the Junk Out of Junk Food
by Mad Dog
I think we can safely say its a failure of
our educational system, as is everything that isnt the fault of parents, Sadaam
Hussein, Ken Starr, Hollywood, the gun manufacturers, the phase of the moon, or El Niño.
|| Its not easy eating a healthy diet. We spend our lives on the go, work
long hours, try to cram in a semblance of a social life, and one day wake up to realize
were so busy we have to schedule time to write things in our dayplanner. So when
dinnertime rolls around, is it any wonder we dont have the energy to make sure we
eat properly? Especially after we just spent 45 minutes trying to decide whether to order
in Chinese, pizza, or just reheat that half a burrito we found under the front seat of the
So if we, as role models for
the youth of this countrya thought even scarier than Dan Qualye running for
presidentcant eat well, how can we expect kids to? Thats why it should
come as no shock to hear that teenagers are getting over 30 percent of their vegetable
intake from potato chips and french fries. This bright bit of nutritional information came
to light in a report given at a conference sponsored by the National Institutes of Health,
which is a federally funded group of doctors and researchers who sit around all day
dreaming up ridiculous surveys, hoping one will be good enough to make it on the Fox
networks new show, "Americas Funniest Waste of Money."
So whos to blame for the future of our country thinking
three servings of Pringles and Ore-Ida are a minimum daily requirement? I think we can
safely say its a failure of our educational system, as is everything that isnt
the fault of parents, Sadaam Hussein, Ken Starr, Hollywood, the gun manufacturers, the
phase of the moon, or El Niño. After all, the schools are supposed to be teaching
children about the food pyramid, arent they?
This announcement comes on the heels of a trend to serve healthier school lunches,
something which is sorely needed since even the USDA is at a loss to classifyor even
identify most of the dishes served in school cafeterias.
|| The food pyramid,
for those of you who were too busy sucking the creme out of the middle of your Twinkies to
pay attention in class, is the Four Food Groups of the New Millennium. Someone,
probably the same people who decided it would be a brilliant idea to remake the Avengers,
Leave It To Beaver, and Lost in Space, decided to update the original four food groups and
turn it into a New Age Food Pyramid. Thus, it turns out were now supposed to be
eating daily portions of meat, poultry, and fish; fats and sweets; bread, cereal, and
pasta; milk and cheese; yin and yang; and crystal vibrations (which incidentally is no
relation to the stripper of the same name).
becomes one of definition. Even the USDA, a branch of the federal government, considers
potato chips and french fries to be vegetables, and who are we to argue with the United
States government? Even better, it turns out its legit to count them as parts of two
(count em, 2!) food groups: vegetables and fat. All in all, that sounds like
pretty efficient eating to me, especially in the case of the fries because, if youre
like me (and god help you if you are), you dump a half bottle of ketchup on them,
meaninghold onto your spuds, Mableyouve just added a serving of the
fruit and vegetable food group too!
This announcement comes on the heels of a trend to serve
healthier school lunches, something which is sorely needed since even the USDA is at a
loss to classifyor even identifymost of the dishes served in school
cafeterias. In Berkeley, California theyre taking this to the extreme, which
isnt surprising for a city which a couple of years ago had a temporary crisis
because so many vendors were barred from selling to the city due to having dealings with
countries on Berkeleys no-no list that it looked like the city would be unable to
buy gas for the police cars.
If food was supposed to be good for us Frito-Lay would be selling bags of broccoli chips
and McDonalds would be super-sizing orders of turnip fries.
|| What theyve
done is to offer organic vegetarian lunches. This is a good thing, because apparently
there are a lot of students in Berkeley whose nutritional beliefs and convictions are
strongstrong enough to withstand being taunted, ridiculed, and beat up daily in the
cafeteria. And thats just by the young girls. Wait until the upperclass boys get a
hold of them.
Im not real convinced this trend will
spread far. Remember a few years ago when sports stadiums started selling tofu dogs and
sushi along with the hot dogs and Cracker Jacks? That healthy food kick didnt last
long. Theres something about finding prizes in the middle of a California roll
thats just a little too disconcerting.
Obviously we like our food unhealthy. And why shouldnt
we? It tastes better, it makes us feel good, and face it, its easier. If food was
supposed to be good for us Frito-Lay would be selling bags of broccoli chips and
McDonalds would be super-sizing orders of turnip fries.
I think its high time junk food got the legitimacy it
deserves. Thats why Im starting a campaign to get the USDA to recognize that
Cheet-os are cheese, corn chips are a vegetable, and Slim Jims are meat. Think of how much
easier it would be to eat a well balanced diet! But dont worry, even I wouldnt
consider petitioning them to declare Wonder Bread as bread. I know my limits.
©1999 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Try
not to get french fry grease all over them.