Ever since I committed myself to becoming a professional body builder, I have been paying a lot closer attention to the food I eat. I don’t just mean I stare at it really hard. I mean I have been reading the labels, looking at the ingredients, and trying to understand exactly what it is I am consuming.
And it’s terrifying. The ingredient list in most of the food we eat is damn near impossible to comprehend. But if you read enough labels, not only do you get really paranoid, you will probably will start noticing some buzz words.
For a moment lets ignore the ingredients we can’t pronounce, because I don’t know what the hell they are. They might be putting nuclear waste in my granola bar, but as long as it disguised as a word with 5 syllables I’ll never know.
But the first buzz word that is flying all around is “Organic.” I am a fan of organic; I want all of my things to be organic.
If I had my druthers, I would sleep in bamboo sheets sustainably harvested from a combine in Vietnam and wear clothes made of hemp that were woven by a bunch of tree hugging hippies living in the San Fernando valley, all the while eating eggs laid by cage free chickens that spend their days lightly jogging around the 500 square miles of roaming meadows deep in the Canadian countryside.
But the organic craze has gone too far. I recently went to an art show where the free promotional beverage being served was “Organic Water.”
Now I know that I got like... a C- in chemistry, but I am pretty sure that all water is organic. I don’t recall anybody inventing water. The cave men weren’t drinking from flowing rivers of Sunny Delight.
The funny thing about this organic water was the fact that it had 16 GRAMS OF SUGAR!
Are you kidding me? That’s not water, that’s what you add to rum to make a mojito!
I was having a major thirst not too long ago so I ran into a supermarket to grab an impulse beverage from near the cash register. I picked one that looked like one of those flavored water types. It was orange, and that is my favorite color so I thought good things.
I took a swig and BLEAH. It tasted like… well I didn’t really know. So I took a look at the ingredients to see.
Organic extracts of orange peels and flowers.
Ok, not really my first choice for a beverage. I have never said in times of thirst, “Somebody bring me a frosty beverage that tastes of fruit rinds and plants.” But I let it be; I moved on to the next ingredient and found the culprit.
Organic Extracts of cinnamon bark.
Mmmm bark. Just like mom used to make.
Cinnamon bark? Are you kidding me? BARK?! What brain genius came up with the idea to make a drink out of the piece of the fruit we don’t eat, flowers which nobody eats, and bark? Bring him to me so I can force feed him his own putrid devil nectar
I recently watched a non-vegan friend of mine take one bite of a vegan brownie. One. She did not take another bite because she could not bring herself to punish herself like that.
Now according to the dictionary vegan is defined as a strict vegetarian; someone who eats no animal or dairy products at all. And if that’s you, bless you my child. Good for you. I am not opposed to that lifestyle by any means.
However the vegans who made this brownie cheated. I wondered what would make my friend retch in such a way after eating one bite of the brownie. Looking at the ingredients I realized why. One of them was;
Vegan Chocolate Chips
Chocolate, as I understand it, is cocoa powder, sugar and MILK. So if there is no MILK, then something has been substituted. But the marketing department for this brownie probably had a conversation like this,
Gary: Oh crap I don’t know what’s in these chocolate chips
Louis: Well then we can’t write anything on the ingredient list
Gary: No we will just call them… umm.. Vegan Chocolate Chips.
Louis: Good idea because by the time they realize it will be too late.
Gary: Muahahaha we are so evil and smart.
Louis: Let’s go kick a puppy.
So wizards Gary and Louis have essentially created a product and informed us of it by explaining what is NOT in it. These chocolate chips have no milk.
Ok great, so what the hell is in them? By their rationale I could create a candy bar with an ingredient list that looks like this.
Does not include, uranium, zebras, or pieces of Mike Tyson’s face.
But I realized it’s all marketing. It doesn’t have anything to do with the actual product any more. It is only about what you think the product is. Nothing is not twisted.
Like the package of Moth Balls I recently saw. The front of it said:
Old Fashioned moth balls.
Forgive my ignorance, but have there been any major developments in moth balls since... ever? Did I miss the advent of the moth ball that came with cable television and an automatic transmission?
Is the word old fashioned really necessary? Or is this company just trying to appeal to the customer who seeks the kind of reminiscence that brings back fond memories of a plastic covered couch and Brylcream.
These words, Vegan, Organic, Old Fashioned, these are all words meant to make us feel something about a product regardless of what it actually is. But if you think about how you feel while you real those words, you'll lose your damn mind.
And that is why I refuse to read any more labels. I will go back to my life of ignorance. and continue eating nuclear waste granola bars. In fact, if you need me, I’ll be over here eating a Mike Tyson free brownie.