There’s Junk Food and There’s Frankenfood

Garden-of-Eatin-Sweet-PotFriday, I shared with you that I was in the midst of PMS cravings and just could not figure out what would satisfy them. Well, that was then, honey! I found the food I was searching for – Garden of Eatin’ Sweet Potato Corn Tortilla Chips! Mmmmm. AND they let me stay in my current menu. Nirvana, right? Healthy junk food?

I didn’t say they were healthy. I said that they let me stay in my current menu. Not the same thing.

With my new vegetarian, nearly vegan menu, I get a lot of questions and end up in a great many conversations about it. In one conversation, a friend expressed surprised that an obese woman she’d just met was a life-long vegetarian. How can that be? How can a vegetarian be overweight at all, much less obese? I used to wonder the same thing.

I always had this image of a vegetarian as someone who ate mostly salads and steamed vegetables. Honestly, I didn’t really get the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan since I believed that they both lived on primarily twigs and grass, drank herbal tea, smoked weed and dropped acid. (Well, maybe not all of them.)

Au contraire! (That’s French for, “Oh, lemme tell you how you’re wrong.”)

To be a vegetarian, a person does not eat meat. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t eat eggs or milk products. It doesn’t mean that they don’t eat sugar; it only means that they don’t eat meat. They can still eat cake, ice cream, candy bars, french fries…you get the picture.

Vegans are vegetarians who don’t eat meat or any other animal product like eggs or dairy. However, even vegans can eat a wide variety of things that aren’t necessarily healthy including Oreos, many cookies, most candy, lots of different chips, some bagels and even many frozen desserts. Neither vegetarianism nor veganism is necessarily good healthism. (It’s not a word. I know that, just work with me.)

These folks ain’t subsisting on grass and twigs.

So, back to my sweet potato corn tortilla chips. Like all junk food, they are calorie dense, nutrient sparse. A serving (about nine chips – puhleeze) contains 140 calories, 1 gram of sugar, 2 grams of protein and 2% of the RDA of both iron and vitamin A. 2%? That’s nothing. The reason I chose them rather than some other chip is their ingredient list which contains nothing that I can’t pronounce. Malic acid is the only ingredient I didn’t know anything about. Compare that to other chips with ingredients like monosodium glutamate and disodium inosinate. While neither chemical is necessarily harmful, I’d rather my snacks have more easily pronounced ingredients. I feel better believing that they are a more natural option than some other choices out there.

Or, maybe I’m just kidding myself because it says “organic, gluten-free and non-GMO” on the package. Could be.  In any case, my cravings are satisfied, the PMS Beast is once again at rest, and the neighborhood is safe.



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