May 2012

The most ridiculous products to hop the whole grain train

Why "whole grain" is not a synonym for "healthful"

Guys, I get it. Ever since health researchers declared that a complete grain was way better for you than the ultra-processed powdery stuff that's somehow still considered food, marketers have been hopping all over the whole grain bandwagon. And yes, it's generally true that the closer your food is to a whole, untouched plant, the better for you it'll be. But just because you're making something out of brown flour doesn't mean that it's automatically a Godsend for your body. 

I mean, marketers are really stretching the limits of this trend. The other day at Target, I saw that they had slapped the "whole grain" label across their house brand of microwave popcorn. Yep--Target popcorn's proudly a whole grain. As opposed to all those other partial grain popcorns out there on the market. How exactly would those work? How are you supposed to pop a refined kernel? What is going on with America?

While microwave popcorn comes out on top in the totally ridiculous while technically true claims to whole grain status, here are the next most absurd products to be branded as healthful, wholesome foods--just because the flour they're made from hasn't been stripped away to pure sugar.

Let vegetables be vegetables already

Overdressed salads take away from the natural flavor of greens

I'm done with deli salads. I've been doing this thing where I mean to make myself something for lunch before I venture out of the house into the world where I work, but I never seem to be able to scrounge up enough minutes. Instead, I end up spending too much money for sub-par snacks at various coffeeshops and delis between the two jobs I hold out in the physical realm. Being a mostly vegan lover of all things plant-based and edible, I've gone through quite a few pre-prepared salads. And I've come to the following conclusion: most people have no idea how to accent a vegetable's flavor.

I've seen perfectly good bean salads ruined by some unspeakable syrup draped over the aging legumes. I've seen cucumbers and tomatoes glued together with weird tangy dressing. And I've seen so many perfectly good greens plain ruined by salt-clogged cream-based sauce. It seems we've become so attached to the idea that bare plants aren't “real food” that we go ahead and smother the good unprocessed stuff with horrible synthetic muck, just so we can feel like we're eating something that isn't a vegetable.