The funny story of an individual’s attempts at healthy eating, and how everyone and everything will try to kill you.
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I know you. We have a lot in common. You have been doing some reading and now you are pretty sure everything in Tesco and your kitchen cupboards is going to kill you.
Before Your Healthy Eating Internet Education:
I eat pretty healthy. Check it out: wholegrain crackers, veggie burgers, prawns, broccoli. I am actually pretty into clean eating.
After Your Healthy Eating Internet Education:
Those crackers – gluten, baby. Gluten is toxic to your intestinal health, I read it online. They should call those crackers Leaky Gut Crisps, that would be more accurate. That veggie burger in the fridge? Genetically modified soy. Basically that’s a science lab burger. Did you know soybean oil is an insecticide? And those prawns are fish farmed in Vietnamese sewage pools. I didn’t know about the sewage fish farming when I bought them, though, really I didn’t!
The broccoli, though..that’s ok. I can eat that. Eating that doesn’t make me a terrible person, unless….oh, shit! That broccoli isn’t organic. That means it’s covered with endocrine disrupting pesticides that will make any future children of mine sprout weird breasts. As if adolescence isn’t awkward enough.
And who pre-cut this broccoli like that? I bet it was some poor foreign person not making a living wage and being treated as a cog in an industrial broccoli cutting warehouse. So I’m basically supporting slavery if I eat this pre-cut broccoli. Oh no, it’s in a plastic bag too. Which means I am personally responsible for the death of countless endangered seabirds right now.
I hate myself.
All you want to do is eat a little healthier. Really. Maybe get some of that Activa probiotic yogurt or something. So you look around and start researching what “healthier” actually means.
That really skinny old scientist guy says anything from an animal will give you cancer. But a super-ripped 60 year old with a best-selling diet book says eat more butter with your crispy T-Bone and you’ll be just fine as long as you stay away from grains. Great abs win over the PhD so you end up joining an online forum where everyone eats green apples and red meat and talks about how functional and amazing Crossfit is.
You learn that basically, if you ignore civilisation, the last 10,000 years of human development has been one big societal and nutritional cock-up and wheat is entirely to blame. What we all need to do is eat like cave-people.
You’re hardcore now, so you go way past way Paleo cave-person and all the way to The Eskimo Diet™.
Some people say it’s a little strange, but you are committed to live a healthy lifestyle. “Okay,” you say, “let’s do this shit,” as you fry your Polar Bear burger and seal liver in rendered whale blubber. You lose some weight which is good, but it costs £267.99 a kilo for frozen Polar Bear meat out of the back of an unmarked van at Leith Docks with the ferry crossings to Iceland.
Even though The Eskimo Diet™ is high in Vitamin D, you learn that every disease anywhere can be traced to a lack of Vitamin D (you read that on a forum too) so you start to supplement 5000 mg a day.
Maxing out your bank cards on seal liver forces you to stay in and continue your internet education in healthy eating. As you read more you begin to understand that grains are fine but before you eat them you must prepare them in the traditional way: by long soaking in the light of a new moon with a mix of mineral water and the strained lacto-fermented tears of a virgin.
You discover that if the men in your family history haven’t been eating a lot of mussels for at least the last four generations, you are pretty much guaranteed regular trips to the dentist for your buck-toothed children. That’s if your hormones are capable of providing the necessary tools at all, which they probably won’t, because you ate margarine at least twice when you were 17.
Healthy eating is getting pretty complicated and conflicted at this point but at least everyone agrees you should eat a lot of raw vegetables.
Soon you learn that even vegetables are trying to kill you. Many are completely out unless they are pre-fermented with live cultures in a specialized £99 imported pickling crock from John Lewis. Nightshades absolutely cause problems. Even fermentation can’t make those demon-foods healthy.
Goodbye, aubergines. Goodbye green beans. Hey, it’s hard but you have to eliminate these toxins and anti-nutrients. You probably have a sensitivity. Actually, you almost positively have a sensitivity. Restaurants and friends who want to grab lunch or dinner with you will just have to deal with it.
The only thing you are sure of is kale, until you learn that even when you buy organic, local kale from the store (organic, local kale is the only food you can eat now) it is probably cross-contaminated. Besides, it usually comes rolled in corn starch and fried to make it crunchier. You do your online research, bingo! People like Waitrose crunchy cornstarch breaded kale crisps more than actual bunny food. You tell everyone how much you honestly love it too.
And by now you’ve learned that the only thing worse than wheat is corn. Everyone can agree on that, too. Corn is making the world fat and the only people who benefit from all those corn subsidies are big evil companies.
Also, people around the world are starving because South America grows too much corn. It doesn’t actually make that much sense when you say it like that, but you read it on a blog. And anyway, everyone does agree that corn is the Devil’s grain. Unless wheat is.
The only thing to do, really, when you think about it, is to grow all your own food. That’s the only way to get kale that isn’t dipped in chemicals. You’ve read a lot and it is obvious that you can’t trust anything, and you can’t trust anyone and everything is going to kill you and the only possible solution is to have complete and total control over your foodchain from seed to sandwich.
Not that you actually eat sandwiches.
You have a little panic attack at the idea of a sandwich on white bread: Genetically Modified wheat, ‘fake sugars’ and chemical additive dough conditioners. Some people see Jesus in their toast but you know the only faces in that mix of frankenfood grains and commercial preservatives are Insulin Sensitivity Man and his sidekick, Hormonal Disruption Boy.
It’s okay, though. You don’t need a Greggs sandwich or a Subway footlong. You have a salad of Russian Kale and Norwegian Kale and Scottish Kale (because you love local foods). It’s delicious. No, really. You cooked the kale in a half-pound of butter that had more raw culture than high tea at The Ritz.
You round out your meal with a little piece of rabbit that you raised up and butchered out in the garden. It’s seasoned with all-natural pink Hawaiian high-mineral sea salt that you cashed-in your holiday savings fund to buy and topped with homemade lacto-fermented herb mayonnaise made with coconut oil and lemons from a tropical produce scheme that helps disadvantaged youths earn money by farming urban fruit. The lemons were a bit over-ripe when they arrived to you, but since they were transported by yacht across the Atlantic in order to keep them carbon neutral you can hardly complain.
The rabbit is ok. Maybe a bit bland. Right now you will eat meat, but only meat that you personally raise because you saw that WWF thing about industrial beef production and you can’t support that. Besides, those cows eat corn. Which is ridiculous because cows are supposed to eat grass. Ironically, everyone knows that a front garden is a complete waste in a city – that’s where urban grazing cows should go. In other words, the only good grass is grass that cows are eating. You wonder if your City council will let you graze a cow in the local park.
In the meantime, you are looking for a farmer who raises beef in a way you can support and you have so far visited 14 farms across the UK. You have burned 476 gallons of petrol driving your 10-mpg Skoda around to interview farmers but, sadly, have yet to find a farm where the cattle feed exclusively on organic homegrown kale.
Until you do, you allow yourself a small piece of rabbit once a month. You need to stretch your supply of ethical meat after that terrible incident with the starving kale-fed mother rabbit who ate all her bunnies. After that, deep down, you aren’t really sure you have the stomach for a lot more back garden meat-rabbit raising.
So you eat a lot of homegrown kale for a while. Your seasoning is mostly self-satisfaction and your drink is mostly fear of all the other food lurking everywhere that is trying to kill you.
Eventually your doctor tells you that the incredible pain you’ve been experiencing is kidney stones caused by the high levels of acid in the kale. You are instructed to cut out all dark leafy greens from your diet, including kale, greens, spinach, and eat a lot of low-fat dairy.
Your doctor recommends that new healthy yogurt with the probiotics. He thinks it’s called Activa.