The chicken comes out perfect every time.

    Have you tried the Evan Williams single barrel 1999 & 2000 or Buffalo Trace Bourbon’s? Devine and highly recommended!!

  • The Yummy Mummy

    I really love this video, Michael. I think the more you say it – the more we all say it – the more it impacts other people, like the woman you talked about in the video. You changed her, changed the way she thinks about fat. That’s why all this talking and writing is important.

    In my girl’s school, they have a state-funded program designed to get kids interested in eating vegetables. They are also hell bent on trying to get parents to feed their kids reduced fat products (like milk). They constantly send home slips of paper asking us to consider switching milk. My husband sent the last paper back with a rant about how good fat is and how reduced fat products are unnatural. They stopped sending papers.

    You are fighting the good fight here, Michael. Thank you.

    Kim

  • Grant Chapin

    You hit it out of the ballpark with this one. As a Food Service Director in a school district, we are fighting the stigma that the schools are making the kids fat. The education sytem needs to focus on making good choices, and eating real food. Both at school and at home.
    I really enjoy your blog, keep up the good work.
    Grant

  • Rhonda

    Ruhlman.

    I agree, wholeheartedly, about the salt issue.

    Drop the processed foods and eat real food. If not, your body will adapt.

    You may find that it has to work harder and subsequently extra poundage is accrued and it will be tired but it will adapt. Our bodies are biochemical geniuses. How soon you want to wear out the machine is your choice.

    What I find most interesting about this topic, Michael, is where you have placed your umbrage.

    Really? Is the USDA dietary guidelines the place to look for swaying public opinion? Is “The Man” really telling us what to eat?

    How many people have even used these guidelines as a resource?

    What is more probable is that they have watched a 3.5 minute (or so) segment on one of the morning shows or the newish afternoon shows that tells us that certain things are good, certain things are bad. All produced and presented by people who are not smart enough to understand that everyones body chemistry is different.

    This post got me thinking. If a morning show or afternoon talk show has a certain amount of segments to fill each day/month/year, you are inevitably going to have to make shit up because the truth is simple and it can be said in one sentence and no one wants to hear it.

    It doesn’t sell advertising space. It doesn’t sell the Executive Governmental Clusterfuck agenda and it only needs to be said once.

    Eat real food — Consciously.

    Enjoy it!!!!!

    Stop when you are satisfied (Remember Chef Keller’s acknowledgement of “The Law of Diminishing Return).

    Feel good.

    Repeat.

  • Rhonda

    &,

    One more thing….

    I love the photographed, videoed rants!

    Fantastic to see an artist in process (you) and great video artists capturing it.

    Keep it up. More please.

  • Eskimo

    I guess I’m one of the stupid humans. I watched it 4 times and couldn’t identify one single cogent point to the rant. You claim to have something to say but entirely neglected to say anything of even limited value. Your opinion of How/Why we’ve become food morons would be interesting. Stating the simple fact that some people are misinformed really isn’t news.

    I don’t get it. I like the other video’s however.

  • David Dunbar

    Love your site. I really do. But Pachabell’s Canon? It’s the fast food of classical music.

  • Donna

    I get what you are getting at here, and I agree with eating more real food,.. but access to said real food + the time and education and tools to prepare it are simply out of reach for many Americans (I have a friend on a fixed income who would be happy to have a stove and fridge that actually worked half the time let alone the time/energy they need to cook). We need to make sure everyone has places that sell fresh produce/meats etc. at an affordable price close to their work or home, an early education free on good food free of big agribusiness bias, and making sure everyone has access to working appliances to prepare good food. Really it’s going to come down to getting rid of poverty and pushing for a healthy work/life balance which is essential for a healthy and loving relationship with food where people have the tools and education they need, and the time to sit and enjoy food with family and friends which so few Americans get the chance to do nowadays.

  • Lee Ann Foster

    I too feel lighter when consuming less grains and starchy foods but the biggest folly I entered into when turning to a plant based diet (with noble intent) was replacing animal products for soy products. Soy is still being promoted as a health food … which if you google “the dark side of soy” you see that only fermented soy products are actually fit for human consumption. One of the five sacred grains soy beans were sown for fixing nitrogen in the soil. Later, fermentation made the soy bean consumable.
    At the time (early1990′s and again 2003 -2007) I was eating what most vegans do – those fake imitation meat-like products which are all soy based. This rude awakening had turned me off veganism then.
    I kept the soy sauce and the miso and threw all the soy milk, soy butter, soy mayo, soy yogurt and soy flour out. Shifting to a plant based diet still requires one to cook at home from scratch. Consuming packaged foods even those tooted on Oprah is still not quite right. Our noble attempts to do right can lead to folly, following these trends without thinking can be dangerous too.
    Point is we all have to do our homework. Thanks for the rant. LA.

  • Dawn

    Just started my nutrition unit in culinary school and had to do a daily food diary. My sodium intake was way below mypyramid.com which I attribute to miniscule reliance on processed foods.

  • John LaRosa

    Michael, thank you. I needed a good laugh! Your rant is so genuine Cleveland. I love it.

  • Stephanie

    I agree completely. I get emails from parents constantly asking me how to reduce fat in their kids’ diets. They’re terrified of child obesity. I have giving up explaining that no single nutrient is responsible for child obesity, that dietary fat doesn’t make you fat, and the science backs this up. But then everybody thinks you’re a low carb nut (which I’m not). It doesn’t help that Michelle Obama has the opportunity to clarify with her Let’s Move program, but she hasn’t. Sigh.

  • rgl

    i cannot stop cracking up over these comments. it is funny to see a bunch of privileged white people talking about how it ‘only’ takes an hour to make dinner every night and how they can’t imagine people not taking the time to bake a cake from scratch. give me a break. the longer you people spend thumbing your noses at the ‘lazy’ or ‘stupid’ people who don’t have time or money to prepare fresh meals from whole/natural ingredients, the farther we get from any kind of solution to a systemic problem for the poor and underprivileged.

  • Kouseiko

    I think that something is missing here. It’s right out of Nazi Germany! They used “Zyklon-B” to poison off the “undesirables” and Jews. I find it rather interesting — and apauling that this country has been following in Hitler’s footsteps. Certainly, Zyklon-B is no longer used. But wait! There^smore! For an added bonus, we hsall poison your food with tonnes of SODIUM CHLORIDE!

    The food that is normally handed out at various food banks (mainly used by the aged and poor, the other “undesirables” in American society) are processed food tinned goods. READ THE LABEL! On product comes out of Wisconsin, and has TWO AND A HALF GRAMMES of sodium chloride (common table salt)! Why? We all know by now that too much salt (sodium) in the diet can lead to a coracopia of health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes. etc. The point is that this is a conscious effort as to flood the foods that the poor and elderly eat out of economic necessity, and just pour litres of salt into these products — as to KILL THESE FOLKS OFF! The modern “Zyklon-B” or “extermination” programme!

    The point is that through these food banks people are being poisoned to death. Why? Simple, to exterminate the poor and older folk out of society, the US Government no longer has to PAY for these people or indeed “care” for them!

    Is this not reminicent of the “Konzentrationslager” of Hitler’s “Deutsches Tausend Jahr Reich”?

    The poor people cannot AFFORD to shop at good places such as Whole Foods or other equivalent health food shops, and get a decent HEALTHY diet! That is only reserved for the Middle Class on up the economic spectrum!

    This is a terrible silent blight on American society to covertly being in the business of human extermonation or eugenics! One would have thought that one had fought that during the Second World War! HEALTH SANE food MUST be made avaliable to ALL people economically and not to exclude the poor and elderly of America! This is a subtle genocide and MUST STOP AT ONCE!

    It is not surprising that thies Corporatocracy seeks out to kill off those deemed economicly “unfit” to live! This is exactly what Adolf Hitler believed, and it has now been imported into American society! Shameful!

  • Kouseiko

    Sorry for the countless typos! Due to malfunctioning keyboard!

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