My last chocolate bar until August sits on my desk, taunting me, asking me if I really want to go through with this.
It’s all very exciting when I’m in the mindset for it, but what about when, like today, I’m just on my way home from renewing my parking permit and all I want is to get in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible so I can go home? That’s the attitude most of us have about grocery shopping, isn’t it? I mean sure, it can be fun if you’re shopping for a party, or ingredients for a new recipe, but just stocking up for a typical week? That’s what gives rise to that one-more-thing-on-my-errands-list feeling that I’m going to have to overcome if I’m going to make this work.
And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that’s a part of the experiment. As my favorite food guru, Michael Pollan, is quick to point out, far less time is devoted today to finding, preparing, and enjoying food than ever before in history. Maybe something that’s so basically essential to our survival deserves a little more of our time and consideration than we give it.
So I went to Whole Foods, knowing that finding corn-free products there wouldn’t be quite the needle-in-a-haystack search that it is at some of the more mainstream grocery stores. I know I can kiss frozen dinner goodbye, but I don't have time to cook up meat and vegetables every single night. There has to be a way to work something relatively quick and easy into this diet. Hasn’t there? What about spaghetti?
Whole Foods’ store-brand pasta is made up of, among other things, the following list:
· - Niacin
· -Thiamine mononitrate
· -Folic acid
No “oses”, that’s a relief. At least all of these things are (supposedly) good for you, but where do they come from? Spell-checker has drawn that angry red squiggle under the word “mononitrate”, suggesting that this list is more of a lesson in organic chemistry than it is a group of “whole foods.”
It would be nice to believe that all these wonderful nutrients are picked straight from the Nutrient Tree (there was one of those in the Garden of Eden, right?) and then hand-stirred into the pasta dough by a jolly old woman in Italy, but I owe it to the growing list of people who actually read this not to slack off on the details.
So, just to be safe, I spent the extra dollar fifty per box on the “100% Organic” Dellallo brand pasta, which consists of a single ingredient: organic durum wheat semolina, and when I got home, got out the old Sherlock Holmes hat and pipe to try and figure out where nutrients come from.
The answer was inconclusive. I won't bore you with the whole list, but in the case of niacin, for example, I learned that it's naturally occurring in many different foods, including corn (uh-oh) and wheat (so does that mean it's naturally occurring in the pasta? But if that were true, why did they list it separately?). It can also be synthesized from tryptophan, which is the stuff in turkey that gets the blame for making you drowsy at Thanksgiving.
So, what do you think? Do I put niacin on the blacklist just in case, or do we give it a pass?