Tuesday, March 03, 2009

It's Square Root Day: 3-3-09

But that's not what I want to write about. Although it is amazing that I realized that. I am math compromised.

Corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup are the number one enemies of people who want to be healthy. As the cartoon says, "I'm in everything." Michael Pollan's book "The Omnivores Dilemma" spends a lot of time talking about corn and how many places it shows up in our diet. The growing of corn is highly subsidized by the federal government. When you have a lot of corn you have to do something with it. Pigs can only eat so much; ethanol is not turning out to be the next great fuel. Also, it depletes the nitrogen in the soil faster than just about any other crop. So we get it in all kinds of foods.

The other day I wrote about wanting local fresh corn in the winter; that doesn't mean I want corn syrup. Real sugar is more expensive so companies add this cheap substitute to make stuff taste good. If you can get your hands on a can of Coke that came from Mexico and is made with real cane sugar, you will know the difference immediately. Corn syrup is like white bread, nothing to it and it won't make you feel healthy.

So when Kerry and I began our "locavore" journey the first thing I tried to do was eliminate corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup from our diet. Sometimes they are both in the list of ingredients. Nearly everything you find in the middle aisles of your grocery store has it in it. Want to know why diet salad dressings taste so good...you got it, high fructose corn syrup. Just about anything that comes in a box in the grocery store has it. When I do go to a chain grocery store, which is pretty rare these days, I just stay in the outside aisles: produce, milk, butter, cheese, eggs and meat.

I got really good at reading labels. I'd been doing it for years because I'm allergic to MSG, but now I have a new culprit to locate.

As I've said before, locavorism is something you ease your way into. So start reading labels and find out where the corn is. It's great in the summer with butter and salt. It's not so good in your cereal.
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