Sorry, That’s Not Real Food

I love me some food. I know triathletes and endurance athletes often boast about how much they eat, but I’ve read the SlowTwitch “shame eating” threads and they’re pretty weaksauce. Admitting you ate two huge bowls of cereal or a Krispy Kreme donut pales in comparison to the splendid displays of fat-assery Jason and I have embarked on time and time again. One time we went to Claim Jumper and each ordered fried mozzarella sticks as an appetizer before polishing off fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, extra biscuits with honey butter, and dessert. (Okay, I lied…we’ve done that more than once.)

So you’ve got the faux-pig triathletes who are all “Tee hee, I ate so much yesterday” and then you found out it was something bullshit like an extra helping of quinoa or farro or some other dumb grain that sounds made up. And on the opposite end of the spectrum you’ve got lean, stringy-looking endurance athletes who you know are fast just by glancing your fat eyeballs upon their striated, beef jerky-esque frame, and those folks are so uninterested in food that sometimes they “forget to eat” and only do it because their bodies need sustenance. Forget to eat?! Who does that??? When I’m eating, I think about other food I want to eat, and when I’m not eating, I think about all the food I can’t wait to eat. I love food so much. Soooooo much.

I consider myself an equal-opportunity food lover, meaning I’m just as willing to drop a few hundred bucks at a Michelin star restaurant as I am to gorge myself at the sketchy cash-only taco truck parked behind a Home Depot. Despite being a mega-huge carnivore, I’ll also be a good sport and hit up vegetarian or vegan places with my friends. (Though the last time I did that, I promptly came home, picked Jason up, and drove to get meat-filled deep dish pizza. Deep dish pizza is muy tasty.) I’m willing to try pretty much anything, whether it’s foo-foo holistic or offal-tastic.

However, some of the stuff my teammates insist on passing off as real food has me unconvinced. Some examples:

1. Kale Chips

They’re just like potato chips except not at all!

Everyone seems to be on this kale chip kick lately. “Mmm, they’re sooooooo good! They really satisfy my craving for real potato chips!” I’ve had kale chips before and they’re alright, but I have to point out a couple things:

  1. They are absolutely not a substitute for actual potato chips. Real potato chips are delicious. Kale chips are dried pieces of kale. These two are not remotely the same thing.
  2. Only eat these if you’re sitting at home by yourself, because dark green flecks get shoved in every possible tooth crevice you can imagine, thus killing any socialization efforts at a party or your chances of getting laid if you’re on a date. Nothing says “Please don’t interact with me” like a wad of crusty kale hanging outcho toof.

2. Cottage Cheese

Mmm, wallpaper paste.

Sorry, I don’t eat ceiling spackle. I don’t care how much you trowel into half a cantaloupe. It’s the one cheese I won’t touch because it’s not actually cheese, it’s the stuff that gets sucked out of Kim Kardashian’s saddlebags.

3. Anything That’s a Poor Substitution for Something Else

Sorry folks, it doesn’t hit the spot.

Looking at some Runner’s World recipes, I’m seeing “Chicken Not Pie” instead of chicken pot pie and “Grilled Turkey Salisbury Steaks,” which I’m guessing is a poor substitution for actual Salisbury steak. Turkey doesn’t taste like beef, it tastes like turkey. I get that it’s lower in calories than beef, but don’t try to dupe me by saying it’ll quell my craving for cow. If I want a cheeseburger, I’m not going to pick up a turkey burger and go “Mmmm, that really hit the spot!”, I’m going to eat it and be all, “Well that was okay but where the hell is my fucking cheeseburger?”

4. Pureed Soups

That’s it?

I love me some soups, but if I can’t chew it, it’s not a full meal unless your jaw is wired shut and you’re tired of drinking Ensure all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll slurp down a textureless soup as a starter, but if you try to shove a bowl of creamy parsnip soup in front of me and pass it off as a main course, I’ll bare my underutilized teeth to rip your ear off. (I’ll make an exception if I have roughly 1,000 calories’ worth of crusty bread and butter to work with because moppin’ is totally different. As I’ve told Jason countless times, moppin’ constitutes a meal.)

5. Mung Beans

Dude. No.

Does that sound like something remotely edible? The word “mung” should never be used when naming food. Ever.

6. Anything “Guilt-Free”

“Guilt-free” and “comfort” are oxymorons.

It’s “guilt-free” because all of the delicious stuff has been pared down or omitted. All of the flavor lies in guilt. Guilt is a tasty, tasty word.

7. Turkey Bacon

Don’t waste my time.

This is not open to argument. Turkey bacon is not bacon. It’s an insult to bacon, and I’m offended that it even exists.

8. Chia Seeds

Novelty gift? Yes. Food source? No.

Let me guess, you read Born to Run and it changed your life. You bought a pair of Vibrams and bulk-ordered a metric ton of chia seeds because that’s what the Tarahumara eat for fuel and you think they’re fast because they run barefoot and eat what most people gift to the weird guy at the office because they pulled his name for Secret Santa. I hate to break it to you, but toe shoes won’t make you faster and seeds that taste like slimy frog egg sacks aren’t real food.

What do you have on your “not real food” list? And who wants to go out for burritos and margaritas with me? :)