fitness

Beep: Part 2 in a series in which Sam reminisces about food and childhood

According to Wikipedia, “Beep was a fruit-juice-based drink brand, made by Farmers Cooperative Dairy of Nova Scotia, Canada and distributed in Canadian provinces. Originally produced in the 1960s, it was discontinued in March 2010; was temporarily revived in 2012 as a seasonal summertime drink and was discontinued a second time in 2015. Its revival in 2010 featured a vintage carton different from the carton used at the time it was discontinued. According to the carton, the drink contained water, sugar, fruit juices (orange, apple, apricot, prune, and pineapple), citric acid, orange pulp, natural flavours, sodium citrate, canola oil, modified corn starch, sodium benzoate, caramel colour, annatto, and ascorbic acid.”

It was also the class marking beverage of my youth.

For a time, milk was free in school and you paid for Beep. Later, milk was 25 cents a week and Beep was 75 cents. You had to hand in the money on Friday for the week coming. I remember taking on the task of handing out the containers of milk and of Beep and of finding out (in my 8 year old mind) who the rich kids were.

My parents thought milk was healthier–better than sugar juice–but I wanted Beep. Sometimes I got it. My partner Jeff’s grandfather was a dairy farmer and he was also not a Beep fan apparently. In his mind, milk was by far the superior beverage. But I loved it.

Years later, I tried Beep again and I still thought it wasn’t half bad. I think it’s the pineapple-orange combo that I like.

What did you drink at school? Who paid for it? Do you remember?

See Ode to Hotel Toast: Part 1 in a series in which Sam reminisces

fitness

My aspirational cook book problem

There many ways that Tracy and I are alike. We’re friends, co-bloggers, and longtime colleagues with a slew of shared commitments but we are also very different people. Mostly we both accept that “you do you” idea and let the other go her different ways. I road bike. She runs. That’s just one example but there are many. Also, we don’t generally pine after what the other one has.

But there is one thing that Tracy has that I envy. That’s her love of cooking and her cooking skills. I listen to her stories of cooking as a relaxation thing and I’m jealous.

Me, I appreciate good cooking. I love food. But I have very little patience for making it. Partly that’s a matter of personal history. You try feeding three kids with different tastes for many years and food planning and preparation loses lots of its charm. You try to make something fun, and yummy, and new but really they’d rather have tomato soup and grilled cheese or scrambled eggs or veggie burgers and fries.

For years I’ve had the luxury of complaining about buying groceries. Three teenagers and their friends adds up to a lot of food. There’s all the putting in the cart, bagging it, getting groceries to the car, unloading the car, putting the food away, and then blink, it’s gone. I joke that I may as well ring a bell in the driveway and they could all run out and eat and we could just cut out the putting away part.

Things are a bit better now. Some of the kids are away. Their tastes have broadened and they cook. That’s lovely. Last year when I was teaching late and my daughter would text with me with dinner options I felt I’d truly arrived.

But I still haven’t found a love of cooking in me. I mean, yes, I prepare food. I make salads. I boil pasta. I scramble eggs. But I don’t cook in any serious way. When you’re an academic and you want to know something about a thing, what you do is acquire books about it. That’s been my unsuccessful approach to cooking.

I look at cookbooks and I dream of a better, healthier, more ethical life. I aspire to veganism and if only I cooked, I think, I could do that. (I do pretty well as it is 50-75% of the time and that’s not so bad.) So I buy cookbooks. I read cookbooks. I imagine eating the meals therein. But so far, it’s mostly aspirational. I’ve probably made one recipe out of each book.

This isn’t even the entire shelf of aspirational cookbooks. There are more.

I think cooking from cookbooks is just too big a step for me. Last semester my son tried the GoodFood program where they deliver the ingredients for meals pretty much prepared and the recipes in a giant box. It’s kind of “meet you halfway” home cooking. When he’d had a few weeks I got some free samples and Sarah and I made them. The vegan/vegetarian options were pretty good. But it felt like a luxury, the sort of thing I might spring for on a particularly busy work week when the alternative would be take out.

I’ve also been spending a lot more time in Toronto where the take away choices are pretty amazing.

I might try Tracy’s start small thing and pick one night a week to choose a recipe and make it.

Oh, and no more cook book buying!

How about you? Do you struggle with cooking at home? Love it? Hate it? Why?

eating · feminism · food

Dumping the Sugar Dump: critical follow up

chocolate-cakeIs it disordered eating? Is it unfeminist? Is it rationalization? Does it run contrary to the ideals of the blog? Is it dieting in disguise? Does it demonize sugar? Is it unscientific? Is it pleasure denying? Obsession-promoting? Am I a traitor? Troubled? A hypocrite?

These are all questions raised in the comments on my Tuesday post about “Dumping Sugar: this is not a detox.” First thing to say is that this is one of the reasons I love this blog. Readers don’t hold back. I understand why it generated a strong reaction. As the author of “Why food is beyond good and evil,” a committed anti-dieter, and practising intuitive eater, the idea of ditching sugar for good, as if it were a food group in itself and as if it had no redeeming value every one of these comments makes some sense to me. I’ve considered many similar questions myself right here on this blog. I’m the one who rejects tracking because of the panopticon.

But what I hadn’t prepared myself for was the level of snark and self-righteousness. So okay. I get it. The idea of trying to dump sugar strikes you as ill-advised. That’s fine and to those who expressed concern, thank you. Whatever else, it’s a flash point.

In the past, this sort of response (which at times felt harsh, like an attack, but I can handle that, being over 50 and a feminist this is not new to me–in fact, the last time I took this kind of heat was on this very blog, when my post about why putting “ladies” on the locker room door does a disservice to women fell into the hands of 4chan and some woman-hating subreddits) might make me dig in my heels.

But the sugar thing was meant to be a journey (possibly a short one). And part of the purpose of this week is to reflect on my motives and reasons and whether I even want to do this. And though it hurts when other feminists attack me, even more so when they call my feminism into question, I am positively disposed to taking other feminists seriously. So instead of writing a “back the fuck off, bitches, I’ve had  a rough year, month, week, day…” post (which is what I might have done when younger), I’m trying as hard as I can to keep an open mind. My plan here is to consider each challenge on its own merits, doing my best to set aside the snark and self-righteousness because in the end I don’t think that’s any way to get someone on your side if you have a legitimate point to make. Apologies in advance if some sarcasm and snark of my own seeps in.

Is it disordered eating? This is a tough one. I’m no stranger to disordered eating and I know first hand how it can shrink and ravage lives. Is dumping sugar (or any food) necessarily a sign of disordered eating? Not sure but I can see why it might be a red flag for some since it’s clearly something that lots of people with eating disorders do. For what it’s worth, I wasn’t about to get all fanatical about it. I’ve engaged in disordered eating in the past. But cutting out desserts doesn’t strike me as necessarily disordered. If it involved obsession and hyper-vigilance I’d be worried. But I was not planning to be hyper-vigilant.

Nevertheless, I can see how the idea of restricting a food group (not that sugar is in fact a food group) might trigger those with a history of eating disorders. I can also see how it could have some appeal to those with a history of eating disorders, which is why I needed to take this week of “planning” to try to get clear on my motives, which could easily be out of whack (a point I’m willing to consider and take seriously, though I must admit it’s easier to do that without shaming fingers wagging in my face).

I’ll get to the point about obsession in a minute.

Is it unscientific? Probably. I wasn’t proposing a research paper or study on it. I was engaging in some self-reflection about the role of sugar in my life and whether that itself was unhealthy. But in came the questions about what counts as sugar. Do I only mean refined sugar? What about maple syrup? Don’t we need glucose to get through the day? Don’t I realize that it’s impossible to get rid of sugar because it’s naturally occurring all over the place? All good questions that challenge the very basis of the idea that anyone can actually give up sugar. I find the charge that the a personal narrative post is unscientific to be kind of odd. But hey, if that’s your worry, mea culpa.

Is it pleasure-denying? I said:

There is just no really solid reason why these need to be in my life. If life would be sad without them, then that in itself says something kind of sad about the rest of my life.

This, among other things, offended people because of the implicit suggestion that if enjoying dessert is an important source of pleasure, I must be experiencing deficits in other areas of my life. Instead of seeing it that way, people suggested a different way of looking at it: dessert is an enjoyable thing that no one, especially feminists, should choose to live without. I can see wigging out over that if you’ve fought for the right not to have your food choices policed by friends, families and strangers. I have fought for that right myself, and other than what happened yesterday, have not experienced much policing of my food choices in recent years. And I don’t police the food choices of others despite that I’m an ethical vegan and have all sorts of views about carbon footprints, agribusiness, and unnecessary animal suffering and exploitation.

Is it unfeminist and contrary to the goals of this blog? I’ve blogged before about whether trying to lose weight is an unfeminist goal. I’ve blogged about why I will never, ever talk to anyone about weight loss again. I’ve thought a lot about the way it’s possible for individual women to betray women more generally by their choices. We can do this in all sorts of ways and feminists disagree about where to draw the line.

Some would reject make-up. Others might say we shouldn’t go in for marriage. Some will take issue with choosing to be a stay-at-home mother. Others will deny that sex workers can have any agency at all. Still others will stand on their heads to defend women’s right to choose to be sex workers. I do hope that for anyone who thinks choosing sex work is bad for women, your way of expressing that is not to lash out with verbal attacks on sex workers. Then there are those who will say that any explicit attempt to restrict women’s choices (as perhaps the suggestion that someone might choose not to eat sugar) is anti-feminist because … here I think the argument is complicated and has not been articulated well by any of the commenters on the original post.

I’m going to be charitable and say that these readers have a strong view, as do I, that dieting is part of an oppressive set of social practices that keeps women preoccupied with shallow goals and chasing after normative standards of femininity that ought to be rejected.

They ought to be rejected not only because they are impossible for many to attain (as if, if it were possible, that’s where we should be putting our attention), but also because guess what? There is a huge range of bodies and diversity matters and restricting that range has a negative impact on the value of equality. Compromising equality is definitely not consistent with feminist ideals. Therefore, the thought that anyone should restrict sugar must be contrary to feminism because there is no other reason to do it except dieting.

I’m not sure that’s true. I am not and do not intend to be on a diet any time soon. But I can see how people might link any kind of food restriction to dieting. And what if I were? Does that justify aggressive (yes, I do feel that some of the comments were unduly aggressive) policing of my choices? I’m going to go out on a limb here: no.

It’s even had the negative affect of “confirming” (to some of my friends who are perhaps more quiet, less public and less activist about their feminism) that feminists are scary people poised to lash out. As one friend said, only partially tongue in cheek, “Hugs. Don’t sweat it. Those damn feminists get offended about just about anything.” Great. That’s all we need.

I also don’t feel as if I should need to pull out my feminist resumé to prove myself here, on this blog, the blog that I co-founded, that has provided a feminist space for discussion and disagreement that we hope on our most optimistic days will be kind and constructive, not rife with personal attack.

Don’t even get me started on the stealth judgment contained in “you do you.” Seriously? It’s just passive aggressive bullshit that is code for “you do you, but before you do, let me make it really clear why I hate what you do when you do you. Carry on.” Does “you do you” really make up for the strong staring down of feminist disapproval? For the people who are “disappointed” and “surprised” and see their “red flags waving”? I’m 51 fucking years old. I don’t need anyone’s permission to “do me.” [again, thank you to those who reached out with concern instead, it felt much more helpful and genuine]

[stage direction: regain composure then continue]

Here’s my partial diagnosis of what happened (not complete, because I’m sure it was more complicated than this, but this is a start): After reading and re-reading the comments on the blog and the FB page, the overwhelming feeling I get is that at least some readers feel as if the post (and the project) was a betrayal of sorts (perhaps even evidence of my hypocrisy).

What I have to say about that is…maybe you’re right (though I won’t say I’m a hypocrite, I will say I’m not always perfectly consistent. Crucify me now. Oh, I almost forgot, you already did that on Tuesday.). It’s not at all consistent with my general approach to eating to even consider restricting foods for anything other than ethical reasons (as noted, I’m an ethical vegan). I do not demonize foods, do not believe that some foods are evil, and certainly do not go in for fads.  I spend a lot of time publicly rejecting diets, cleanses, weight loss talk (and programs), and have strongly feminist reasons for doing so. I promote body positivity and an inclusive approach to fitness.

And though some of the comments did sting (like the one that said what a waste of time to be spending energy journalling about sugar. For one thing, I feel that posting those journal entries was kind of exposing even if you think it’s a waste of time, and for another thing, it only took me 20 minutes and, as I said defensively in the comments after the onslaught had been under way for most of the day, I’d already spent several hours before and after writing about climate change and collective responsibility, so I think I’m actually making more valuable contributions in other spheres thank you very much), in the end I take the point while also still feeling fairly confident that food is a feminist issue.

To the person who said to Sam’s post that this whole thing is a “first world problem.” Yes. That’s true. In fact, the whole topic of dieting as a form of oppression is a first world problem. If you think about it in the context of global food systems and issues of real food insecurity, food sovereignty, and food justice, the choice to diet or eat whatever the heck you want, the choice to eat or not eat sugar or anything, oozes privilege. I have a paper on that coming out in the yet to be released Oxford Handbook on Food Ethics. Abstract here. But first world problems are still problems. Just because there may be worse problems in the world doesn’t mean we can’t talk about things that aren’t as horrible.

Before I concede entirely, I do want to address the one point several people made about restriction breeding obsession. I’ve had mixed experiences with this and I’m not the only one. As someone who has completely stopped consuming alcohol, I can attest that when I was moderating alcohol I was obsessed. After I quit, I no longer have to think about it anymore. It doesn’t even enter my mind because it’s basically off the table. I don’t read wine lists with a sense of longing and deprivation, or feel I’m missing out on anything when I toast with club soda instead of champagne. And more importantly for me, I don’t seek comfort in mind-altering substances anymore. Sure, continuing to use them would be exercising a freedom of choice that no one has the right to police, but that doesn’t mean it would be a good life strategy for me.

I have also engaged in seriously disordered and restricted eating in the past, and that did generate food obsession. But it seems to me that it is also possible that removing something completely can get it out of your head altogether (another case in point: I do not think about eating meat or dairy anymore — these are not on the menu for me and I do not obsess about them in their absence). So I guess I thought that perhaps sugar might go that way. The thought that it could go that way is not a totally ridiculous thought.

But I can see how it was a mistake to voice that here. People expect more, or perhaps, expect different, from this blog, from me. Even though sharing my plan and my journal made me vulnerable to criticism (and in other ways, but  it’s a blog and I often make myself vulnerable here), it also opened me up to input (let’s be charitable) from a feminist community that I generally respect and that I realize doesn’t have a whole lot of spaces that welcome their comments as much as we usually do here.

And it made me aware that I can still get caught up in what I call “old ideas” even if I try to dress them up in new ways. Don’t tell me you’ve never grasped after something in the hopes of making you “feel better” and found all sorts of good “reasons” for why doing that might “work.” Again, if you ever have, I hope that those who were concerned you might be making a mistake could find gentler ways of nudging you in a different direction.

When I decided I wanted to stop hearing about people’s weight loss, I said:

So I’m just going to put this out there and be totally frank. I really can’t stand it when people talk about their weight loss. I don’t care what the reasons. I don’t care if you’re trying or not trying. I don’t care if it’s for performance or for looks or just because that’s what friends, family, and strangers like to talk about.

You know, you can dress it up any way you like. But to me it’s such a personal thing that our social world has made into a public thing. And I’m always stumped about what we’re supposed to say. “Good for you!” even when someone is trying just goes against everything that feels right to me. It’s like encouraging something that I see ruin the lives of perfectly excellent people who think that weight loss will afford them something they need in order to feel good about themselves (or better about themselves). I just can’t have the conversation anymore, with anyone.

You know what? This week’s sugar dump response made me realize lots of people feel the same way about food and food restriction. It just reeks of “diet” to them. They just don’t want to hear it. And I agree. From here on out, I don’t either.

How about we eat what we eat and get on with our day? No need to write about it or talk about it or make big pronouncements about it.

Thanks for the feedback. Even though I don’t think it’s simply a choice between patriarchy or cupcakes, I’m dumping the sugar dump.

 

 

Sat with Nat

Food Matters

IT takes a human to turn ingredients into food.
It takes a human to turn ingredients into food.

It takes a lot of time to make sure a family is well fed. I try to eat fresh ingredients and unprocessed food. It’s cheaper and it tastes good. The challenge is it takes a lot more energy and time to make that pound of carrots into Lightly Curried Carrot Soup (doesn’t it look yummy in those mason jars?) than it does to buy a tetra pack of pre-made soup. I live with two teenage boys and a high energy life partner who eat about 3,500 calories a day. We basically cook for 8 at any given meal and there are rarely leftovers. Thing is, on weekends where I’m out for a long ride or evening I’m trying to hit the pool all that prep time is a a big pain in the kiester.

This past week I was madly typing up assignments for a distance ed course I’m trying to finish. I had a few hours of overtime at work and some social commitments with friends. No workouts, no time.

My oldest son is now sixteen and asked if he could help me out during my crunch time. My partner has entered a busy time at his paid work, spare time is sparse on the ground. I gladly accepted the offer and he made amazing dinners all week as well as baked goods. It was a wonder to come home to meals and a clean kitchen.
It’s not lost on me that the times when my partner was a grad student he cooked the majority of the meals, now my work schedule is the more contained and flexible so the balance has shifted. Many of my woman identified friends have never had a reprieve from the majority of meal making, I’m fortunate and yet it still irks me to be on the hook for all the groceries and meal planning. It’s very Simone de Beauvoir baking and bringing tea to Jean Paul Satre and his friends. It chaffs my neck that even in a family that thinks about these things the external forces at play re-inforce this gendered division of household labour.

The benefit for my son is a sense of pride in contributing to the family’s well-being while honing important life skills like making meals. For my partner and I, it is a little less running madly about. You can’t workout without nutritional support but that time to make the food eats away at the time available for other kinds of wellness.

I’m very lucky my son has begun to realize he has more available time than the grown -ups do (Thanks to playing Simms3 but that is another story) to help the family function. The food matters a great deal to all of us. The more we can make it the less we spend on it and the more money we have for doing fun things like walking, biking, swimming…and occasionally running.

diets · eating · overeating · weight loss

Why Food Is Beyond “Good” and “Evil”

Orange-JuiceRecently, in response to a comment I made about the calories in fruit juice, a friend said to me that fruit juice is “evil.” I am a philosopher who does a lot of ethics. So “evil” means something quite severe to me. Hitler and Pol Pot were evil.  Fruit juice, not so much.

I checked back with my friend. No, he didn’t mean it was literally evil. Just that it’s as bad as a can of Coke.  Still pretty bad, if not downright evil. It’s a “sometimes” food, not an everyday food. Other anti-juice people jumped in to clarify further. Juice is really, really bad FOR you. Harley Pasternak demonized it the other day in his talk too.  He said that a cup and half of OJ has 240 calories. That’s not quite right, since a cup has 112 calories.

But I don’t want to quibble about orange juice in particular. It’s this whole notion of good foods and bad foods that really gets under my skin. Very few foods, eaten in moderate quantities, are actually bad for you. I ate a big and delicious piece of vegan chocolate cake yesterday.  I don’t believe it was in the least bad for me. Why? Because I don’t eat cake every day. I eat it about once or twice a month.

I can’t trace the quote exactly, but a long time ago I read a great response by George Cohon of McDonald’s, to the claim that McDonald’s food was “bad for you.” He said something like that McDonald’s never said you should eat its food three meals a day, seven days a week.  I hesitate to agree with him (because McDonald’s is problematic in other ways, in my view), but I agree. McDonald’s and orange juice, chocolate cake and potato chips…all of these can be part of a healthy diet without doing damage to the person who ingests them.

Moralizing food by calling some of it “bad” and some of it “good” gives the false impression that foods in themselves have moral qualities. It isn’t a huge jump, and people make this jump all the time, to the claim that people who eat “good” foods in the “right” amounts are virtuous and people who do not are bad.

We frequently think of chocolate cake as “sinfully delicious” and “decadent.”  I’ve spoken to many a dieter who said, not that they had a good week, but that they were “good” that week.  If they wandered off the plan by eating something they weren’t supposed to, they were “bad” that week.  Some foods are considered “guilty pleasures.”

One of my favorite parts of both the  intuitive eating approach and the the demand feeding approach to food is that they both tell us to “legalize” all foods.  Carrot sticks are as legal as carrot cake, neither better nor worse than the other. I can already hear the rumblings in the comments.  “But carrot sticks are better for you than carrot cake!”  I can even hear those who would jump in against carrot sticks because they have a higher sugar content than celery sticks.

The whole thing brings me back to the idea of moderation, which Sam wrote about in such a lovely way recently.  We can live life by strict rules and have all sorts of forbidden foods on a black list if we like.  But forbidden foods are, for many of us, more attractive for being forbidden.

I know that when I finally truly legalized all foods, french fries, which I’d considered my favorite food for all of my life, suddenly lost their appeal. They’re okay, and I do enjoy them from time to time. But are they my favorite foods? No. If I had a choice of giving up fries for the rest of my life or giving up mangoes for the rest of my life, I’d give up the fries. And not because they’re “bad” or even “bad for me,” but because I simply love a good fresh mango.

The food police are those people who like to jump in and tell you about the evil foods that are bad for you and that you should avoid. I’m not interested in what they have to say.  I am extremely well informed about nutrition and used to be able to rhyme off all sorts of fun facts about countless foods. I wrote them down every day and kept meticulous count. I avoided fruit juice and all caloric drinks so as not to waste the stingily parceled out grams of this or that.  Like so many people, I felt so incredibly virtuous when I stuck with it, often for months and even years at a time.

I convinced myself, as I have heard so many others do, that I just loved this way of eating. It was so great! And I was so good! Meanwhile, I felt deprived, especially around celebrations and special occasions, which are enhanced by taking a meal together.  I had my false sense of virtue, but it wasn’t much fun.

I have also witnessed the effect of “virtuous” eating on others who were not so virtuous but who thought they should be. People would apologize for themselves for eating. “I shouldn’t be having this, but…”  That is always a preamble to the next day’s self-flagellation, “I was so bad at my daughter’s wedding yesterday.”   Or this one, “I’ll just take a sliver.”  When I was a young adult, my mother and I polished off close to whole banana loaf over the course of an evening by taking little slivers.  Even today I look back and think I should have just cut off a good sized slice, slathered it with butter, sat down with it, and enjoyed it. Instead, I sneaked into the kitchen a few times and shaved off inadequate pieces that left me wanting more.

When we moralize foods into good, bad, evil even, we deny ourselves permission and set ourselves up not just as failures, but as moral failures.

If the foods that made people feel so bad weren’t forbidden or “sinful” in the first place, they’d be less attractive and people would be less likely to eat more of them than is comfortable.

Are there any foods that, for health reasons, we simply should not eat EVER, that even in tiny amounts are “evil”? For some people, there are “trigger” foods that they simply cannot moderate.  I will have more to say about that in another post. And of course, some people are allergic to things that will kill them if they eat them. And as a vegan I am keenly aware of social, moral and political reasons for avoiding certain foods.

But those foods aside, I’m not sure if there are any foods that should never, ever, under any circumstances, be eaten because of our health. And if there are, fruit juice is not among them.

Some other posts about food, diets, and moderation:

Three Amazing Rants about Food, Nutrition, and Weight Loss

Metabolic Health Is a Feminist Issue

Raspberry Ketone, Pure Green Coffee Extract, Garcinia Cambogia, and the Fallacy of the Appeal to Authority

Why Sports Nutrition Counseling Is Not for Me

Moderation versus All or Nothing

[photo credit: Good-Wallpapers]

body image · diets · gender policing · health · weight loss

Three Amazing Rants about Food, Nutrition, and Weight Loss

Must be something in the air…

  • Krista Scott Dixon at Stumptuous in Rant 66 December 2012: The First Rule of Fast Club rants about and aims fury and righteous rage in the direction of lots of things including the following: why intermittent fasting may not be the cure all for women’s weight woes, why in general what works for young men won’t work for women, and why women shouldn’t listen to young, thin, male personal trainers.

Most lean young guys giving fitness and nutrition advice are basing that advice — in part — on their own bodily experience. Which won’t match yours. (See above.)

Most lean young guys giving fitness and nutrition advice have not seen a sufficiently diverse client base. Hey, that’s what happens when you’re young. It’s not bad. It’s just the math of reality. In a few decades, then they’ll be Dave Draper and have some awesome yarns to spin. And then maybe I’ll take their advice.

Food Villain Mythology is usually supported by a handful of (cherry picked) scientific studies and an elaborate and sophisticated web of logical fallacy. The resultant construct usually holds that the Food Villain in question is the root cause of either modern society’s obesity and diabetes epidemic, or the root cause of an individual’s obesity and illness. There is usually some kernel of truth in the claim. Take wheat for instance: it is true that wheat can be problematic for some individuals who have an allergy or intolerance, and for anyone who consumes it in excess or to the exclusion of other foods that would provide a more well rounded nutritional foundation. There are other issues with wheat too, involving its cultivation, processing, ubiquitousness and nutrient profile. But Food Villain Mythology has taken those issues and created what amounts to mass hysteria in some circles, with an entire mythology centering on wheat’s Magical Ability to single-handedly drive obesity and disease. Scary stuff.

Points, at first, were a fun game to follow, and they did make me more aware of the amount of vegetables and healthy foods I was consuming. Just like in my middle-school WW years, I carefully controlled my caloric intake, I joined Jazzercise (which, to this day, I love — fit is it!), and I ate Weight Watchers-sanctioned aspartame gummies (1 point, entire package, ingredients unpronounceable) nearly constantly. Fuck an apple, those fools were two points, and points were valuable, like precious gold. Or something even better because you can’t eat gold.

I’m working on my own Weight Watchers rant and will post it here in the near future. Til then, enjoy these.