Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"Health Food" Blogging

I went to one of the local health food stores here to pick up dinner and remembered why I rarely shop for organic or "health" food. It costs a fortune! And it's fattening. In my basket was some vitamin water, two apples (I am allergic but nonetheless bought some), a half pound of grapes, some organic chicken salad, potato soup, and one tiny box of sushi--the bill? $45.23 Doesn't that seem like a lot? I pretty much gave up on health food stores after moving from New York to Knoxville years ago. I used to go all the time in graduate school, thinking it was healthy but I was twenty pounds heavier and finally figured out that Tofutti was not low calorie and it has more fat than ice cream. I think tomorrow night, it's back to shopping at the regular grocery store where at least one doesn't have to have a trust fund in order to shop there.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

About once a year I go into a health food store. There are a lot of interesting things I'd like to try, but it all costs too much for me to make it my regular diet. And if I'm not going to do it regularly, then why bother.

6:41 PM, March 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahaha! *points up*

Duuuude, you totally asked for that. I mean, it ain't like "Damn! Health Food Stores are expensive!" is a newsflash.

7:07 PM, March 13, 2007  
Blogger Sirena said...

yep and i was chubbier and anemic when i was a vegetarian for two years in my early 20s

7:19 PM, March 13, 2007  
Blogger Ill Tempered Cur said...

I used to tell my organic-insistent friends that organic & health food might make you live longer, but why would you want to?

But I've always liked the fresh produce that I get from the local farmer's market much better than the normal supermarket fare. Tastier, and usually more interesting to look at (they don't weed out the asymmetrical apples, for example). The only down side is in having to brave the dreadlocks, filthy sweat-stained hemp shirts and patchouli-stench of the other customers...

7:35 PM, March 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Boston a few years ago there was an organic elitist grocery chain called "Bread and Circus". The non elite locals had a nick name for the uber expensive store. We called it "Spread and J*rk Us".

9:09 PM, March 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vitamin water. That stuff will go through you like a dose of salts. Put some Maker's Mark in your water if you need a little vita-meta-vegamen in your diet. But don't add ice; that makes the mix too harsh and ruins the 'nose'.

Count me among the enlightened and elite for I, too, am a 'veeguun'. Well, except for beef. And those yummy little pork ribs. And chicken, but that's kind of a vegatable--it's raised on farms, isn't it? I was a chicken farmer once, but I went broke. I don't know if I was planting them too deep or using too much water...

Eat what you want and quit worrying so much. Take care of yourself and keep up the nice writing.

Dan Patterson
Arrogant Infidel

9:39 PM, March 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan Patterson,
Did you raise boneless chickens, or the regular bone-in kind? I hear the boneless ones require more care. That would probably influence the economics.

9:54 PM, March 13, 2007  
Blogger Kathy said...

I have to watch my salt intake, and most of the processed organic food (like canned veggies) available here, anyway, is not available in "no salt added" varieties. The canned fruit doesn't come in a "no sugar added" form either. I know: it's heresy to buy canned fruits and vegetables anyway, but I can't afford fresh organic fruits and vegetables and they're not sold anywhere convenient around here, and for some purposes I need canned. There's only even a farmers' market for three months in the summer.

I'd rather have the non-organic stuff and skip the extra salt and/or sugar. I find it hard to get too excited about the idea that pesticides and fertilizer are going to kill me.

10:32 PM, March 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last year we signed on for a Community Sponsored Agriculture ride, and we sure enjoyed it. Every week we would pick up a bushel of fresh, organic produce. It was all about the fresh for me!

We learned 10 ways to cook kale, enjoyed so many fresh Tennessee strawberries we turned pink (hue only,) had the best okra ever and some tomatoes almost as good as I grew when we had time. It was killer and so good for us too.

Check out the options in your area, it was reasonably priced and fresh as it gets.


11:30 PM, March 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've often wondered how anyone could possibly, with a straight face, call some of that stuff "health food." I would weigh a lot more and my arteries would harden faster, if I ate their offerings.

12:16 AM, March 14, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

Organic food 'can add to allergies'
By Stephanie Condron
Last Updated: 1:57am GMT 08/03/2007

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=H5QXS3NINHQD1QFIQMFCFF4AVCBQYIV0?xml=/news/2007/03/08/norganic0 8.xml

Parental trust in organic food could be a reason more children are suffering from allergies, an academic has suggested.

Jonathan O'B Hourihane, a professor of paediatrics, told peers yesterday that nearly half the population is now prone to allergies. But while many follow the accepted advice to eat a varied and fresh diet, it is the sheer variety of fresh foods now available that may be to blame for the prevalence of allergies.

"The impression that organic or exotic fresh food is better for children may by linked to the appearance of allergies to foods that would have appeared bizarre to previous generations," Prof O'B Hourihane said.

**** argh argh argh, all food is organic, it created from growing plants, you cant have inorganic food can you (that(s) rocks)

and the term health food, check the article above, its not necessarily healthier either.

4:18 AM, March 14, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

We go to the farmer's market here in the summer and also grow our own tomatoes and squash. Cheap and good.
When my son goes fishing, we have crappie and bluegill too. Delicious!

8:29 AM, March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that $45 gets me three bags of groceries at(mostly non-organic and not necessarily healthy) Trader Joe's and $100 gets me one bag of goods at Whole Foods.

The problem is I don't buy much food at health food stores. Instead I wind up buying a fragrant candle, some divinely scented beauty products and a wedge of organic artisan cheese -- so I wind up at Trader Joe's for something to eat anyway.

9:09 AM, March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Health food.

Healthy food.



Low calorie.

Low fat.

Low carbohydrate.

Low sugar.

Reduced calorie.

Reduced fat.

Reduced carbohydrate.

Reduced sugar.

No/Non calorie.

No/Non fat.

No/Non carbohydrate.

No/Non sugar.

People are looking for a magic pill that will make and keep them slim and trim, muscular, good looking, keep their heart rate low, blood pressure low, cholesterol low, hdl/ldl ratio high, and make them happy. No magic pill and no magic food will make these dreams come true. It doesn't and won't come NATURALLY. You have to work at it. Everyday day.

What you put into your body is infinitesimally less important to your health than what you do with your body. Heathly and unhealthy foods do not exist. Healthy and unhealthy lifestyles do.

Why have all the tried and true rules changed? My age is fifty. When I went to the doctor for my annual checkups as a little boy, he always told me to eat from the four main food groups, get lots of sleep, listen to my parents, and MOST of all, get lots of exercise. Today, people have ignorantly and conveniently bought off (hook, line, and sinker) on the United States Department Of Agriculture's flawed and unfounded food pyramid. People think that the four main food groups are cheeseburgers, pizza, chips, and coke. Their exercise regimen consists of working out with the remote control or the video game controllers. People's thumbs are stronger today than in any previous generation. Kids today don't even own a bicycle and have never been on one. They sleep twelve to fourteen hours a day on non-school days. Parents condone their children's unhealthy lifestyles and then complain about health issues and obesity.

My health, my vitals, my weight, my strength, and my stamina are all significantly superior to that of my teenage employees. By all current conventional wisdom, my diet consists of many wrong foods. A year ago my doctor marveled that my blood pressure was so low for both my age and my high stress profession. You have to work at it. Nothing is free.

9:15 AM, March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, so much ignorance about "organic" foods. The reason I choose to eat as much organic foods as I can? I do NOT want to eat foods laden with artificial colors like FD&C Yellow 5, Red 40, etc. I don't want to eat MSG, aspartame. I don't need to eat "preservatives" like sodium benzoate, I don't need sodium nitrate in my lunchmeat. I also don't need growth hormones in my milk, not to mention that the "conventional" methods of raising livestock these days use way too many antibiotics, such that the bugs (that also affect humans) are now largely immune to those antibiotics.

I have yet to see ANY organic product that has as much sodium (salt) in it as what's in an average can of Campbell's soup that you'd buy at a "regular" grocery store.

I also don't want to buy and eat foods that were bathed in pesticides when they were being grown. And no, you can't wash the pesticides off--they're inside the cells of the veggies. Here's an experiment to perform: get a stalk of celery, place it in a glass of water so that several inches of the celery is above the water. Then add some food color to the water, and watch how the color spreads througout the entire plant. Now take the celery out of the water and rinse it off under the faucet in the kitchen sink. Guess what? The celery is still colored from the food coloring.

I firmly believe that the reason the rates of folks getting cancer has gone upward in the last 50 years is because of the chemical farming practices. Not to mention that there are now mysterious food allergies caused by things in GMO ("Frankenfoods") that never used to exist.

Seriously, before bashing organic foods, really do some reading and check it out. Organic is the way food was produced for 10s of thousands of years, up until the 20th century. The modern chemical farming has really only got started in the middle of the 20th century, and it's mainly done for convenience of the farmers who don't need to hire as many laborers to pull weeds. (Do you *really* want to eat "Roundup Ready" soybeans that have been saturated in pesticides? Yuck!)

And lastly, I don't find that I spend that much more on organic foods than you would spend on "conventional" foods. And PS, even if you don't buy "organic" foods, you can still read the labels on the foods and avoid foods with bad ingredients.

--Garry K

10:55 AM, March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Helen, what made you go to a health food store yesterday? Did you read an article or watch a program that made you want to change your ways? That's usually what happens with me but I have to agree with you, the prices of health foods are nuts.

11:49 AM, March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please provide a technical definition of "organic" within a food context.

Your emotional argument does not withstand logical scrutiny. I will cite a couple of examples.

You state that you don't want to eat MSG. Why is this? Approximately ten years ago the USDA completed a decade long $110 million study that concluded that when used properly, MSG posed no health risk to humans. Furthermore, MSG could be used to displace salt such that the net result was a reduction of sodium intake. Yet, the emotionally based myths that surround MSG persist to this day. By the way, MSG is not formulated in a laboratory. MSG is derived from foods that naturally occur in nature.

You have linked cancer to the use of 'chemical farming practices' and 'GMSs'. Please provide your empirical scientific data to support your 'belief'. 'Frankenfoods'? Are you referring to pink grapefruit which mother nature did not invent?

You are correct about organic foods being used for thousands of years. My four grandparents were born and raised to early teens in the old country where all food was organic. They came here while their siblings stayed there. Each of my four grandparents outlived their siblings who remained in the old country eating organic foods by twenty to thirty years. My parents and their siblings have outlived their cousins who remained in the old country by at least twenty years. My grandparents grew taller, lived longer, and had a superior quality of live than their siblings. The same applies to my parents (and their siblings) compared to their cousins. Correlation or causation?

1:22 PM, March 14, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...


I hate to admit it, but I rarely grocery shop, my husband does it. He was out of town yesterday and I went to the health food store because I figured that I could find food there that was healthy and already cooked.

2:16 PM, March 14, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

did you know brocolli didnt even exist 100 years ago, its "genetically Modified" its actually a cross between cabbage and pea, so even natural foods have been created, what about wheat, it little relation to the wheat we used to have in the middle ages, cows, sheep, pigs, wheat, rye, everything has been modified by humans, there is only one genetic banana, everything else is a cutting, coffee, theres only a small gene pool of coffee beans, apple trees, usually have a quince as a root, as the modified apple trees cant cope.

cancer has gone up in the last 50 years, because there is an aging population, more people are living longer, and so they are suffering, in the past if they lived to 40 they wouldnt get dementia, or the diseases that show in the elderly today.

but preservatives make the food last longer, so you wont waste any of it by them going moldy.

but have you noticed the age of people has gone up, theres less starvation in the west, because of this modern farming techniques. without this you wouldnt be as well nourished as you are now. this is all in the 20th century, look at the lifespan of 10,000 years ago, it was 30 if that, now due to advances its over 75, all due to the better food production, in victorian era, it was rare for someone to live beyond 50..

or are you a luddite, want to destroy anything new, oh frankenfoods, we have genetically modifed dogs, cats, by careful breeding, so we take the guess work out of it. is that a bad thing. should we leave plants to die from diseases because we cant use pesticides, and thereby making less food.

4:18 PM, March 14, 2007  
Blogger Kathy said...

Organic costs at least twice as much as non-organic here. I can buy "no-salt added" non-organics but not organics, and I try not to eat canned soup anyway. I already avoid MSG and other "artificial" ingredients just because I choose to, not because I'm afraid of them. Sure, I'd like to buy milk without all the hormones, but it's at least twice the price, and we drink a lot of it. I can buy meat without additives (but probably pumped full of antibiotics while the animal is alive, I'm sure) for a reasonable price from my regular grocery, so I do. But it's not clear to me that buying "organic" is worth the significant expense and inconvenience (I'd have to take 3, soon to be 4, kids to at least two different stores weekly if I wanted to really go organic). But then, I also vaccinate my kids, so they're already ruined!

4:25 PM, March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love going grocery shopping. In college I couldn't afford to eat every day and I would spend hours and hours just wandering around. Oddly enough now that I can afford to go I still enjoy just walking around and looking rather than buying.

4:26 PM, March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You. Are. So. Incoherent.

6:30 PM, March 14, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

for the benefit of anon 6.30

the fear over genetically modified foods and genetically modified things, is blown out of proportion, when everything in this modern world, has been modified BY us. animals, cows, pigs, sheep, dogs and cats, have all been modified due to inbreeding and cross breeding, plants as well, they have all been modified by humans, wheat of today has more grain than wheat of 100 years ago. brocolli didnt exist 100 years ago, and yet people eat it, pink grapefruit too as kurt said.

10,000 years ago the life span of a human was about 30 years, in the victorian age it was about 50, today its about 80, now can no one see the correlation between modern life/farming, and life span.

we are healthier, we live longer, we suffer more old diseases, like dementia which never happened if you only lived to the age of 30.

luddites hate the modern world and wanted us to revert back to the primitive life, but by doing so you would create more deaths from starvation.

there is nothing wrong with preservatives, they stop food from going moldy, and you then have to throw it out wasting food and resources and money. The salt debate, everyone needs different salt levels, in a hot climate you need more salt, in a cold you need less. all thise paranoia about additive chemicals, is just that paranioa.

did you know in bread, there is a chemical that causes cancer, yes.. unfortunatly to have the dosage required, you would have to eat 19,000 peices of bread a day..

4:27 AM, March 15, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Much better. Thank you.

8:12 AM, March 15, 2007  
Blogger Bill Dalasio said...

Personally, I think health food stores can make a decent supplement to normal shopping. For insance, my wife can't have any dairy except for yogurt. Now, the best non-dairy cheese is usually at the healthfood store.

8:06 PM, March 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm lucky to work within walking distance of an old-school co-op market: it doesn't have the wide range of luxury "organic" products that Whole Foods has, but the prices are certainly more interesting. In fact, co-op prices are pretty competetive with those of the local supermarkets on a lot of items. I also find that it has a better range of produce ("organic" and conventional) than the yuppie "farmer" markets that have sprouted up all over the place here.

9:50 AM, March 17, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its all about education and how important your health is to you, if you asked someone with a little knowledge they would have told you that tofutti is crap as well as vitamin water, you want the truth ,veggies, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains (except wheat) organic raw and sprouted when possible do these 90% of the time and you can eat whatever you want 10% of the time.

health food store owner

9:52 PM, March 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Health food store owner is right. Only the nutrionally undereducated believe MSG, hormones, antibiotics and pesticides are ok to cosume in our foods. As far as MSG you can find scores of MSG related health problem articles and blogs on google. People have absolutely gotten sick from MSG. Like the college girl who got MSG poisioning while going to the Chinese Buffet to eat everyday while she was in college. http://www.msgmyth.com/discus/messages/2/407.html?1153047640 just an example...

I wont even bother to go into details about things related to the other items (but older woman may want to eliminate horomone laden milk from their diet if they are stil menustrating). Tofutti is high on the glycemic index..

I follow a diet just like the one precribed above. I make "live" food the largest portion of my diet (IE salad, veggies, fresh vegetable juice, sprouted grains (easier digested), raw organic nut butters (love hemp seed butter!)And various free range, clean fed protein. If you only eat when you are truley hungry of before or after physical activity. Why not buy organic produce and the like you will find you your groceey bill is no larger (possibly even smaller) than your previous. The most expensive foods are the processed kind...

1:14 AM, April 04, 2007  

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