I love potato chips. My top two all-time favorites are Lay’s original and Kettle brand Sea Salt & Black Pepper. I love potato chips because years of research and millions of dollars have been invested to ensure that I, and people generally, will love them. A fascinating article in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine detailed the labors behind our attraction to junk food. The potato chip campaign seems tame and unofficious (yes, I know it’s not a real word, but it should be) compared to Coca-Cola’s. We like Lay’s chips because they break at precisely four pounds of pressure, and because those potatoes convert to sugar quickly once we ingest them. We like Coke because it’s full of added sugar, and it’s increasing clear that sugar is the problem.
Listening to Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food led me, finally, to change my family’s approach to food and eating. We’ve been following the most essential of his rules since October. (Reality check: I’ve been following; my family has reluctantly had to come along.) My focus was on the added non-food ingredients, not the sugar. Sugar is a ride-along with most processed foods, however, so one change brings the other with it. We are far from picture-perfect as healthy eaters, but we’ve come a long way in just five months. The key has been to plan ahead so dinner time doesn’t revert to processed food time. It’s still a struggle, but it gets a little easier each week.
Cheers to happy eating, and to having spring just around the corner.