Sorry, That’s Not Real Food

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? 🙂

25 Responses to “ “Sorry, That’s Not Real Food”

  1. Liz says:

    last night I ate a dip consisting of cheese sauce and chicken as a starter to my steak and potatoes. there should be an eat-off component to ironman.

  2. THANK YOU for calling out the ridiculousness…though I gotta say, I love cottage cheese.

  3. Michelle says:

    But I love pureed soup!!!You must have forgotten to put the crumbled bacon (of the pig variety) in it.

  4. Karin says:

    That picture of cottage cheese made me throw up in my mouth. Nasty.

  5. Lindsey says:

    I have said no less than 7 sentences in your post verbatim to my husband in the last month. Maybe we are twin sisters that our parents had to separate at birth in fear of going bankrupt on the grocery bill? 🙂

  6. HA! SO TRUE, loved this post!!! 🙂

  7. Bridget's Husband says:

    Real food, what about real drinks. Tonight I drank a sugar free lemonade and vodka, sometimes I drink sugar free redbull and vodka…I guess as long as you have vodka for me it’s real.

  8. Diesel says:

    OMG, you left off fat free Ranch and fat free cheese? Really? Not an option. Decaf coffee…how about nooooooo?

    Now fry up bacon so it’s good and crispy grab some tortillas(homemade from my mom if possible) butter the tortillas and fill with bacon! Boom shackalacka..a tasty disf!

  9. Tammy says:

    Seriously, who DOES forget to eat?? As I heard a comedian say, “That takes a special kind of stupid.” I would have lol’ed my way through this one, but my mouth was full 🙂

  10. Anne-Marie says:

    Haha, I totally don’t understand people that “forget to eat” either. I usually already start planning dinner before or at the latest when I’m having lunch.

    HOWEVER – pureed soups are amazing! You can have like 3 BOWLS of them if you want!

    …guess I won’t give the Kale Chips a try then…

  11. Dr.G says:

    This rocks! Freakin’ love your sense of humor!

  12. Danielle says:

    Amen sistah! Seriously, WTH is going on with this kale chip mania??? I’m not sold, no sirree. On the soup front, I use pureed soups (if I have to have one!) as a dipping source, if you will. I find a pureed ,tomato, carrot or sweet potato soup goes extraordinarly well as a dipping sauce for fried foods. Mung anything is off limits, indeed. Even when I was wee kid who ate anything, mung beans didn’t fly. I was on to them even as a sprout. I knew they were sketchy fuckers! haha

    • Rebecca says:

      Pureed soup as a dipping source is an exception. I’ll eat a pureed soup if I can dip a sandwich or a fried chicken leg or something calorically awesome into it.

  13. Kristin says:

    So true on the bacon. I can’t believe I ate turkey bacon for so long. Why, why did I deny myself!
    Also: Tofu. Why does this exist? And low-cal fake food. No thanks.

  14. J.M. says:

    I laughed, I cried, I gagged a bit at the photos.

  15. Caitlin says:

    Any “low-cal dessert” that has been tricked out and rebuilt so it doesn’t incorporate eggs, butter, sugar and/or oil is totally suspect in my eyes. I mean, yeah, it might only have -17 calories but it tastes like rancid sawdust so why even bother?

  16. You had me at: 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.

    That said, I make a killer butternut squash soup. I might eat 3 bowls of it, but I will accept it as my entree.

  17. Great post as always!

    Ever eaten at a “raw food” restaurant where they assemble what looks like gourmet bird food and try to pass it off as “enchiladas” or “pizza” or whatever. It’s so much worse to set up the comparison to the real thing because it will _always_ be a disappointment. Better to label it “Doesn’t Taste Like Ass” and leave it at that!

  18. Kye says:

    I love cottage cheese. But I don’t know if I can anymore.

    “… the stuff that gets sucked out of Kim Kardashian’s saddlebags.”


  19. Patrick says:

    I get crap for going to Golden Corral, if they knew we were triathletes Buffets might charge more gotta make sure you got no race shirts on and then you gotta try and out eat the 400 pound person in the rascal BRING IT.

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