Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Super Supper?

People who know me well are often inclined to ask my opinion about whether something is "good for me." It's an interesting question. I'm not really qualified as a nutrition scientist, food chemist, doctor, or, you know, any other professional food expert. I am a vegetarian, which has made me more aware of what I eat (and more aware about myths concerning protein, for example) but other than that, and being a voracious reader and an enthusiastic Pollangelical, I'm just an ecology graduate student.

But, usually, I have an answer. It's generally along the lines of, "Well, is it a plant? If it's a plant, eat it. If it's not a plant, just eat a little of it." For more information, I turn to the trusty rules of Pollan: does it have more than five ingredients? (Bad.) Are any of them unfamiliar? (More bad.) Are any of them unpronounceable/indistinguishable from the ingredients in your shampoo? (Very bad!)

Now, though, there are new problems. Foods that used to be totally normal foods have become... something else. Do you like sardines, for example? (Many people don't.) What if you couldn't taste them, and they were in your orange juice this morning? Would you like to have some broccoli, kale and beet salad? (Not too appetizing?) That's OK, you can get all your vegetables in a convenient chocolate bar form!

Weird, right? And yet... and yet. Superfood or Monster from the Deep?

So is that chocolate-broccoli-kale-beet bar good for me?

I hope no one asks me, I'm not really sure what to say. I'm pretty sure the answer is, "Well, it's still a chocolate bar!" but what does that even mean any more? What if it supplies all the daily requirements of certain things? I can tell you that eating a square of chocolate will not fill you up, and you'll still want a normal meal. I can tell you that if the rest of your diet is made of burgers and fries, having some antioxidants in your chocolate is probably not going to help you much.

What about having orange juice with sardines in it? Even assuming a negligible flavor difference, shouldn't orange juice have, you know, just one ingredient?

Thoughts from the gallery? I'm moderately sleep-deprived, so let me know if I lost you somewhere along the way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Who's this Pollen person? Please explain. Anonymous