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Cooked freight follow up

Yesterday's educational encounter with low-grade restaurant food laced with MSG has had some interesting outcomes.


  • I had a panic attack this morning--my first since I really cleaned up my food act several weeks ago, possibly supporting my suspicion of a causal link between MSG and the attacks
  • I've had a developing migraine all day--oh joy
  • I've started reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
  • I've put the documentary "The Future of Food" into my Netflix queue, thanks to a rec from serenity_valley


"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." That's the first sentence in Chapter 1 of In Defense of Food, entitled "An Eater's Manifesto". Pollan goes on to define food in ways that shouldn't surprise any thinking person: the stuff you buy from farmers or the edge of the supermarket, the stuff without much, or any, packaging. The stuff that's no more than a simple processing step or two away from its original state. The stuff that can't be advertised, patented, trademarked.

He spends a lot of the book defining "food" by what it is not. He examines the history of the food manufacturing industry, which increasingly produces what he calls "edible foodlike substances," what I call cooked freight.

I guess Project Empty has entered a new chapter.

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( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
str8ontilmornin
Apr. 7th, 2008 05:26 am (UTC)
My first real glimpse of the cooked freight was when I started reading labels years ago and came upon "cheese food". I have to say I've been wary of this processed food ever since my stomach has been unable to take our weekly trips to Taco Bell.

Moving to Portland has been a blessing for us in that respect, however, sad to say, Tillamook cheese has taken on the foul blandness of "cheese food" for me.
vchrusch
Apr. 7th, 2008 07:18 am (UTC)
I always used to joke that "cheese food" was the product that manufacturers used to feed the vat so they could grow more processed cheese. Scary stuff that is.
emeraldsedai
Apr. 7th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
Ha! The cheesefood cries "Feed me, Seymour!"
emeraldsedai
Apr. 7th, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC)
Tillamook's black-label extra-sharp cheddar isn't bad, but most of their cheese has long been a bit rubbery and bland.

Portland really is a haven of good food. The valley is a farmland treasure-trove, and over and over again, despite the Long Gray, I bless the good fortune that made this place my home.
constance_b
Apr. 7th, 2008 10:37 am (UTC)
My dad and Radio4 both sing the praises of that book. But I spent yesterday making soups and my kitchen looks like a bomb has hit it, so I'm feeling sympathy for freight eaters. Way less washing up.
emeraldsedai
Apr. 7th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
Hee! Me too--the soup, I mean. Stock from scratch, noodles from scratch, freshly-stewed chicken. And my kitchen, too, has an "aftermath" look to it.

But the soup is FANTASTIC, well worth the dish-washing exertion that must follow this evening.
roseambr
Apr. 7th, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC)
I've obviously got to get that book. Sounds like a very educational experience. As for cheese food, yickes, what nasty stuff. My husband is still reeling from when we were still dating and I read him the ingredients of the can! I assured him if it did not require refrigeration it was not cheese! He hasn't had any since and it was a staple for his bachelor life.
emeraldsedai
Apr. 7th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
I'm getting well into the book this morning, and it's excellent. It's written in a casual, conversational style that's very pleasant to read--more like a long blog post. Already, in the introduction, I've learned that the whole concept of "nutritionism"--the idea that somehow science can help us eat our way to longer life and perfect health--is suspect. The author simply points out that human beings have always, for millions of years, fed themselves perfectly well, and only in the last 50 years have they sought advice on the subject.

My sister tells a story from her drug-use days, in which, both hungry and not quite in her right mind, she ate half a box of Chikin-in-a-Biskit crackers with spray cheese, then fell asleep across the bed with her arms hanging off the side.

"When I woke up, my hands were HUGE!" she says.

It's like the perfect moral story about the dangers of drink, drugs, and MSG.
birwulf
Apr. 7th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)
I second the recommendation of "Future of Food". Lots of good info that helped change a few of my eating habits.
emeraldsedai
Apr. 7th, 2008 11:43 pm (UTC)
It's listed on Netflix as being subject to a "very long wait," so I'm thinking now is as good a time as any to try their "Watch Now" option.
serenity_valley
Apr. 8th, 2008 12:41 am (UTC)
It's one of the videos in our Second Saturday lending library (it was the second doc we watched for Second Saturday) so you can borrow it from us if you want.
emeraldsedai
Apr. 8th, 2008 04:41 am (UTC)
Thanks for the offer. I'm going to give the watch-now option a try--have been wanting an excuse, and this seems like a good one.

Meanwhile, I'm very much enjoying In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.
serenity_valley
Apr. 8th, 2008 04:53 am (UTC)
That's a great book. Have you read his Omnivore's Dilemma? Also great. Oh, and Botany of Desire: A Plant's Eye View of the World and Second Nature: A Gardener's Education, which are also good. He's one of str8ontilmornin's food heroes, in case that wasn't, you know, obvious. ;)

Two others on his list of food heroes: Marion Nestle (of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health fame) and Carlos Petrini (founder of the Slow Food movement, which I think I've mentioned before). As I said, he's a HUGE resource on this subject.

Another book, called Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed, which is a compilation of short essays by these authors and others, is a great companion to the The Future of Food.
emeraldsedai
Apr. 8th, 2008 07:00 am (UTC)
Great references! Thanks. Either you or S. has told me about the Slow Food movement, and I've done some reading about it. The other titles you mention are new to me, so I'll look forward to looking them up.
owzers
Apr. 9th, 2008 06:52 am (UTC)
Hey Sweetheart! I'm sorry to read about your panic attack - stupid MSG! Hope you're recovered. I'm definitely going to try your soup recipe. I'm ashamed to say I'm a Velveeta junkie. I need to knock it off, I know. On the plus side, I've stopped drinking 3 sodas a day and am down to about 3 a week, and working on getting down to once a month. I'm still cleaning my house. I've been feeling this urgency to give stuff away - like maybe I'm not going to be around much longer or something. Kinda of freaking me out a little. I finally watched my Reiki 1st Level Attunement DVD tonight for the first time (I bought it about a year ago). It was relaxing, but I didn't experience any extra sensations that they mentioned might happen - no unusual scents, or sounds or voices or lights or tingling. *sigh* Maybe I was already attuned so it wasn't a big deal?? That's what I'm hoping anyway. What do you think? Sorry it's been so long since I responded - this laptop keyboard drives me crazy - my ginormous fingers keep hitting the wrong keys and I have to hit backspace constantly. Grrrr. Hee! Stupid big fingers! Hugs!
emeraldsedai
Apr. 9th, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
I know the feeling of slight freak out while decluttering. I've had many, many thoughts along those same lines. I don't think the urge to declutter means some deep part of you senses imminent death. I think the healthy, natural urge to live in clear surroundings gives rise to the decluttering urge, and the very significant change decluttering represents is a kind of new life. You have to leave the old one for it, and it's a kind of spiritual death. That's what I think you may be experiencing.

It took me AGES to get used to my first laptop keyboard, but now I don't notice the difference. Stick with it! Your fingers are pretty smart.

I believe that in giving up diet soda, you've taken the single biggest step most Americans can take away from the cliff-edge of dietary catastrophe. Good for you!

That said, let me just add that Velveeta is EEEEEEEEEVIL! Back away from the Velveeta! Delicious cheese sauce is easy to make, and all the fine folks in Real Dairyland will thank you. As will your gallbladder.

I've said before and will say again that you are far advanced beyond Reiki 1st Level Attunement. However, those subtle sensations the DVD mentions (and which you are probably immersed in all day long) are imperceptible to anyone in a freaked-out state. If I were you, the only thing I'd do in that state is take Rescue Remedy, do some deep breathing, and rediscover my "ground state," the bodily condition where things feel calm and well-resourced.

THEN you'll easily get back to noticing the subtle emanations, like you always do.

I'm so glad to hear from you!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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