When Bad Food Goes
by Mad Dog
It turns out that drinks containing ethanol — the alcohol
found in rum, vodka, tequila and other liquors — boost the antioxidant
nutrients in strawberries and blackberries. There hasn’t been news
this good since the producers of Manimal refused to let the show be
released on DVD.
||It’s not easy being good
these days, especially when it comes to food. One day the staffs of life
— coffee, chocolate, and wine — are evil, the next day they’re
health foods. Packages proclaim their contents “heart healthy”,
“trans fat-free”, and “Lowers cholesterol when used in conjunction
with an exercise program, a diet of no fats, and Lipitor,” all the
words after cholesterol being in tiny print, of course. Heck, even
ketchup bottles brag that the stuff is full of lycopene. Whatever that
is. I guess it means you can eat all the french fries you want without
feeling guilty. Well, as long as you use plenty of ketchup. And
calcium-enriched decaf fair trade shade-grown salt.
Now comes the really good news —
pina coladas, daiquiris, mai tais and other fruity drinks are good for
you, and not just because the little umbrellas they stick in them keep
the sun off your nose if you hold them at the right angle and aren’t
concerned about why all those people are laughing at you. Don’t worry,
you won’t be the one looking like a prune when you’re 60. No, it
turns out that drinks containing ethanol — the alcohol found in rum,
vodka, tequila and other liquors — boost the antioxidant nutrients in
strawberries and blackberries. There hasn’t been news this good since
the producers of Manimal refused to let the show be released on
According to a report in the Journal
of the Science of Food and Agriculture (motto: “Trying to keep the
two things marginally related.”) scientists at Kasetsart University in
Thailand and the U.S. Department of Agriculture accidentally discovered
this while experimenting at Tony’s Tiki Lounge and Tchotchke Barn.
Just kidding. Actually the Tchotchke Barn was bought by Google a few
weeks ago. The truth is they were looking for ways to help keep
strawberries fresh during storage and found that treating them with
alcohol — the berries, not the scientists — increased the
antioxidant capacity and free radical activity. And you thought they
just tasted good.
This discovery is great news, ranking right alongside the
revelation that Cheetos are dairy, potato chips count as a vegetable,
CornNuts can be considered both a vegetable and a nut, and there’s
still no reason anyone would want to voluntarily eat soy crisps or rice
cakes, which is why the USDA classifies them as useless.
Antioxidants, for those who think it has something to do with the
cleaning power of new Tide, are molecules that slow or prevent the
oxidation of other chemicals, in particular free radicals. Free
radicals, meanwhile, aren’t uncaptured members of al-Qaeda, but rather
chemicals that attack molecules by capturing electrons and damaging
cells, much like a game of molecular tag only instead of it being your
self-esteem that’s destroyed when you lose it’s your life that can
This discovery is great news, ranking
right alongside the revelation that Cheetos are dairy, potato chips
count as a vegetable, CornNuts can be considered both a vegetable and a
nut, and there’s still no reason anyone would want to voluntarily eat
soy crisps or rice cakes, which is why the USDA classifies them as
useless. This will all probably be documented in Food Pyramid 2.0, the
upgrade that should be coming soon. You see, the USDA likes to mess with
the Food Pyramid from time to time. The last change was in 2005 when,
after four years and $2.4 million, they managed to convert a confusing
food pyramid into a useless and incomprehensible one. To put this into
perspective, they spent $600,000 per year, $400,000 per food group, or
enough money to buy 892,193 containers of soy milk and still have plenty
left over to convince the public that it’s both a vegetable and a
The food pyramid, for those who have
been too busy sucking the cream out of your Twinkies to pay attention,
is just the good old four food groups on steroids. Before there were
four groups there were seven. Prior to that there were twelve. In 1916
there were five, and a long, long time ago there was just one — pond
scum. Luckily we’ve progressed in our eating habits since then. Well,
except for vegans.
frog juice doesn’t appear anywhere in the food pyramid. This may
account for why the food pyramid isn’t very popular in the Andes of
Peru while frog juice is.
The current food groups are grains, vegetables, fruits, milk,
oils, and meat and beans. The problem is you’d never know it from
looking at the new pyramid. That’s because it’s made up of a pyramid
split into six vertical rainbow-colored bands with a stylized image of a
person climbing a staircase. No words, no cute icons for the food
groups, and no mention of the fact that it appears to be sending the
message that if you want to be healthy you should be gay and use a
Interestingly, frog juice doesn’t
appear anywhere in the food pyramid. This may account for why the food
pyramid isn’t very popular in the Andes of Peru while frog juice is.
This delicious beverage is made by killing the frog, peeling the skin
off, then throwing it in a blender along with white bean broth, honey,
raw aloe vera plant, and some maca, a local root. They say it cures
asthma, bronchitis, low energy, and a lagging sex drive. It’s probably
also a great diet aid since just thinking about it has killed my
appetite. For the next week.
The answer to our healthy eating
dilemma is moderation — eat and drink anything you want but be
moderate in reading news articles that include the words food, healthy,
free radicals, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, or President Bush. The
last is important to remember because, face it, part of a healthy
lifestyle is keeping your blood pressure down. And if all else fails, go
for a few strawberry daiquiris. After all, they’re a health food now.
©2007 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them while while climbing the food pyramid.