Food is frightening, but some of us eat it anyway.

Share story

Do you eat food? If you said yes, then maybe you haven’t been reading all the latest news.

Scientists discovered years ago that food will kill us, but still we eat. Stubbornness, I suppose. Willful defiance. But it is also true that life requires some kind of sustenance.

Many of us are trying to continue eating while dodging the worst dangers, but it isn’t easy because new ones keep popping up.

Innocent seeming rice has arsenic in it, I heard on NPR recently. Burger eaters are being served pink slime, and we were told last week that much maligned red meat is worse than anyone thought.

It’s tempting to put down the paper and pick up a can of Spam. Go out with a sneer, like a movie hero.

Resistance lives even in health-conscious Seattle. Did you see Rebekah Denn’s Seattle Times food blog last Monday? She reported that Jason Munson, of Auburn, won the Great American Spam Championship. His entry? Mini maple Spam doughnuts.

Also last Monday, there was the aforementioned red-meat study published by the Harvard School of Public Health declaring even a tiny bit of the stuff contributes to early death.

I’d already cut back on red meat; you probably have, too. The report may nudge some people away from it altogether.

Before that story came out, I bragged to my wife about my changed lunch habits.

I broke from my usual set of eating places and for months have been spreading my lunch money around a variety of even more healthful choices.

One day, I’ll eat salmon, broccoli and brown rice. Another day vegetarian curry. Then tofu and steamed veggies at another cheap place. Sometimes I’ll get sushi, or falafel.

I could bring food and eat at my desk, but then I’d have less incentive to get out for a walk. I felt good about my choices.

Good, my wife said, but you know sushi is mostly white rice and that’s not so nutritious.

And my son added later that the curry might have butter (super rich ghee) in it. (He’s decided to stick with chemistry as his college major and has already learned enough to comment on everything I think of putting in my mouth. “Dad, seriously, do you know what that has in it?”)

Then I read that salmon, which is touted for its beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, has other fats, too, that aren’t so healthful. I read that on a CBS site under the headline: “15 Deadliest Food Myths.” Does food advice have to be that scary? Tofu, at least, is still all good.

Please, if you’ve found out anything bad about tofu, do not tell me. Tofu is my salvation, and I’m sticking with it. I don’t want to be reduced to eating only nuts and berries.

Sometimes, though, I allow myself a transgression. Knowing it is still possible to eat something suppresses cravings and allows me to avoid it most of the time while I get more and more weaned.

I ate a Costco dog recently. One of the keys to the company’s success is it has trained its members to believe that if something is from Costco it has to be OK. I believe that, except for the giant muffins, of course.

Any combination of fat and sugar has to be, at most, a rare treat.

I can come up with a weekly lunch plan without all that bad stuff. We already have the Meatless Monday movement, and I could bring back fish Friday (sounds like fish-fry day, ummm, but no, baked or steamed is better). I could go further with tofu Tuesday and maybe water only Wednesday. Whatever it takes to stay healthy.

Jerry Large’s column appears Monday and Thursday. Reach him at 206-464-3346 or Twitter @jerrylarge.