By Jan Chait | April 3, 2007 10:36 am
Originally, I was going to write that, if we are what we eat, we are corn. And then expound on high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). But, to be honest, I don’t have a scientific cell in my body and would just get overwhelmingly confused at trying to explain how HFCS metabolizes differently from sucrose (table sugar) and probably isn’t all that good for people with diabetes. I could, however, explain the political and economic aspects of the proliferation of HFCS, but I’ll spare you.
So I’m simply going to tell you why I know that we are corn, which is…it’s Passover.
What does a Jewish holiday have to do with corn? During Passover, there is a prohibition against eating grain (except for matzoh, or unleavened bread, and products made from matzoh). Not only that, but you’re not supposed to eat any product that is made from anything that can be made into a grain.
Corn is a grain. Therefore, you can’t eat corn, cornmeal, corn syrup, cornstarch, corn oil, or any other food product producers and manufacturers have dreamed up to make out of corn. Lots of food products have one or more corn products in them. If you don’t believe me, take a magnifying glass, go to your cupboard, and read the ingredients on a few food labels. Take your time. I’ll wait.
Back now? Good. Let’s continue.
One of the things I like to do sometime around Passover is to take my religious school class to the grocery store and tell them to find Passover-friendly snacks. The snacks have to be kosher, but not necessarily labeled kosher for Passover. If the store has a Passover food section, they cannot look there (which isn’t difficult since only one store in town has that and I don’t take them there).
Being young’uns, they head first for the candy (corn syrup of some kind). Then the salty snacks (possible corn oil). In all the years I’ve been doing that, I’ve never had them head for the produce department where there are all kinds of sweet, juicy, Passover-friendly foods.
Maybe I’m just too old. I was born before TV dinners hit the market; convenience foods were nearly nonexistent, there were no fast-food restaurants, and families ate most of their meals at home. We even had to cut up our own chicken. I knew how to do that when I was about 10, but I’m glad they come already cut up now.
Having that background has come in handy. That prepared stuff you just throw on a stove or in the oven or microwave tastes icky (to me). Also, when preparing my own food I don’t have to worry a lot about what kinds of things manufacturers are putting into their products to make them sweet for less money, have them look better, or extend their shelf life.
It’s also good preparation for Passover, because you actually have to cook then. There’s too much corn in foods to be able to nuke and warm things up. You have to actually buy real food and cook it from scratch, and that includes whipping cream to put on top of the strawberries that are atop the cake you made from matzoh cake meal.
My blood glucose tends to whack out for the eight days of Passover because I’ve changed my entire diet. By the time I figure out how to compensate for Passover-friendly foods, it’s over.
Perhaps I should get energetic and write down what I learn this year and refer to my notes next year. Knowing me, however, I’d forget where I put my notes and just pass over them while digging through my files.
Now, if you don’t mind, a brief note on an item I mentioned in a past blog entry (“Practicing Medicine Without a License”): Why it’s a good idea to get all of your medicines from the same pharmacy. When I visited my primary care doctor last week, he changed one of my medicines. That change resulted in a call from the pharmacist, telling me that the new drug could interact with another one I take and result in cardiac problems. With my permission, the pharmacist then called my doctor and they came up with a drug that would “play nicely” with the rest of my prescription drugs.
Fortunately, I have a doctor who listens and go to a pharmacy that takes care of its customers. And for that, I give my heartfelt thanks.
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