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Sugar House Journal

Chew on This

Jan 26, 2016 09h28 ● By Bryan Scott

By Peri Kinder

There’s a divide in our country, and it’s not about whether the Founding Fathers believed every citizen should own an AK-47. It’s between people who eat only organic foods and people who treat their meals as a death-defying extreme sport.

Let’s address these two groups in a completely stereotypical manner. 

First, the Organictonians never let processed foods pass their lips. Refined sugar is the equivalent of sprinkling arsenic in their coffee. A meal usually consists of a piece of kale with three garbanzo beans and a forkful of sustainable tuna. They obnoxiously tell you the backstory of every snack they put in their bodies. 

Example: “The leaves in this green tea are only found in the Himalayas and are naturally crushed under the hoofs of grass-fed mountain goats.” Shut up, already.

You can often find these Whole Foods free-range aficionados grazing through the aisles in their yoga clothes, purchasing wheatgrass smoothies, kohlrabi burgers and amaranth water, and not-so-silently judging the person slurping a Coca-Cola in the check-out line. (It was my first Coke for January! Stop sneering at me!)

These people have eliminated greasy grease, sugary sugar and fatty fats from their diets. They are usually praying mantis-thin with a penchant for anger because they’re pretty hungry. (Oreos are stealthily stashed under couch cushions for late-night sugar binges.)

On the opposite (and larger) end of the spectrum, we have the Couldn’t-Care-Less connoisseur who consumes 3/$1 hot dogs from the corner gas station, drinks bacon-flavored Mountain Dew and gorges on deep-fried, chocolate-covered butter cubes.

Throwing grease on the fire are restaurants that carbo-load their menus with foods that would make a pig nauseous. Take a look at these (real) menu items. 

The Thickburger is a cheeseburger topped with a hot dog and potato chips. Then there’s the Hot Dog pizza that has 28 hot dog pieces baked into the crust. It’s served with mustard and a bottle of ipecac.

Better yet, Baconator French fries are drenched in cheese sauce and smoked bacon, and heaped with grated cheddar. The fries come with a vial of epinephrine to restart your heart. Doctors recommend you never order these fries unless it’s your last meal on death row. 

Even “healthy” burgers are out of control. How ‘bout an organic beef patty topped with onion marmalade (ew!), green apple slices, pureed chicken livers (double ew!) Swiss cheese and arugula. Well, if there’s arugula on it, we’re good. 

The phenomenon that makes our bodies puff up like a marshmallow in the microwave is referred to by nutritional scholars as “lard-butt syndrome,” caused by eating thousands of calories per day. 

There has to be some middle ground between snacking on three crunchy wasabi peas and downing a hot fudge baklava shake. Isn’t it time we stopped the food shaming and made some reasonable choices?

Let’s agree to meet somewhere in the middle where we eat more fruits and vegetables (but not eggplant), cut back on sugary snacks (except Butterfinger bars), make meat a side dish (no more 16-ounce prime rib dinners) and enjoy an occasional splurge (movie theater popcorn!) to keep us pleasant and easier to live with—on both sides. 

And those Founding Fathers can go back to worrying about whether we can eat buffalo chicken wings while carrying a firearm.