Patti (whipartist) wrote,

My personal HFCS challenge

It's been obvious to me for a while that the American diet is totally fucked up. We eat way too much processed food, and too big a chunk of that comes from corn, especially high-fructose corn syrup. Michael Pollan described this very well in his bestseller The Omnivore's Dilemma, but it really shouldn't be news to any of us.

While running errands this afternoon, I heard Pollan promoting his new book, In Defense of Food, and got inspired to try something. I've been thinking about this for a while, but one of my errands for the day was to go to the grocery store, so I thought this would be the day.

A while ago, I contemplated avoiding HFCS for a week. I eat a lot of my meals out, especially at or around the office, so this would be a herculean task-- I would basically have to prepare all of my own food for a week. I wasn't up to that challenge, so I opted for something simpler. My goal would be to consume no HFCS at home for one week. That shouldn't be too hard, right?

I have a love/hate relationship with processed and prepared food. One one hand, I really hate stuff like crappy frozen pizzas, TV dinners, canned crap, and a lot of the stuff that we consume on a daily basis. I don't eat a lot of chips and twinkies and similar junk food, and I rarely drink soda. On the flip side, I like things like breakfast cereal, and I'm a real lazy bum when it comes to cooking dinner-- I've found a few frozen things at 99 Ranch Market that I don't completely despise, and pressing play on the microwave can be about the right amount of effort when I get home from work. My snobbery conflicts with my lazy-bumitude.

Today at the grocery store, I pretty much got all basic ingredients-- salmon fillets, asparagus, potatoes, baby spinach, bread, milk, buttermilk, eggs, bacon, onions, bananas. I see salmon, buttermilk mashed potatoes, asparagus, spinach salad (with homemade hot bacon dressing), grilled cheese sandwiches, and a few other things for dinner. For breakfast I have bananas, eggs, oatmeal, among other things. Those items combined with the things I already have at home should get me through a HFCS-free week. Making my own salad dressing (basically bacon, onions, cider vinegar, a little bit of sugar) will even save me from the bottled crap.

I felt pretty good about what I'd bought, but I'd already fucked up. Do you see where? I bought a loaf of bread, in this case Oroweat Country Buttermilk. Sometime after I got home I smacked myself in the forehead then grabbed the bread and read the label. Sure enough, high-fructose corn syrup was on there, just before buttermilk. Oh well. I'm too lazy to bake my own bread this week, and I already have this loaf, so I'll grant myself one exception.

Tonight's dinner was easy and tasty-- ginger lime salmon fillet, steamed asparagus with balsamic vinegar, buttermilk mashed potatoes. The potatoes required a small amount of actual work, but the salmon and asparagus basically just got tossed into the microwave. Maybe I'm not too lazy to cook after all.

In a week or so I'll report on how well I did.
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