52 Days of Paleo – Day 6

Chicken Tenders and sweet potato fries; home made.

Don’t Send Me Your Awful How-Food-Is-Made videos!

I fucking love french fries. Particularly, I love french fries from McDonald’s. And Wendy’s. And even those hand-cut-right-in-front-of-the-drive-through-window fries from In N Out Burger (my third favorite).

My wife is trying to steal the love of french fries for me though.

Today, she sent me a link to a Facebook video of a guy talking about how McDonald’s french fries are produced. Specifically, how McDonald’s has perfected the art of producing consistent, beautiful, wonderful-tasting french fries. A french fry to fall in love with. A french fry to become addicted to. A french fry that is the perfect length to present in a fan if crisped, fried goodness in their perfect cardboard french containers.

The process starts with an insistence on perfect potatoes. Specifically, McDonald’s Corporation insists that all their french fries be made from a specific type of russet potato (the Russet Burbank). This breed of russet is unusually long and narrow. They also insist that these potatoes have no blemishes, so the french fries always have a clean and smooth exterior, even if they’re cut from the outer part of the potato.

To achieve this level of homogeny in potato production, the farmers who produce them use a particularly nasty herbicide to keep away the aphids that create blemishes away. The video says that the farmers who produce this potato won’t step into their fields for five full days after they spray the herbicide; that is how toxic it is. This video says that when the farmers harvest their perfect Russet Burbank potatoes and stick them in a barn, they don’t enter that barn for several days until the herbicide has completely oxygenated (dispersed). If something so nasty is required to make the potato perfect, it is unfathomable to believe that a lingering effect remains in the final, perfect french fry.

Whether or not I take the video at face value, I both love and hate that she sent it to me. And this is one of those things about Paleo that is driving me a little crazy - once you open the door to taking a very close look at the food you’re putting into your body, the worst kind of information can creep in. Truth that will keep you up at night. Truth that can turn off all food.

It’s not that I don’t want to be educated about how food is produced. I do. But only in small doses for now. I’m just now getting close to my ingredients by making my own meals. I’m just now learning about how whole foods, organically grown, are the path to robust health for me. I’m just now taking control of the food that goes into my body. Don’t open the door to this rabbit hole and shove me through. I don’t want to find out that there’s not a single thing in the world that I can safely eat. I don’t want to learn that I have to retreat to a mountain hideaway and grow all my own food to stay safe.

Selfishly, I want to leave my door open to cheat a little on the Paleo diet. If you read the original book by Loren Cordain, Ph.D. (The Paleo Diet), it is adamant that in order to correct the poor nutrition that is served up in the name of processed food in modern society, you don’t actually have to eliminate everything bad. The human body can tolerate some level of crappy food. He recommends eating clean at least 85% of your meals. That other 15% is where heaven lies for my taste buds. That 15% means I can go grab that Wendy’s number one on a weekend as a reward for so diligently eating clean all week.

If you send me videos like the one Keli sent me today, you could ruin that reward for me. I’m not willing to live a life where I get no joy that can be served up in a little red french fry couple. I want to hide behind a shield of ignorance for a little while longer so I continue to eat at a place like McDonald’s, albeit infrequently.

Rant over.

Sleep quality: 85%. 9:18 in bed. Another fun sleeping fact from the Sleep Cycle app; the average American goes to bed at 11:24 pm. I couldn’t stay up that late if you paid me. There is simply too much to do in the mornings.

Breakfast: Coffee, black, sweetened with raw honey. Banana. Hard-boiled egg. This was a miss. I woke up late and had an early call and had to grab and go.

Lunch: Panda Express bowl, vegetables and chicken only.

Dinner: Chicken tenders (in almond flour and spices) with sweet potato french fries (in olive oil, salt, and spices).

Exercise: None today (thank you very much).

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