I want Just F***ing Food

Written by Chris Kanthan. Posted in Business, Healthcare

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Published on April 06, 2013 with 101 Comments


By Chris Kanthan

April 6, 2013

I was at a moderately priced Sushi restaurant a few weeks ago. While I was going through the menu, I saw that they had crab. When the waitress came by, I asked her if it was real crab.

She smiled coyly, and informed me, “It is imitation crab.”

“How come it doesn’t say ‘imitation’ on the menu?” I was puzzled.

“If it was real, we would say ‘Not imitation.’”

“Logical enough. So this is fake crab. Can I pay with fake money?”

She turned cold. “Counterfeit money is illegal, sir.”

I got it. Two lessons learned: One, fake food is legal, but fake money is not. Second, fake food is the default — if it’s real, they will tell us.

The next day, as if by Laws of Attraction, I read an article that said 84 percent of white tuna in sushi restaurants is actually escolar, the snake mackerel fish that causes – sorry for being graphic – oily anal leakage, and was banned by the FDA until 1992. It is still banned in Japan, Italy, and requires warning labels regarding the leaky discharge in Canada, Sweden and Denmark.

And it’s not just fish. Fakeness has become epidemic.

More than 75 percent of honey in the supermarket is not even honey. Just corn syrup, mixed with some chemicals that smell and taste like honey.

I started buying organic honey a while ago, and I could tell it tasted wonderful and different. But guess what? Soon I learned that the term “organic” can be applied to something that is only 75 percent organic. So what I should be looking for is “100% Organic.” Preferably, “USDA certified”. And just when I thought I had found the perfect honey, my friend brought me back to reality saying, “What you also need to look for is the phrase “raw and unfiltered”. And “pure” might be another good word as well.”

If you just get olive oil, you are in for a big surprise. What you need is Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil. (I wonder if the Bible describes Mary as “Extra Virgin”?)

So there are all kinds of adjectives we need to memorize and remember, if we want to get good, real food.

Salmon? Did you make sure it is ‘Wild’, or at least ‘Responsibly Farm Raised with no Antibiotics, or Hormones’? If you get chicken or beef, make sure it is organic. ‘Natural’ doesn’t mean anything these days. And verify the ratings of how the animals were raised. Sometimes it is good to have lower numbers, and sometimes you need to look for higher numbers.

Eggs? Regular eggs are from tormented, sick chickens. And I used to think ‘cage free’ was awesome. Nope. It doesn’t really mean much, in spite of the heart-warming pictures of happy chickens they have on the cartons. So, organic eggs are much better. But, really, you have to get ‘100% USDA certified organic pastured eggs.’

If you are at a fancy restaurant, they will have beef from ‘grass-fed cows.’ Wow, what a concept. Cows have been eating grass since the days of dinosaurs, but now it’s a high-priced novelty! (To be fair, I didn’t do any research on the evolutionary origin of cows).

You like chocolate? Get organic. And also, look for the “Fair Trade” logo. Otherwise, it could be from Africa where big corporations like Nestle make nine year old girls work in cocoa fields for fourteen hours a day.

Of course, always look for anything that says there is no genetically modified stuff. ‘No GMO’, ‘Non-GMO’ etcetera are good things to see on labels.

This is crazy! Everything is upside down. Real things should not need adjectives. Altered and fake things should need adjectives.

We should not need an Excel sheet to remember every damn set of adjectives for every single thing we eat or buy.

It’s time to shift the burden to the industry that profits from fake food. Let them have an asterisk next to everything that is not real, and in a box below, let them explain how the real thing has been altered. Let them say ‘filtered, heated, processed, 90% GMO corn syrup honey.’ Chocolate should be marked ‘involves pesticide, child labor, and unfair trade.’ And, of course, imitation crab will no longer be called crab.

Everything real should just be known by its real name. Absence of adjectives should be a good thing.

On the other hand, if the marketing gurus at the food industry really need to have an adjective, here is one: JFF—Just F***ing Food TM. And call me first, please. I have it trademarked.

Chris Kanthan

Chris Kanthan

Chris Kanthan has degrees in Physics and Engineering with a minor in Economics. And, just for fun, a diploma in Paralegal. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, has traveled to more than 30 countries, and deeply cares about politics, finance and food. He has also written an e-book titled "Deconstructing Monsanto" that is available on iTunes, Amazon.com and Smashwords.com. He can be reached at chrisk2000@yahoo.com.

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  1. Very
    interesting… but unfortunately we live in a society where the only
    thing that counts is making money… not keeping healthy…. so we have
    to be all eyes, we can no longer trust what’s written on labels, we have
    to look for what’s really in what we eat….. that’s a real shame…. What’s surprising is that WE have the power to change that, provided that we all boycott these fake – even poisonous – so-called food because this is no longer something we can call food… as we don’t even know the damages it’s causing…….. anyway, the only thing we can do to make big corporations change in the right way is to boycott them…. they don’t care about our health…. they only care about their money… so let’s play their game…. let’s make them lose money….and at the same time watch our health….

    Nad (from France)

    • You are right, Nad. We have the power to shape our future. If we change the hearts and minds of enough people, we can defeat or change the corporations

    {Godamnit, sure a lot of FogCity Food Fetishists out there} Just a reminder of where Prop37 came from:- http://www.labelgmos.org
    This is kinda related, but I know many FCJ afficionados are ‘interested’ in the subject. There is a lot of proposed marijuana legislation out there. My primary interest is in it’s medicinal potential, but if you value your bud for recreational use I suggest you also pay attention. There is a need for some kind of oversight to ensure efficacy, safety, access, affordability for patients in need, however ‘legislation’ and over regulation will inevitably lead to a situation where the Feds, BigPharma, BigAg and avaricious middle-men will monopolise and control the market, this will not be in the best interests of patients or the public. The Feds have already issued patents for ‘cannabis medications’ created in the lab, the first over 10 years ago; which raises the question why is marijuana still categorised as a Schedule1 drug – no medicinal value; those of us working in the health care field are familiar with the first of these frankenmeds, Marinol, the major benefit of which is to generate profit for the manufacturer. Sativex is next and the floodgates will soon open and we’ll be drowned in phony pot. There is one piece of legislation that does make sense and in my opinion is the logical, sensible first step to take. It has been introduced by Rep Dana Rohrabacher, H.R.1523. At least it might give us the illusion of some ‘local’ control. I hope one of the following links will work, if not then check my FaceBook page or do your own research. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.
    Patrick Monk.RN. Noe Valley. SF. Ca.

  3. I’ve had “fake foods” on my radar for awhile but you really opened my eyes. I’m dismayed and frankly depressed that grocery shopping requires so much time and energy not to mention money. Fortunately I live in an area (Portland, OR) where there is a lot of choice.

    • Thank you, Ursula. Portland is a beautiful city with friendly and socially/environmentally conscious people!

  4. Well said.

    • Thanks Benicio

  5. Thank you for sharing! I feel the same way! It sucks too because it is very expensive. The organic fair trade cocoa powder I buy is a small container and it $13.00! It is a luxury for sure. I appreciate your article and do not feel alone in this battle. Sometimes, it feels that way in the small southern town I live in and very limited health stores.

    • Thank you, Liz. I have seen some good deals on Amazon for real chocolate/cocoa. If enough of us say NO to unfair trade, child labor, and synthetic pesticides, corporations will change their ways. They need us more than we need them!

  6. I like the JFF trade mark. I personally try to eat JFF, but I disagree with a few points. First of all, GMO has been thoroughly backed by the scientific community as having no different dangers than either organic or conventional crops. Sullying their name is akin to killing third world starving and nutrient deficient people– because you are. http://www.goldenrice.org is a good example. Also, it would be nice to see some sort of citations if you have the time.

    But good post, reminds of of a Dylan song :”now everything’s a little upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped. What’s good is bad, what’s bad is good, you’ll find out when you reach the top– you’re on the bottom.” Song is ‘idiot wind’ and is an attack on lack of common sense.

    • Mark, people in India are using organic methods to break world records of rice yield. Check this out: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/feb/16/india-rice-farmers-revolution

    • First, it was found that organic food and non organic crops yield the same amount. Article was in NYTimes around last month.

      Second article, a little older, (two months?) found there was an increase of (30% (40%?) of Asthma and Allergies over a ten year period with GMO food. This was a substantiated an earlier study done in Norway. (Whose scientific community has surpassed the American for a decade or two now. Oh, America, how far have we fallen!?!?)

  7. Well Said!!!!! I grew up eating grass fed (right off our pastures) beef, and we recieved our honey from the local tree farmer, who needed a place to keep those bees when the trees weren’t blossoming. Now, I’ve moved away from my parents, and live in the corn/soybean belt of the US (my husband is a corn/soybean farmer, but my theory is not all tobacco farmers smoke, so we can shop Whole Foods, and buy non-gmo seeds for our garden). Now I get my Grass Fed Beef from our neighbors, who also sell at Farmers Markets In Omaha, and their cows eat the pasture around their house. I get my honey from a local bee keeper, and I know it’s real, it is nonpourable if it’s too cool in the house. And peopel around here think I’m a food snob… No, I just want real food, food that’s as close to being living as possible… my body can’t handle stuff that wasn’t designed for it, on a regular basis. I’m not a food snob, I want real, pure food. I want food that’s Food, not food that’s Manufactured. Oh, as for Eggs, when my chickens aren’t on strike, I get them from those free loaders that live in our pasture, and barn 🙂 Real Eggs.

    • Sounds wonderful, Jillian! It’s interesting how some people take care of their inanimate objects very carefully, whether it’s their car or their iPhone, but if you want to eat real food, you are a snob!

  8. This article made me laugh. So true!

    • Thank you, MJ

  9. Love the article! It is a shame that this country is so far behind when it comes to labeling. I do not understand why it seem so difficult to give us REAL food!! I would love to have JFF without having to read every F%$@ing label!!

    • Thank you, Arlene. A lot of it is due to our misguided agricultural subsidy policies. If we subsidize real vegetables and fruits, we wouldn’t have a whole industry of junk food based on genetically modified corn and soy

  10. And did you know that “Alaska” is an adjective. Turn over that package of “Alaska Salmon” and see if it is from China. My supermarket claims this is not misleading because “Alaska is an adjective.”

    • Farm raising sick fish in crowded conditions, giving them antibiotics and hormones…it’s quite horrible. But they always have nice packaging that make everything seem all right

  11. Chris! Thank you! We need more people like you. Will you join the March Against Monsanto. We need educated individuals who are willing to speak on such subjects. I am organizing the one in New Paltz, NY, but you can join the one in your area on May 25 th, if you would like.

    • Thank you, Beth. I am definitely planning on going to the March

  12. Wow, this was such an eye-opener. And here I thought buying cage-free eggs was worthwhile. LOVED your comment about paying the restaurant bill with fake money.

    • Thank you, Dina

  13. Well said. This is one of the reasons why I grow as much as I can on my own. Drying, freezing, preserving, canning helps to stretch it out over the year. Going to the suppliers and meeting your farmer also helps you to know exactly where much your food comes from and what’s in it.

    • Great ideas, John. People in large cities have become very disconnected to food and nature. We all need to raise the awareness

  14. I’ll take my food sans genetic modification which means that I don’t want pesticide engineered into every cell. Food should nourish not kill organisms that eat. GMOs are designed and engineered with lethality as their primary feature.

    • Agree

  15. Thank You! This was well written and educational! I greatly appreciate the knowledge you passed to us. Cheers!

    • Thank you, Sasha. Appreciate it!

  16. Here is the link http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/29/100-percent-orange-juice-artificial_n_913395.html it’s worth while reading as you will never buy store bought juice again

  17. Fresh orange juice unless its squeezed in front of you is not fresh. Tons of oranges go to a juicing plant were they are pulverized, the juice is stored in gigantic vats, all oxygen is extracted from the vats as no oxygen in the juice can preserve it for a year or so. When juice companies like Doyle place an order for so many cartons, X amount of gallons is extracted from these vats into a separate vat where Doyle or similar juice companies add designed taste created by their chemists.
    Full article was in Huffington Post about a year ago.

    • All in the name of shelf-life and profit. Thanks for the article, David

    Just a reminder.
    All love to Pamm Larry.

  19. OMG, a liberal that I agree with!But keep the government out of our food supply. Anything they become involved with, they mess up. Signed a goat farmer who makes cheese, raises chickens, cattle, and a garden and stays home, working, it on the weekends.

    • Liberals and conservatives have quite similar physiology! We all need the same nourishing food.

  20. Kudos! I’m a diabetic and have been trying to figure this out for the past year! And the sad part is that I still don’t have it all down. Seriously it shouldn’t take anyone 1+ years to figure out what’s in their food. A few months ago I purchased coconut oil, a few months later I found out I should have purchased cold pressed EV coconut oil…ay ay ay completely nutty!

    • Thank you, Sandy. You can try “neem” leaf powder and see if it works for you. It has been shown to act like a natural insulin and help control sugar levels