It all started the other day when I showed a co-worker a photo of a can of beef promoted as sitting in its own juices. I asked if she would consume it. As expected, she recoiled at such a hideous idea.
It was the same a reaction I've gotten for more than eight months since I saw it sitting in a canned food drive. I think the devil created this concoction that had a trillion carbs in it.
My co-worker changed the conversation and diminished her charm when she demurely announced, “I don’t eat processed food.” The tone seemed to suggest that she was saintly and folks like me, who tip the scale somewhere north of overweight, are somehow unclean.
I quickly and truthfully announced that I was on this regimen where I was denying myself high-carb stuff like potatoes, bread, rice, noodles. (I had started my diet five days prior and was miserable.)
She brushed me aside and talked about the beauty of non-processed food. “It makes me feel better,” she said. All I could hear was “Yada, yada, yada.”
But I began to think: What if I went on this no-processed food route? Would it help in my never-ending waistline battle?
The idea did have its merits. She was thin; I am not. But there's an emotional thing I have with boudin and cracklins.
That very evening after work, I drove over to one of those stores that thumps its chest about the healthy choices it has on its shelves and snack venues. It’s one of those places where an ear of corn cost $7 because it was grown in the middle of nowhere, was kissed by Mother Nature, and was driven to the stores in veggie limos.
This is the mecca of unprocessed food. But I don’t go there often because there is this kind of smugness I notice in some of the customers. They have this trance-like stare of satisfaction in their oasis of health. It’s sort of like a Stepford Wives-meet-arugula movie.
Before I could get my unprocessed stuff, I noticed a guy almost swoon when he found a bottle of water that was infused with electrolytes. Please, stop.
I had to refocus. Just then, I was startled by a bottle of bone broth — right there where even little children could reach it. Maybe it was joke, but right there for God and country to see, one of the ingredients was beef bones. My effort toward unprocessed food was heading south.
I went over to the fresh vegetables; that didn’t inspire me, either. I love some things right out of a can.
To be honest, I abandoned the unprocessed goal after passing up some cookies that were screaming my name. But, hey, maybe I could get a healthy cookie and water, with nothing in it but water, and call it a day.
I looked for a white macadamia nut cookie. I came upon a cookie that looked just like what I wanted. But it was actually called "lemon white chocolate macadamia nut cookie," two more ingredients than I wanted.
It didn’t help that standing in the middle of the mess of cookies was a sign that said that the ingredients included eggs that came from cage-free, non-GMO fed hens. Honestly, I have never thought about what hens ate or whether they took evening strolls.
Something else happened that gave me pause. I decided to get another kind of cookie that required me to reach into a glass enclosure. I used a piece of paper to grab the cookie. But just as I was about to get it, I dropped that paper and accidentally touched a second cookie.
Now I had a dilemma. I didn’t want cookie No. 2, but I had touched it. Should I leave it and risk someone getting my germs? Guilt made me take the second cookie, too.
I thanked my co-worker for momentarily inspiring me about the goodness of unprocessed food. Sadly, I find it much easier emotionally to get a non-free-range, non-GMO link of boudin.
Email Edward Pratt, a former newspaperman who writes a weekly column, at email@example.com.