Gut bomb alert!
Anyway, to help simplify your pursuit of total health, there is the invaluable Top 10 List of Health Tips, which was the subject of this column a few years ago. Here’s a quick review: 1) Drink a bucket of water every day. 2) No cigs, cigars or chew. 3) At least 100 grapes a day. 4) Eighteen holes in a cart, then off to the gym to hit the treadmill? What’s wrong with this picture? 5) Better pass on that next speedball. 6) Become a professional kick-boxer. 7) That last six-pack of little chocolate donuts was, sad to say, your last. 8) Make friends with gopher snakes. 9) Pants with drawstrings are good. 10) Avoid trans-fatty acids with extreme prejudice.
Yes, those trans-fatty acids. This villainous gunk is turning out to be quite the nasty goo, and it’s entrenched in many of our modern processed foods. A recent study claimed that “trans-fatty acids do to your guts what Stalin did to staffers of free weekly alternative newspapers.”
So how can you, the frenzied modern consumer, avoid these evil bubbles of Beelzebub? Simple. Read labels. Look for two words on the label of any food product: partially hydrogenated. If you see them, transpose them in your mind to read “cantaloupe-sized tumor.” Then see if they land in the shopping cart.
At great sacrifice to my eyeballs, which have no doubt been weakened over the years by pounds of the partially hydrogenated palm oil found in all corporate cream fillings, I squinted through some serious label-reading at the supermarket. Here are but a few of my startling findings. If they help you to tack one more year on to your dazed life, my lengthened crow’s feet shall not have been in vain.
Boxed cereals—some have TFAs; some don’t. Total, Wheaties and Corn Pops have them, while Kix, Cheerios and Frosted Flakes don’t. Check the label on your fave.
Breads—most have TFAs, some don’t. All Oroweat breads have them, but Wonder (!) and Earth Grains don’t. Local breads from groovy bakeries are terrific.
All coffee creamers are brutal. Get back to black. And margarine? Forget it. Astonishingly evil. Get thee back to butter fast.
Snack crackers are pretty much a lost cause, including Triscuits, Ritz and Wheat Thins. Dry and wet roasted nuts are cool. I’m sorry to report that most cookies are willing minions of the dark side. Chips Ahoy, Oreos, Nilla Wafers, the Exquisite Milano Family and everything by Mother’s and Grandma’s are all riddled with partially hydrogenated spleen busters.
Potato chips? Surprise! You’ve got options here. Doritos and Cheetos are TFA’d, but simple, straight Lay’s, Ruffles, Pringles and Fritos aren’t. The basic rule for chips: The fancier they are, the more likely they are to have bad juju. For example, you’d be wise to slide on sour cream and onion chips.