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I *heart* turnips

Today is a soup and fruit day - one of the sort of days where I don't want anything except liquids in food form.

So I'm sitting at the computer, reading websites and eating a can of "tropical fruit salad" that consists of mango, papaya, and pineapple bits in juice, and thinking about fruit and soup, and all the ridiculous diets I've tried over the years that involved copious amounts of fruit, soup, or both.  I'm waiting for someone to come out with the "Fruit Soup Diet" (watch; it will come out next year), claiming that sugar isn't the enemy, it's High Fructose Corn Syrup*, and as long as you take in your sugar as pure syrup squeezed from the sugar cane plant (my local chi-chi grocery store sells the canes) and fruit, you'll lose all the weight you want, because sugar increases your metabolism.

(This diet not recommended for anyone with diabetes, insulin intolerance, hypoglycaemia, and anyone who thinks about diabetes every time Wilford Brimley appears on TV.)

I mean, I've watched people drink nasty lemon juice and cayenne pepper with the claim that it boosts your metabolism and burns fat, and that you're totes not just losing weight because you're taking in roughly three calories a day, and you'll gain it all back as soon as you stop, because you've sent your body into starvation mode, so fruit soup should gain some followers, right?

I remember the Cabbage Soup Diet - the one that said all the cabbage soup you could force down, plus vegetables one day and fruit the next - and I remember that for some reason, you weren't allowed bananas on that diet.  I think the theory was that bananas have more sugar in them than other fruits, and that if you were allowed to eat bananas, you'd eat nothing but bananas, and gain weight. Never mind the fact that you'd have to eat 20 large bananas to take in 2000 calories and I defy anyone to eat 20 bananas more than once.

(I mean, I love bananas, but 20?  *blorp*)

(That reminds me, my cousins used to eat bananas mushed up with brown sugar sprinkled on top.  We, on the other hand, whipped egg whites with sugar until they were stiff, and ate that.  We called it "fluffy egg", and it's a wonder none of us ever got food poisoning from eating raw egg whites.)

(I bet The Fluffy Egg Diet would be followed by people if it promised it would make them lose weight.  Dieting has nothing to do with health, just looking thinner, and people put the most extraordinary things in their bodies as long as it promises that, and to hell with the health consequences.)

As I recall, the Beverly Hills Diet featured vast amounts of fruit, and the resulting intestinal distress caused by suddenly mainlining the produce aisle was touted as "fat leaving the body!".  The only medications that cause fat to leave the body in one's fecal matter are the ones that block the body's absorbtion of fat, which isn't the fat you already have, just the fat in the food you just ate. 

(I am told that the results of eating a Big Mac meal while on Alli are truly a horror show.  Epic, even.)

I like fruit.  I like vegetables, which wasn't always the case (I liked some, but not many), but I think that veggies such as spinach are too bitter for a child's palate, and some vegetable rejection is to be expected from children.  As we get older, our taste buds become less sensitive (except for a small group of people), and things like spinach and brussels sprouts taste less bitter, allowing us to sense the other flavours in the vegetable.  I think the current US hatred of vegetables (like in the V8 ads, which make me want to spit) is due in large part to poor cooking choices, a lack of imagination in vegetable choices, and a refusal to grow up and try new things. 

Seriously, I can't stand the "steamed vegetable" side that is the only non-potato or rice option in most restaurants; it's either under or over-cooked, and it always features broccoli.  Fire-roasted peppers, or tomatoes, grilled banana peppers and onions, or cauliflower, or eggplant, or parsnips, or... there are so many more vegetables out there than overcooked green beans with ham and limp broccoli.  Every time I am served a sad pile of carrots and broccoli in a restaurant, I actually sympathize with people who refuse to eat their vegetables.

But that's the only time.  Vegetables are awesome, as are salads, but you know what?  When I was always on a diet, and being shamed for eating anything, vegetables were a chore and a misery.  When a life full of steamed vegetables without any flavour and iceberg lettuce with fat-free ranch dressing is before you, you can't help but rebel and want a grilled cheese sandwich.

(Bob makes an awesome grilled cheese with tomato and onion.  It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.)

When food is divided into good and bad, and when you are told that you must never, ever, not even once, eat anything on the "bad" list, then vegetable hate is guaranteed, and everything on the "good" list is unsatisfying.  Worse than that, diets cause binge eating of carbohydrate, fat and sugar-heavy foods, because a diet devoid of all those things is not balanced, and causes people to crave what they cannot have.

I used to binge eat in between unsuccessful dieting.  The prospect of going back on the diet after the forbidden food made me cram as much as I could into my mouth, far beyond what I could comfortably eat, because tomorrow I would be eating boring vegetables and chicken grilled with no sauce of any kind.  No sugar, no fat, no carbs.  Vegetables without any salt or oil are dull to most palates, and it doesn't even require much of either to make veggies taste sublime. The oil helps the vegetable to cook properly, and the salt enhances the flavours present in the vegetable.  I love winter squash with a little bit of butter, and peppers roasted in a little olive oil are sublime.

(There is nothing more disgusting than fat-free ranch dressing, I'm telling you.  It's too sweet and has a horrible mouth feel.)

Vegetables can be beautiful delicious things, but advertising in the US seems to be pushing the "vegetables are ucky" meme harder than ever.  Chef Boyardee promotes the fact that there's a full serving of vegetables in every can of their pasta by implying that a child won't eat it if they're told the dreaded v-word, so mommy and daddy have to lie.  The aforementioned V8 pushes their juice drink that has veggie juice by showing adults spitting out brussels sprouts into their napkins, and salads are endlessly derided as "girl food", therefore men should never eat salads, or any vegetables, in case they get contaminated with girl cooties.

It's a failure of imagination, and years of careful brainwashing by the meat lobbies that puts a huge hunk of animal protein front and center of our meals.  "I'm a meat and potatoes man" implies manliness, rugged individualism and a Joe Six-Pack sensibility. 

I imagine the manliness is somewhat undercut by the scurvy.  Give me a ratatouille any day.

*Eeeevil.  Eeeeeeeviiiiiiiiiiil.  HFCS is in too many things, and studies appear to be showing that it stimulates the appetite much like msg, and makes people crave more fat and sugar, and take longer to feel satisfied.  Those ads that  have people going "HFCS is just like sugar" are sponsored by the corn lobby.  But you knew that.


( 36 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
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Feb. 9th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
I also love grilled cheese with tomatoes and onions, but we always make ours with Marmite and buttered toast, then cheese, then the tomato and onion slices, and then we put it all under the broiler..... YUM
Feb. 9th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)
I think the whole reason I quit running and eating well is because I was tired of having to give things up. And of course my immediate reaction was to gorge myself on pepperoni pizza and m&m's while laying on the couch. Unfortunately, it's a hell of a lot easier than putting steel cut oats in the cooker the night before and getting up at 3:30 in the morning to run 7 miles before work and now I look like the Micheline Man. *pout* I failed at healthy, but look how successful I am at slowly killing myself with crap!

Er, sorry. Not sure where that all came from. Carry on!
Feb. 9th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)

Sorry about that.
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Feb. 9th, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 9th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)
I also think a lot of folks forget that they can add seasoning to veggies.

Regular steamed brussel sprouts I find icky.
Sliced up, sauteed with a small amount of olive oil and garlic - YUM!

I also toss in various spice mixes with my veggies. Last night was sugar snap peas seasoned with Tsardust (Penzky spice mix). Mmmmmm...
(Deleted comment)
Re: Unrelated... - ladyhelwynn - Feb. 9th, 2010 07:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mariedeblois - Feb. 10th, 2010 12:29 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 9th, 2010 06:52 pm (UTC)
I've always hated turnips, but there aren't many other veggies I hate (I think I can count them all on one hand).

I did find a new love not too long ago, at a feast for our local groups midwinter event. Oven roasted brussel sprouts. I mean, I always liked them before, even as a kid (but then I was an unusual kid who loved spinach). But when I tried the oven roasted brussel sprouts? I fell in love.

Soon as we are moved into the new place (23 days) and I'm settled in, I will fix myself a plate of them and enjoy!

Oh, and as far as the HFCS? Forgetting the studies showing the nasty things you mentioned, the propaganda commercials say, "it's good in moderation!"

My question is, and has been since I saw the very first commercial, how can you get it only in moderation? Unless you cook every thing yourself from scratch (including making ice cream by scratch) you will be eating tons of the stuff. Because it's in everything that is pre-made. It's not just sugary breakfast cereals, it's bread, ice cream, frozen foods, spaghetti sauce and just about everything else on the market.

Not many people have the time, money, or know how to make everything from scratch. I mean, seriously, how many people have an ice cream churn, or yogurt maker? So many people have been ingesting this stuff since manufacturers started putting it in everything in the 70's.

All of the so-called facts that are being thrown at us about the obesity epipanic talk about how in the 70's to 80's the obesity rate started rising. I think maybe people (studies) ought to look more at what changed in the majority of American's food intake in that time period rather than just deciding the country as a whole became extremely lazy!

Edited at 2010-02-09 07:01 pm (UTC)
Feb. 9th, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)
I didn't like turnips until 1) I started oven roasting them and 2) peeling enough of the bitter outer layer off the root.

Since I've done that I've gotten people who hated turnips to eat them. ;)
Feb. 9th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, Penzey's rocks my world. I've got a very limited diet out of necessity right now (crohns/colitis), and things like rice and egg noodles taste SO MUCH better with a sprinkle of herb mixture, and tuscan sunset is one of my faves!

Feb. 9th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC)
I have Crohns too so I feel for you. I learned I also had to be careful with the different spice mixes. Some spices made me feel a bit ill, others no problem.

I love egg noodles with a little bit of butter and mace (the spice).

I'll have to try the tuscan sunset mix!
Feb. 9th, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC)
Alli actually works no better than a fiber supplement - like a glass of metamucil. That's why it's OTC - the FDA wouldn't allow it to be sold that way if it actually did anything.
Feb. 9th, 2010 07:27 pm (UTC)
Your post makes me cry because I can no longer enjoy the love of a vegetable.


(I have an intestinal problem. I have to keep to under 3 grams of fiber a day. It's awful. Sometimes I chew on celery and spit it out, hoping no one noticed. God I miss salad!)
Feb. 9th, 2010 08:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so sorry. Poor love! I do like the idea of sucking on a celery stick, though. :)

I presume filtered vegetable juice is out, too, since it conains soluble fiber. At least you get apple juice!
Feb. 9th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
I'm curious. What does a turnip look like to you? Is it a word used in the US (or are you just using it because you are from England)?

[my Mum's a Scot, I think turnip is vaguely orange, and fairly large; whereas sweed is small and white/purple. In England these are reversed which is CONFUSING]

Oh, and I LOVE vegetables. Nomnomnom. And fruit. Nomnomnomnomnom. But also other things. And I'm sure if I were put on some ghastly steamed broccoli only diet I would soon hate it with a fiery passion
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - naath - Feb. 9th, 2010 10:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Feb. 9th, 2010 08:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - naath - Feb. 9th, 2010 10:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 9th, 2010 08:13 pm (UTC)
You might like witchchild's other blog, I Believe in Butter.

Part of the problem with HFCS is that it is mostly made of fructose and glucose molecules. Cane sugar is sucrose. The sucrose molecule is made of a fructose molecule and a glucose molecule bound together. Your body produces an enzyme that can break that bond, releasing the glucose and the fructose. This means that your body has a way of regulating your intake of those molecules when ingested as sugar. One of the reasons that HFCS is *so* bad for you is that it completely bypasses that regulation method, inundating your body with fructose and glucose.
Feb. 9th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
Yes, that sounds familiar. The HFCS doesn't register with your pancreas the same way as sucrose (or even straight fructose), so it doesn't produce insulin the same way in response, delaying the "I'm full now" feeling.

"Metabolizes just like sugar" my ass. >:(
(no subject) - fiberferret - Feb. 10th, 2010 11:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Feb. 10th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 9th, 2010 09:21 pm (UTC)
OMG do i love veggies. LOVE THEM!! I proclaim my heartfelt gushiness to them.. I'd even make them a V-day card or three. I met with a (new to me) nutritionalist a few weeks back. I freaked her out. Yes, i've been known to sit and eat a can of spinach or a bowl of brussel sprouts for lunch, or even a snack. I'm working on squash :) (the whole texture thing). I was very lucky as a child. I was made to try everything at least once. I'm glad i was. I'm glad my parents stuck with it.

Can't say my health is the best these days, but a lot of it i can't control. But gosh darn it.. i will eat my veggies and love it!! And someday, when i have little me's running around, they will love their veggies too, unlike my husband.

I wish veggies got a better rap. They are awesome and Oh the things you can do with them. YUM YUMM YUM!! (ok, now i need some spinach.. heheh)

And i admit to eating soup a lot. I know those days. Course it's my home made egg drop soup... yum yum yum
Feb. 9th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC)
I was that weird kid that loved spinach - wilted spinach in a vinegar dressing, actually. MMMMmmmm! I still think that is fabulous even today. I could eat bowls and bowls of it.

Oven roasted brussel sprouts = A+, but I once made brussel sprouts confit for an open-fire meal at an SCA event. Decadent, and doubtlessly bad for one.

Turnips chopped up and roasted with potato chunks of a similar size, until just browned slightly, with olive oil and kosher salt (like oven-fries) might even be tastier than popcorn.

I'm going to wok me up some broccoli with garlic and chives tonight. Y'all have gotten me all hungrified.
Feb. 9th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
my bratlings grew up eating veggies. steamed veggies? YUM! raw broccoli, cauliflower, and sugar snap peas with full fat ranch dressing? YUM! steamed brussels sprouts? YUM!

my son wont touch a green bean, though. and my daughter will eat squashes (which i loathe along with eggplant and cooked greens. just, gahhhh!!)

i found the phrase "no, you cant have this. its MINE and i'm not sharing!" made for kids that begged what you were eating AND stole it off your plate while you were being "inattentive". hey, they tried it on their own. and discovered it was GOOD.

but i'm still not eating liver. mama served it one night i was at her house and i told her "i'm a grownup now. where's the peanut butter cause i am NOT eating liver." she found this amusing. ;)
Feb. 10th, 2010 12:18 am (UTC)
"I think the current US hatred of vegetables (like in the V8 ads, which make me want to spit) is due in large part to poor cooking choices, a lack of imagination in vegetable choices, and a refusal to grow up and try new things."

Add to that poor produce and you have my husband's opinion. I am one of those "I don't like vegetables" people the whole "You are not leaving the table until you eat your vegies" thing only works until the parents decide to go to bed at midnight.

I do try new things, and my tastes have broadened, but there are things I just don't like for either flavor or texture.
Feb. 11th, 2010 02:31 am (UTC)
You may be a supertaster, especially if you're sensitive to bitter flavors. For example, I've found that raw green pepper is just too strong for me.

I may or may not be a supertaster, but it helps to get my mother off my back. (I'm 44, and she still tries to force foods on me, telling me I'll like them when I've already tried them and I don't)
Feb. 10th, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
Brussels sprouts are the favourite veggie in this house... glorp olive oil in a glass pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put prout halves in cut'side down. Drizzle with oil and more S&P. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes (or put in when your roasting something else, any temp is OK, really).

Oh, and roasted, mashed parsnips! Boiled beets with ginger! Grilled fennel! Scalloped leek tops! Baked sweet potatoes!

I've been a veggie fiend my whole life, and my son is too. When he was about 4 hir grandma offered to buy him a candy bar as a treat and he was very quiet for a moment. He gathered his courage and said "Can I have a red bell pepper instead? One I don't have to share with ANYONE?" He's 15 now and offers his share of dessert in exchange for the last serving of squash casserole.
Feb. 10th, 2010 01:32 am (UTC)
Perhaps if so much in the veggie section of supermarkets didn't taste like cardboard ... I <3 my farmers' market.

Seriously, I love a vegetable. Had some awesome candied baked parsnips this weekend that Sir Drac made, drizzled with balsamic vinegar.

I think one of the things I love about Nashville is our recent proliferation of independent chefs who also love vegetables, and aren't afraid to say it with their menus.

Until recently, I did think I hated brussel sprouts, but then I had them grilled and carmelized perfectly at Le Parigo in Knoxville, and now ... yum.

I agree, however, that the advertising world seems ot be out to convince the world that vegetables suck. Perhaps there's just not enough money to be made in people liking fresh produce.
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