Death at the Chinese Buffet

6 01 2010

I thought about checking into a food allergy support group. But I didn’t want to be in a group of over protective soccer moms and their snot nosed nut-allergic kids. Nut-free schools and safe snacks. That’s like having a playground without metal slides.  What’s the fun if no one gets hurt? No, I wanted an adult group. A group where we are allowed to make poor choices.  The allergist ordered strict avoidance, but shouldn’t that be open to interpretation? Strict avoidance—except for special occasions. Strict avoidance unless having intense cravings. Pre-medicating with Benadryl is acceptable when it’s something that you really want. I’ll die if I don’t get my rapunzels! It’s okay to evaluate the pros and cons before indulging. If I die eating crab rangoons at the Chinese Buffet, will I die happy?

Jacks always told me that she would give up cigarettes if I gave up chocolate. I told her it wasn’t the same thing. Chocolate wasn’t going to kill me.

 Jacks was mixing a batch of chocolate chip cookies. She dumped an entire bag of chocolate chips on top. She swatted at me with the spoon as I slipped a morsel into my mouth. After I swallowed that chocolate chip, breathing was like sucking air through a dirty straw. Jacks stopped stirring. I started to cough and wheeze.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“I must have swallowed wrong,” I said.

“I thought I was going to have to call 911.”

 It happened again at a New Years buffet hundreds of miles from home. There was no chocolate on my plate. Oysters Rockefeller, Rainbow Trout, Bison. Nothing I hadn’t eaten before. I turned all red and blotchy and I could feel my heart pounding in my neck. I stopped eating, drank water and it went away.

 Finally, I got tested for food allergies.

 I used to laugh at people with food allergies—not the serious ones. You know the ones I’m talking about. People who claim to be allergic to pepper because they sneeze or brussel sprouts because they develop intense flatulence. Or those rich people in East Grand Rapids that give chefs a hard time by claiming pseudo-gluten allergies. Low-carb has fallen out of fashion, so gluten-free is the new black. Only they don’t know what that really means, so they get mad when the chef substitutes potato for the couscous. Okay, I still laugh at those people. 

 I’m a pain in the ass. This past New Years dinner, Jacks made me a special pork roulade without pistachios. Just yesterday she made stir-fry minus the red pepper chili sauce. I read about how some people with food allergies carry a Chef Card, a business card with a list of allergies to give the waitress when dining out.  If I gave any waitress my Chef Card, they would escort me out the door. Corn. Tree Nuts. Shellfish. Fish. Chocolate.  Black peppercorns and hot peppers seem to becoming more of an issue.

In the past, I have enjoyed Thai, Chinese and Indian Cuisine. I love Sushi. Jacks still makes this for me in the safety of our own home. Untried restaurants were the next frontier. Now, I have to be careful what I order. Everything invariably contains corn in some form or another. And pre-medicating with Benadryl, means I need a designated driver, because I’m comatose before the meal ends. This must be foodie hell.


Corn Whores agree–Corn is Cheap

14 12 2009

I’m convinced that Subway is working on global domination. No matter where you drive, there’s a Subway within a mile radius, touting their healthy choices. They are setting themselves up as the healthy fast food—a better choice. Don’t go do McDonald’s. Go to Subway instead. Subway is probably a healthier choice, depending on what you pick from the menu. However, the food is just as unreal and manufactured as any other fast food corporation.

Their sandwiches are loaded with processed lunch meat that contain hydrolyzed proteins and nitrate preservatives.  Their 9 Grain Wheat bread contains high fructose corn syrup. The number one ingredient in their fat-free honey mustard dressing is corn syrup. It’s the second ingredient in their red wine vinaigrette.  Lunch meats also contain corn syrup. Not to mention the lists of unpronounceable additives: disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, sodium phosphates), polysorbate 80, sodium tripolyphosphate, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, tetrasodium phosphate.

Like any corporation that is striving to take over the world, they want to do it cheaply. Corn is a cheap ingredient.  The fast food industry needs a source of cheap meat and cheap food products in order to make a profit. Lucky for them–corn is in everything. Corn is overproduced and unprofitable for farmers to grow, so the government must provide subsidies. What do you do with an overabundance of corn? You find ways to get rid of it. You hide it all food products. Read your labels.

Cows, pigs and chickens used to eat grass. Now they are fed corn. They are fed corn because they get fatter faster. How much corn do you think we consume? Are we being fattened up? I keep thinking there are giants waiting to feast on us.

One of the ingredients in Subway’s oven roasted chicken patty is “chicken type flavor.” It’s chicken isn’t it? So why would you have to put chicken flavor on a chicken?

 The following is a menu item copied and pasted from Subway’s website. All red ingredients are corn derived.

OVEN ROASTED CHICKEN PATTY Oven roasted chicken with rib meat, water, seasoning (corn syrup solids, vinegar powder [maltodextrin, modified corn starch & tapioca starch, dried vinegar], brown sugar, salt, dextrose, garlic powder, onion powder, chicken type flavor [hydrolyzed corn gluten, autolyzed yeast extract, thiamine hydrochloride, disodium inosinate & disodium guanylate]), sodium phosphate.

The grocery store gives us the illusion of choice. I recently watched a documentary Food Inc. Three corporations control 90% all the meat sources in the United States. So you may think that you have all these choices, but you don’t. Your meat still came from the same corporate slaughter house. Sick, corn-fed cows standing in 2 feet of their own shit.

You say that you’re a vegetarian. That’s all very nice. But our vegetables and fruits are being controlled as well. Monsanto has been diligently working on patenting life. Eventually they will control our food source and choose what we get to eat. Monsanto has been suing farmers that reuse their seeds, because it’s an infringement on Monsanto’s patent.

I’m just as guilty as the next person. I indulge in fast food. I buy meat from the grocery store. If you close your eyes and really taste what you’re eating, does it really taste good?  I did this with some grapes recently. It tasted sweet. Wet and sweet, but not much like a grape. Our food is being hijacked. 

There are a few ways to get around this.

  1. Move to a hippy commune.
  2. Own your own farm and use heirloom seeds and raise your own meat.
  3. Start your own hippy commune.
  4. Buy fruits, veggies and meat from small local farmers.
  5. Demand better quality food from stores & restaurants.
  6. Support your local hippy commune.
  7. Starve to death.

Links of interest:

Food Inc.

King Corn

* A side note. A couple years ago, I discovered I was allergic to corn. It was corn that was making me short of breath and wheezy. I’m not sure if this allergy is related to the genetic modification of our food or my poor genetic make up. Either way, I’m bitter because I can no longer indulge in tortilla chips, polenta and cornbread casserole. I can’t have it, so nobody else should either. But it has also made me an avid label reader. And it concerns me how much corn is in everything. Wheat and soy are also found in many food products. Both grains are listed in the top 8 food allergens.   If I want to eat wheat or soy or corn, then I’ll chose to do so, but why must they be hidden in everything?