We’ve All Seen It…
To anyone who has ever surfed the web, this needs no explanation. We’ve all seen it, the advertisement lingering on the right hand side of your browser, the one with the over ripe helpless little banana illustration that frames the handwritten words “5 Foods You Should Never Eat”.
It’s the same one that shows up on your Facebook newsfeed. That’s the one that really gets me the most because not only do I have to shudder at the sight of it as I scroll past, I also have to see my dear friends who have shown their support by liking the page (or as I see it, fallen victim to a fear-driven advertising ploy).
Why Is This Concept So Wrong?
I often find myself needing to hold back from texting my friend right away, knowing that the first thing they might see in the morning is a cell phone notification from me in all caps yelling “WAIT…THERE’S A BETTER WAY!”
So I figured, rather than continue to get all worked up about it, why not just have some fun with it?
I’ve been thinking…what would the Green Mountain at Fox Run version of 5 Foods You Should Never Eat look like? Of course, we don’t really have a list like this, and we never would! Anyone who’s ever stepped foot in our building knows that a list like this one would defeat our entire mission and values. So again, this one is just for fun.
My hope is both personal and professional, that by writing this post I can let go of the frustration I harbor when I see these ads, and you, the reader, can begin to see the ridiculousness in these advertisements.
GMFR’s 5 Foods You Should Never Eat
1. Never Eat Rotten Food
You should not eat spoiled food. It’s just bad for you! And you don’t need to rely merely on expiration dates as once upon a time we didn’t even have these handy (but hard to find) dates on things. We relied on our senses like sight, for example: “Yup, that bread clearly has another life form emerging so maybe I shouldn’t eat it.”
A very powerful tool, especially when inspecting things in opaque containers like expired milk, is your taste buds.
That was how we did it way back when and that is likely why our taste buds are so advanced today. We would cruise across Mother Earth, stumble upon a food source and taste a teeny tiny bit of it. Our taste buds would then discern risk versus benefit and then a choice would be made to either eat it, or leave it for the vultures (vultures actually have a much more avant-garde gut than us, one that can handle rotten stuff no problem).
- Probiotic-rich foods like kimchi and sauerkraut
- Most delicious artisan cheese
- Yummy aged beef
- Lots of soy products including miso!
2. Never Eat Poisonous Stuff
Definitely do not eat anything poisonous! In fact, it could kill you! Thankfully most household items that contain poisonous substances are marked with an imposing skull and cross bones symbol. But again, that little useful tool, just like the expiration date, is a drop in the bucket as far as evolution goes. Again, thank you, taste buds! Because of those little buggers we are not only surviving, but thriving.
Fugu – If ever given the chance to try Fugu, do it! But it’s not likely you will have the chance because only licensed chefs who are trained in thoroughly removing the poisonous parts are allowed to prepare the dish, and we don’t stumble upon those chefs every day.
3. Never Eat Foods You Hate the Taste Of
If you’ve gotten to the point where the food isn’t expired and it doesn’t contain a poison warning, good. Give it a go. But, if you start eating it and it’s not enjoyable, then stop eating it.
For example, you might go out and get yourself some perfectly good kale and use it in place of your typical go-to romaine lettuce. Maybe you did this because…kale is a “super-food”. But alas, once you try your first bite, you quickly realize that the taste is far from something you find fulfilling and yummy. So don’t eat it. Again, your taste buds are purposeful so don’t work against them.
Make sure you know what you’re doing with the food or at least have the fortitude to admit you don’t know what you’re doing so you can seek advice from someone who does (i.e. Julia Child).
As a Food Adventurer (self-proclaimed title), I like to say “I’ll try anything, three times.”
Which brings me back to the case with kale. The above story is a personal one, the first time I tried it I thought I hated it because I had no idea how to work with it. You don’t just use kale in place of romaine (unless you actually do and you like it). So, try to understand the food you are working with and then prepare it in a way that tastes enjoyable to you. Nowadays I don’t just chop up kale and throw it in a bowl, I massage it first with some olive oil, lemon and sea salt since this makes it delicious.
4. Never Eat Foods You Are Allergic or Intolerant To
I could list off a whole lot of examples here but dairy comes to mind instantly on this one. Not to demonize dairy in any way since it is a perfectly fine food for lots of people, but there are some who just can’t handle it! A dead giveaway is how you feel afterwards.
If you can see a clear connection between consuming a particular food and how it makes you feel afterwards and that feeling is not a good one, this food might not fit for you. Regardless of how good it might work for others, it might not work for you and that’s okay because there isn’t one singular food that contains essential ingredients you can’t find elsewhere.
So, if you’re allergic to seafood, there are other sources of omega 3 fats just like if you are intolerant to dairy, there are other sources of calcium.
The one exception to this rule is when you make an exception to this rule. In other words, you might know full well that you don’t tolerate dairy but you decide to eat it anyway. You did a thorough risk versus benefit analysis (you took a mindful approach) and you chose to eat it. You made the call.
5. Never Eat Food Simply Because You’re Told To
I lead a great class here at Green Mountain called “When is Cake the Best Choice?”
One of the scenarios I use is this – you go out to eat at a restaurant that makes your favorite cheesecake. You had a late lunch so you aren’t very hungry. You really only want the cheesecake but instead you order a healthy entrée first, grilled salmon with a sweet potato and sautéed veggies, and then you order the cheesecake for dessert. You leave the restaurant STUFFED.
Think about it, what did we get stuffed on? We often lump foods into 2 categories, the good ones and the bad ones and as we do this, if we don’t eat enough of the foods on the good list, we aren’t being good.
Don’t re-create someone else’s good food list, make your own. – and on it list the foods that make you feel good. That’s health-supportive eating and that’s what we believe in here.
What Do You Think?
So, comments are welcome! I’d love to hear from you. What reaction did you feel when you saw the title of this blog post? What types of foods did I leave off this list that you would have added? Hopefully from here on out we can all chuckle at these advertisements. I know I will.