Tag Archives: Michael Pollan

Processed Foods Revealed for what they really are – by the Food Industry itself

Originally published May 31, 2010.  Not much has changed–processed food is still horrible!

Cheez-its that taste medicinal. Metallic cornflakes. Eggo waffles that remind you of “stale straw”.  Meat that calls to mind cardboard or damp dog hair.

If the recent government effort to reduce salt in processed foods is successful, this is what we will have to eat.  Or so says the food industry according to an astonishing front page article in yesterday’s New York Times (free subscr reqd).

Compared to reducing fat and sugar, for which substitute ingredients have been found, eliminating salt and sodium is turning out to be a major challenge for these companies.  Why is that?  It turns out that without salt – lots and lots of salt – we eaters might discover that the stuff that is being sold to us as delicious, tantalizing and even healthy “food” is really nothing of the sort.

It’s a marketing problem.  Without salt to hide the true nature of these products, we might not buy them.   Why not?  It turns out they don’t taste very good: Continue reading

I’m trying to put you out of business

Farmers market vegetablesMaybe not the best way to start off a conversation with your seat partner on a plane.  But I could hardly help myself.  (If you have been following my musings for a while you will know that I tend to get into some interesting conversational situations on planes!)

I was on my way back from a week of meetings in Plainview, Texas.  Now, I realize that bringing an environmental seminar to the high plains of east Texas is not the normal thing to do.  People there are warm, friendly – but pretty convinced that “environment” means “liberal” and “government” and that sort of thing, and they’re not interested.  But things are changing.  For one thing, these folks are running out of water, and they know it.  Continue reading

Neem Hakeem: Headphones and Twinkies are hazardous to your Health?

[Almost anyone who has spent time in Pakistan or parts of India recognizes the term ‘neem hakeem’ – means a doctor who isn’t quite up to par.  Thus one of the most popular folk proverbs in the area:  A ‘neem hakeem’ is a danger to your life…]

Today’s ‘Neem Hakeem’ lesson is via a story on NPR over the weekend.  People are dying – literally – because of their headphones.

Strangled by the cords as they doze in class, maybe?  Victims of brain cancer because of electromagnetic radiation?  No – run over by buses, trains and other large and noisy vehicles:

Lisa Carolyn Moran, 20, a University of North Carolina exchange student from Scotland, was listening to an iPod while jogging when she stepped into the path of a bus in Chapel Hill last May. Joshua Phillips White, 16, was wearing earphones and walking on a train track in Cramerton, N.C., last November when a freight train hit him from behind, killing him; police said he apparently didn’t hear the locomotive approaching. Alan Eaton-Chandler, 17, was killed under the same circumstances just last Tuesday when he was hit by an Amtrak train in Comstock Township, Mich. And Vicky Baker, 39, was talking on her cell phone when she was struck and killed by a train in Albertville, Ala., in December.

There’s more than one lesson here:

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