The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Unhealthy Foods*

A stands for alcohol (of course), artichoke spinach dip (remember Popeye the Sailor Man?), avocado (if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding).

B stands for bacon, bagels, baked beans, beer, biscuits, boxed pancake mix, bran muffins, burghers, butter.

C stands for cake frosting, candy (of course; the rules we do not ourselves stick to we have to inflict on our hapless children), canned soups, canned tomato sauce, chips, cereals, cheese, chicken wrap, chocolate, chocolate cakes, cholesterol, coffee creamer, colas (including both coca and pepsi), cookies, Corn Dogs, corn syrup, couscous, crackers, croissants (I really hate this prohibition, because my wife loves them), croutons.

D stands for deli meat, dipping sauces (most of them), donuts (of course, given how popular they are), Doritos, dried fruit, Dr. Pepper.

E Stands for energy bars and used to stand for eggs (except that the latter have now been declared healthy).

F stands for fast food, fish sandwich, flavored instant oatmeal, flavored nuts, flavored soymilk (apparently anything that has a flavor is bad for you), French fries, fried foods, frozen meals, fruit cocktail, fruit juices, fruit snacks (anything with fruit in it, it seems).

G stands for gin and tonic, gluten-free products, granola, grilled portabella sandwich.

H stands for hot dogs, hummus, hydrogenated oils.

I stands for icecream.

J stands for jams, jellies, junk food.

K stands for ketchup.

L stands for lemon (bad for the teeth), lunch meat (much worse than dinner meat, I suppose).

M stands for Mac (a coloring agent used in cheese), margarine, mayonnaise, microwave popcorn, monosodium glutamate (what one earth is that?) Mountain Dew, muffins (both low-fat and ordinary), multigrain bread, multigrain chips, mushrooms (and I do not mean just the poisonous ones).

N stands for nonfat cottage cheese, Nutrasweet.

O stands for olive oil, orange juice, organic snack foods.

P stands for packaged cookies, packaged turkey, parfait, pasta, pizza (both ordinary and veggie), Pop Secret, potatoes (according to the head of Harvard University’s Nutrition Department, no less), potato chips, pretzels, processed meats, prepared salads (the alternative, of course, is unprepared salads; however, even my late bitch, Sandy, who always had a healthy appetite, rejected them), protein bars.

Q stands for quiche. Yuk, if you ask me.

R stands for ranch dressing, Ramen noodles, red meat, Reduced-Fat Italian Salad Dressing, reduced fat peanut butter (makes you wonder how healthy non-reduced fat peanut butter can be), rice crackers, rice milk.

S stands for saccharin, salt (without which, however, life is impossible), 7Up, Slim Fast Shakes, smoothies, soda, sodium, soy products, spinach pasta, sport drinks, Sprite, sucralose, sugar (and its opposite, sugar-free products), sunflower seeds, sushi (never mind that Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world), sweetened milk.

T stands for tea drinks, trail mix, transfat, turkey burgher.

V stands for veggie omelets, veggie patties, Vodka (a Russian drink, which God forbid).

W stands for white bread, whole wheat bread, wine.

X stands for Xanthan (for those who, like me, didn’t know, it is a common thickener)

Y stands for yogurt.

Z stands for zucchini, if it is fried.

Is there anyone out there who has avoided all these foods and managed to stay alive? If so, please stand up and be counted.

*Compiled from a variety of websites. Any additions to the list will be welcome.

Arrows and Maxims

Hindu-Eroticism-03The less developed the country, the more overdeveloped the women (John Kenneth Galbraith).

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Almost is not even half (Dutch proverb).

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Man is the unfruitful animal (Friedrich Nietzsche).

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If all the world’s troubles could be put together in a heap and equitably distributed, most people would be quite happy to take their own and slink away.

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The harder you try to be like us, mesdames, the less we shall like you (Jean-Jacques Rousseau).

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Achieve much, make few waves; be more than you seem (Field Marshal Alfred von Schlieffen).

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When pilotless killer drones are put on flyby, will the spectators cheer?

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Yes, women are excluded; from whatever is hard, dirty, and dangerous.

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Realism is the idea that international peace can only be attained by taking into account players’ power and interests. And not on the basis of sentiment and daydreams; as Prince Metternich well understood.

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Historical events do not march in lockstep. Cause and consequence are often intertwined. That is why post hoc can sometimes be propter hoc.

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Life without a feast is like a road without an inn (ancient Geek proverb).

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When a Frenchman reminded a friend of mine that Germany had lost World War II, he answered: “yes, but not in six weeks!”

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Do you really want to insult your enemies? Easy. Forgive them their sins against you.

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Gender: a term feminists use to draw attention away from the fact that they have no penises.

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When people say “without a doubt,” usually what they mean is that there is no evidence.

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The Inquisition was meant to terrify everyone while also producing revenue. With the IRS, it is the other way around. But the principle is the same, as are many of the methods.

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A vicious cycle: The better the medical care one gets, the older one grows. The older one grows, the more medical care one needs. No wonder that, in all developed countries, medical spending is going through the roof.

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Search, and thou will find. “Experts” keep telling people how bad war is for the soul. No wonder many troops are struck down by PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder); so much so that contracting it has almost become obligatory.

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A modern miracle. Four billion people—the UN says—do not have “adequate” access to water. But this does not prevent the global population from growing, nor global life-expectancy from rising.

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Frigidity: the ultimate weapon in the war between the sexes.

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Democracies breed pretty scoundrels, said Plato. What he forgot to say is that autocracies produce big ones.

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If it tastes good it must be bad for you.

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When revolutionary enthusiasm fades, all that is left behind is bureaucratic slime (Franz Kafka).

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An American female military pilot let me into the secret: “Sexual harassment is what I choose to report to my commander.”

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If environmentalists can be believed, God’s greatest mistake was to create man.

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My ideal country? One in which women always want, and men always can.

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A sexist: anyone who does not agree with feminist claims, however foolish they may be.

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The great advantage of democracy: one can throw out one bunch of scoundrels and bring in another. Keeps them halfway decent, or so we hope.

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Fashion: a kind of ugliness so bad that it has to be changed year by year.

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Feminism? The last hurray of Western civilization before it collapses.

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Five percent of the stuff the media publish about health and nutrition is true. Unfortunately it is impossible to say which five percent that is.

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He cut off his balls to spite his wife.

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Whether or not the Holocaust “really” took place is for historians to debate, not for politicians to legislate about.

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Can 1.3 billion Chinese be wrong? Yes, they can. And so can 100,000 feminist professors.

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A duchess behind her silk curtains does not provide more enjoyment than a milkmaid on her bed of hay (Napoleon).

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To be born is bad for your health. Living kills you.

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An elderly woman comes to the police and complains about having been raped thirty years before. “But why now?” asks the policeman “It’s nice to recall the experience,” she says.

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Daesh, at any rate, knows just what it wants. That is more than one can say of 90 percent of today’s democratic governments.

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A true woman told me: a man without body hair is like an egg without salt.

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Had all the world’s witty quotes been gathered, printed, and loaded aboard the Titanic, the ship would have sunk without any help from the iceberg.

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How can I like women and hate feminists? Simple: who said feminists are women? In truth, they are nature’s duds.

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When the going gets tough, feminists fall silent.

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Parents of adult children should keep their wallets open and their mouths shut.

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You cannot bath in the same river twice (Heraclites).

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Feminism means that women should put themselves first (Carrol Gilligan).

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Put whiskers on a dog, and that does not make it a cat. Put breasts on a man, and that does not make him a woman. Put a penis on a woman, and that does not make her a man.

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In no country is madness more prevalent than the US (Alexis de Tocqueville).

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There is only one way to make feminists shut up: with the banana. And how well do they know it!

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So and so many millions of people die each year because they smoked, we are told. Had they not smoked, wouldn’t they have died?

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I never regretted anything I did not say (Calvin Coolidge).

Bull—-

At first sight, ours is the healthiest period in history. Infant mortality, which depending on the time and the place used to affect as many as one out of five newborn babies, is way down. So is maternal perinatal mortality which for millennia was one of the main, if not the main, cause why young women in particular died. Many dreadful diseases that used to plague us have been all but eradicated. So much so that some doctors would not recognize them if they saw them. Others were made curable by antibiotics and other means. Physiotherapy, surgery, and whole armies of other treatments are daily performing miracles.

All this helps explain the population explosion that has taken place since 1945 in particular. Several times over the last three decades or so the alarm bells have been set ringing. First came AIDS, then SARS, then swine flu, then Ebola. And this list only includes a few of the better-known cases. Each outbreak led to apocalyptic predictions about the terrible things that would happen to humanity. In the event, thanks partly to the fact that the reports were exaggerated and partly to medical science, almost nothing happened.

As recently as 1800, even in developed countries such as France, life-expectancy stood at twenty-something years. Since then it has shot up until, in the West, it is now around eighty. The most impressive increases took place during the last few decades. So great were they that they generated a number of new problems. A good example is the rising incidence of various forms of cancer. One cause of the increase is probably the pollution generated by many modern industries. Another may be the simple fact that, until not so long ago, many more people died before they contracted the disease.

Blue_Nudes_Henri_MatisseYet good health also has another face that is seldom mentioned. I am referring to the almost divine delight of feeling one’s body in action while not having to worry about it. By that standard our health, far from being the best in history, is probably the worst. Countless millions worry about what insufficient stress/too much stress will do to their health. The same applies to not enough sun/too much sun, not enough physical activity/too much physical activity, not enough sleep/too much sleep, not enough sex/too much sex, etc. Not to mention the effects of radiation, various kinds of pollution, noise, and what not.

We have become addicted to devices that monitor our breath, our heartbeat, our blood pressure, and similar things on a twenty-four hour a day basis. We have legions of health professionals—bureaucrats, physicians, nutrition-experts, exercise coaches, psychiatrists, psychologists, what have you—looking after us. Often, and if only because their livelihood depends on it, instead of reducing our fears they reinforce them. That again helps explain why, in the U.S the “health-care industry”—over 8 million hits on Google.com—now accounts for almost 20 percent of GDP. Other developed countries are not far behind.

Living, it seems, is bad for your health. Here I want to focus on one of the things people worry about most i.e. their food. Superficially, never before have so many eaten so well. Partly that is because regulation has become far, far stricter than it used to be. Partly it is because, as the most cursory look at the media shows, people have become more interested in what they eat. That is why “food additives,” many of them totally useless, have become a huge industry that generates billions in profits. Tens of thousands of scientists around the world spend their entire working life trying to find out what is good for us and what is not. Especially, it seems, what is not.

Search and thou shall find, says the Bible. The number of bad foods has become almost infinite. Fat food is bad and should be avoided. The same applies to “junk” food, fast food, processed food, and genetically modified food (in Europe). Also to any kind of food that is not “natural.” This, incidentally, begs the question as to whether there also exist such things as un-natural and supernatural foods; what they are like; and who has the privileged of consuming them.

Meat is bad. Both salt and sugar are bad. So are some of the things used as substitutes for the latter. So bad are soft drinks that they have been called “the devil’s weapon against the body.” But water too is bad. Unless that is, it comes out of a plastic bottle and is fluoridated (or not, depending on whom you ask). In that case, provided it has sufficient minerals added to it and consequently costs ten times as much as it should, it becomes good. Tea is bad, but gracious nature has also created coffee. For many years it used to be bad; but recently it has changed its spots and become good.

Not just individual foods but many combinations of them are bad. By one list they include cheese and meat omelets; tomato and cheese pasta sauce; bananas and milk; yogurt with fruit; lemon dressing on cucumber and tomato salad; and melon with prosciutto. Whether these “facts” have anything to do with the widespread popularity of the combinations in question I leave for the reader to decide.

Especially in the U.S, the outcome has been to make people see pleasurable and healthy eating as mutually exclusive. If it tastes good it must be bad, and the other way around. Many foods that used to be good have suddenly turned bad. The prime example are potatoes. For several centuries past they were good—so much so that entire nations lived on them and starved if the crop failed. To this day, grateful citizens continue to put them on the grave of Frederick the Great who introduced them to Prussia around 1750. However, of late the chair of Harvard University Department of Nutrition, no less, in its wisdom has proclaimed that they are actually bad.

The same applies to bread and other wheat products such as pasta. Never mind that Italy where pasta is consumed as a staple food, is a Mediterranean country and that the so-called Mediterranean diet is supposed to be the best in the world. Never mind, incidentally, that Italians actually have a shorter life-span than do the inhabitants of several other European countries. Meat, which at many historical times and places used to be so desirable and so expensive that most people rarely ate it, has also become bad. Milk used to be very good—after all, we all lived on it when we were very young. Now it is good only, if at all, in case the cardboard or plastic container has the words non-, un-, de- or low- printed on it. Never mind, incidentally, that none of these products is “natural.”

Fortunately the opposite is also true. Thanks to the unceasing labors of the Harvard Department of Nutrition among others, many kinds of bad food have turned out to be good after all. Eggs used to be bad because they contained cholesterol. But they were rehabilitated when it became clear that some of the cholesterol is actually good. The same applies to alcohol (“a glass of red wine a day keeps the doctor away”) and chocolate. The first two have even performed the remarkable feat of moving from good to bad and back again. The most recent example is saturated fat. For years it was blamed for all kinds of terrible things from heart attacks down. But “many recent studies” have come to the conclusion that it is “mostly benign.”

Of a former Israeli minister it used to be said that he was normal two days a week, but one never knew which. Likewise, 95 percent of everything published on the subject of nutrition appears to be bull—-.

But which 95 percent?

 

*Henri Matisse, Blue Nude, 1952.