Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blog #40 The Finding Real Food Road Show

I have officially left on the book tour for, “What’s Eating Your Child?” and have already learned a lot of new things about myself. The first shocking revelation is that I like being on TV. The whole TV interview idea had me so shaken that I started wondering if I was developing an anxiety disorder but it turns out there is nothing to worry about. It is just like speaking except with a bigger audience. You can still be an introvert and there are an army of stylists to make your hair look perfect.

What I did not like learning is that I have food snob tendencies. When there is not high quality food around I do not like it one bit and most people in this country have limited access to what I consider decent food. No big news here but one does not appreciate the importance of access to healthy food until it is not easy to get. I am ridiculously lucky that if I am willing to drive up to 25 minutes I have my pick of 6 different places carrying a variety of organic, high quality food. While I usually frequent the place five minutes away, I think nothing about driving 25 minutes to get organic grapes or 15 minutes in the other direction to get the best wild salmon because I can.

Contrast that to the suburb I was stuck in recently when my plane got cancelled. All the hotels close to the airport were already booked, so a $70 cab ride later I alighted in any-town, USA off a busy highway. The hotel offered a continental breakfast consisting of cereal, milk, orange juice and grey bananas. I asked the receptionist if there was any place to get a full breakfast. (I did not want to say, “Is there any place to get real food?” and offend their hospitality.)

The only choice was a diner a mile away. I grabbed a grey banana and started walking. On the way I passed 4 gas stations, a health club, a strip bar, two office buildings, two car repair businesses, and a non-descript strip mall (not related to the strip bar). The food choices were McDonald’s, Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts. Finally, the diner appeared and it was closed.

Now I was starving. There was a BeKind and Odwalla Superfood bar in my suitcase but I had eaten one of each for dinner. Better another bar than McDonald’s I decided and then remembered that Dunkin’ Donuts advertised egg sandwiches. What they actually have is preformed egg patties that they put in a roll just like the other fast food establishments. The place was busy and this is what most people think of as eggs. Not the blue organic ones I eat at home with a chard smoothie chaser.

I could eat the veggie egg white omelet, I thought but then realized that “veggie” was likely a cute euphemism for “vegetable like” as “shake” in fast food lingo really means fake milk-like syrup drink. Next to the menu board was a prominent sign warning consumers to notify the chef if they had a food allergy. Chef was still another euphemism for bored teenager throwing patties (or pucks as my friend Kathy calls them) into a microwave.

Bravely, I placed my order. The girl behind the counter looked at me blankly. “Omelet? What egg white omelet?” After several rounds of negotiation she asked me to just give her a number from the menu. When my number whatever arrived, I scraped off the suspicious cheesy coating, threw away the bread and ate the egg puck with vegetable-like specks. Protein is protein after all.

On the one hand, I could say I am out of touch with most people’s food reality but at the same time, how did most people come to accept this as food? Just last blog I was commenting about the dead feel of the beautiful food at McMillan and Jones but sitting at the Dunkin’ Donuts I would have traded my watch for some of that dead stuff.


  1. You have a great sense of humor. How lucky you are to not have the knowledge about good "real" food and lucky are WE ALL that you are willing to share that info with is so that we all may be powerful in our daily food choices! Here's to hoping you get more "real" food as your book tour continues!

  2. Just finishing up your the Mom of a 6 and 9 year old that have both been diagnosed ADHD and health issues of my own...I had embarked on retooling our diet...we've removed food coloring, I was looking at adding EPA/DHA as well. You have not only helped my confidence in taking the right steps, but I think we're going to take dairy out of the diet to see if that makes an impact as well. Thank you!!!