December 11, 2013
Vol: 20 No: 50

Dr. Wes

Watch what you eat when life offers so many distractions, pre-cooked and ready for your consumption

by: Dr. Wes Browning

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A headline caught my eye as I gathered ideas for this column: “Will man boobs be the curse of legal marijuana?”

My immediate thought was it won’t do. I sensed that once again, writing this column would require professional assistance.

By professional assistance I mean as always, Cindy, my Muse, whose job is to bail me out when I have no sense of what word goes where between here and the bottom of the page. Cindy, Muse of Few Words, Muse of Other, is currently 5’4” with blue hair on the right, green on the left, and shares my disinterest in man boobs.

As usual we began with pleasantries.

“Hi, what’s up?” I said.

“The sky,” she joked. I hate her jokes. Then she asked how my Thanksgiving had been, and I listed for her all the different kinds of food I ate. There had been yams, salmon, mushroom cream sauce, game hens, stuffing, garlic bread, spinach and bacon salad, and a giant artery-clogging stinky cheese plate with unidentified savory pastries.

There will yet be roast ham, bratwurst, and probably something else with bacon in it or wrapped around it. There will need to be more spinach to make me think that much bacon is acceptable.

She said, “So you’ve put a lot of thought into eating lately.”

I conceded this was true.

“So, why don’t you write about food, then?” she said, to which I replied, “But I haven’t seen any food-related news, and I just described everything I’ve been eating.”

“Did you look for food-related news?”

OK, so I don’t usually pay attention to food in the news. So, I did some checking around, and boy, is this ever a complicated state of affairs. I should probably read about food more often.

The first thing I noticed is that there is a sushi restaurant in Portland serving grasshopper sushi. This is a good idea, because the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, which I never heard of until this subject came up, says if we all ate more of the 2,000 edible insect species which they have identified, that would be something. I read two different reports and I couldn’t exactly figure out what the something would be, but we’d better do it by 2050, or else we’ll all have to become either bankers or vegetarians.

This observation naturally led me to a Harvard study which recently determined, using science, that a healthy diet costs $1.50 more per day than the garbage most of us eat. Now, reading the fine print on the study, I find that they didn’t take into account that I could be eating grasshopper sushi on the cheap, or cooking fritters with cricket flour. But they did take the vegetarian option into consideration.

Now, everybody says that it costs a fortune to raise beef and pork. My beloved bacon is expensive to grow. So how come assorted nuts are $6 per pound in the shell? Why does the amount of spinach that it takes to fill me up as much as a Quarter Pounder with Cheese costs more than $10? There is something wrong with this economy.

This brings me to my favorite subsidy program, the food stamp program, or SNAP. It’s a wonderful idea to me. Just let people buy what food they themselves decide they need, and let that money trickle back to the farmers, who otherwise wouldn’t have consumers to buy the food they grow. Wouldn’t it be great, in light of the Harvard study, if everyone in the country had an extra $1.50 per day to spend on food? Great for our health. Great for our farmers.

But instead, we are taking away as much as that or more from the average person currently on food stamps.

We know that when people have less to spend on food, the food they eat tends to be less healthy. So we can expect to pay the costs in health care down the road.

But let’s not worry about that. Let’s worry about whether pot causes man boobs.

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