Tuesday, June 21, 2011

10 Day Countdown

When I first got this idea, I thought July 1st was too late to start.  I couldn't wait.  I wanted to do it right now!  But with suddenly just ten days to go before I swear off all deconstructed corn products for a month, I realize how unprepared I still am. Where am I going to get pizza?  And Thai food?  And ice cream?  (Those questions are not rhetorical.  Please advise.)

But I suppose I should try to explain why I'm going to all of this trouble in the first place.  I guess it all started about a year ago when I read Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.  It made me think about corn in a whole new way.  The author devotes a big chunk of the story to analyzing just how much corn sneaks its way into our diet without our knowing it, both directly and indirectly.  Not only are we inundated with corn-based sugars and oils in just about everything we eat, but we're eating corn even when we're not.  Most factory-farmed cows, pigs, chickens, and even some fish (FISH!) are fed a diet that is made up largely of corn, and when they don't get the diverse array of nutrients that nature intended for them, neither do we, one step up the food chain.

Do you remember those TV commercials from a couple of years ago?  Like this one?
That basically said that if you think high fructose corn syrup is bad for you, you're an idiot?  Apparently someone does, because when I searched on YouTube just now, I easily found not only the original commercials, but  some very angry backlash to them (and a Saturday Night Live Spoof).  Those commercials market high fructose corn syrup as being "nutritionally the same as sugar".  Well if that's the case, why don't we just eat, ya know, sugar?  Why are we eating a sugar-like substance made in a lab from a plant that's perfectly good on its own in whole food form?

The answer to that wouldn't fit in one blog post, of course, but there's definitely something not right about the whole thing.  And yes, I know, if we all stopped buying anything with corn in it all of a sudden, then what's left of our rickety little economy would probably topple right over.  Not to mention, we'd all starve to death because there just isn't enough farm land to support the however-many billion of us the old fashioned way.  I'm not saying I have the answer.  Just the opposite in fact.  The more research I do for this project, the more I realize how much I don't know, and how complicated the issue of where and how we get our food really is.

I don't know what's going to happen on August 1st.  Whether I'll say "Thank God that's over" and run to Wendy's for a bacon cheeseburger and a Frosty, or whether I'll choose to stick it out a little longer, only time will tell.  What I do know is that I'm looking forward to the adventure; to learning things, discovering recipes, and meeting people I can't imagine yet.


  1. I gave up corn syrup for Lent senior year at Clark. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Dunno about corn oil etc. If you don't mind spending a bit more on food, it shouldn't be too hard.

  2. No problem! Just eat cereal for the whole month. Oh, wait. There's corn in EVERY cereal on the earth. Ok, how about beer? What? I've never heard of corn beer...what? They use it to make lighter, less filling beers? Well fuck this. If I can't have cereal & beer then I can't make my cereal beer balls that people are so crazy about. Why go on living?