We all want our families to be healthy, and we all know that diet is a big part of that. What everyone doesn’t know is how large a black hole the topic of “health food research” truly is. It sucks you in, you get completely lost, and nothing short of a high colonic can propel you back to the land of sanity.
It starts innocently enough. You’re looking for healthy food for kids and, of course, yourself. You read that pesticides are particularly harmful for babies in utero, so you start eating as much organic as you can. Some of the prices aren’t as bad as you thought they’d be, but you soon realize you’re going to have to take out a second mortgage to pay for organic cheese.
Don’t worry about that, though, because in your research you’ll soon learn that cheese is the mucus-producing feces of Satan, and mucus is a sign that your body needs to be exorcized (aka detoxed). No more dairy!
So you look for other good protein sources, like beef—organic, of course. But not just organic, because organic cows can still be fed all sorts of grains that are not part of a cow’s natural diet. They’ve got to be grass-fed. But not just grass-fed, because meat can still be labeled “grass-fed” if they finish it off with corn, and they should be oxymoronically slaughtered humanely; otherwise, you’re consuming their angry hormones.
So you spend a weekend driving out to local farms to make sure that the cows you’re considering eating are roaming happily in organic clover fields, given daily stress-relieving massages, and sung to sleep with sweet, cow-baby lullabies before butchering. You finally find a rancher who treats his cows better than his children, and then a study comes out that definitively says red meat consumption is linked to cancer. No more beef!
Poultry it is. But not just any poultry. Only organic, free-range chickens and turkeys that have never been exposed to hormones, antibiotics or sadness will do. Oh, and eggs from those same happy chickens. That’s all you’re buying now.
Oh wait—the second mortgage got denied. A plant-based diet it is!
Quinoa is where it’s at, man. It’s the perfect food—whole grain, high in protein, gluten-free. Who cares if the kids think it looks like tiny round worms, especially when you try to “hide” it in soup. It’s healthy, dammit! But then you read an article about how the quinoa industry is destroying small farmers in Bolivia. You decide that despite its health benefits, quinoa worm soup seasoned with guilt and your children’s tears isn’t worth it. No more quinoa!
Kale! All hail kale! Kale is the logical answer to every health question. So you start sneaking kale into everything—smoothies, brownies, that dewormed soup. It’s kale for breakfast, lunch, dinner. You juice it, grind it, blend it, steam it. Then you read an article about how too much kale can be toxic. Fine, dammit. Cut back on kale.
Sugar is poison (obviously) so you switch to honey. But that’s still a no-no on the glycemic index, so you switch to real maple syrup. That’s still a no-no on the glycemic index, but you know that somehow it’s got to be healthier because it’s twice as expensive. You switch to agave syrup for a while, because agave is the answer to all your health woes, right up until it’s not, because it’s actually super-processed so don’t eat it.
Corn and soy are out because Monsanto is the devil. Bananas and melons are out because the glycemic index is God. Wheat is out, because gluten is out, because agriculture is stupid, because humans are stupid. Sprouts are out because E. coli. Peanut butter is out because mold. Everything that’s not out should be eaten raw because apparently fire is a modern invention (except tomatoes, that is, because miraculously those are more nutritious when cooked and canned).
At this point, the only thing you feel OK feeding your kids are carrot sticks (but not too many—glycemic index!), hummus (organic, of course), apple slices (always organic because “dirty dozen”), avocados (which are the perfect food, but your kids won’t touch them) and some gluten-free bread (which you actually feel guilty about because carbs = sugar = poison).
Then one day, you pull yourself out of the health food research black hole and realize that while being healthy is a noble goal, all of this fretting and research and experimenting and expense is fairly pointless. As your kids grow from babies to toddlers to preschoolers, you watch them pick up other people’s Cheerios off the floor, pull chewed gum off the bottoms of tables, and lick every handrail at the amusement park. And that’s when the truth sets in.
You find healthy food for kids and feed it to them until the grass-fed cows come home, but they’re still going to eat dirt, lip balm, and their own boogers anyway. It’s all good. You get your lip balm from the health food store, so at least you’ll know they’re eating organic.
This article was originally published on