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Food Schizophrenia: Living in the “Real World”

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | Mar 30, 2011

I don’t live alone eating fabulous little organic snacks, with my re-useable eco-friendly grocery bag, from a health food store, wearing all-hemp clothing. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

I drive carpool in my SUV, and wore an Abercrombie t-shirt today, and forgot my re-useable bags so I stuffed groceries, unbagged, in my purse. And then, today, I worked the Snack Shack at my son’s baseball game. Serving hot dogs. Every varsity parent has to do a turn.

I really did that.

I stood at the end of the table covered with candy and stuff, fetching people Gatorade and hot chocolate and candy bars, signing a box of Green Smoothies Diet books in between customers, all while trying to see the baseball game. (Moms. We’re multi-taskers. We learn to live in snippets. You never really get to focus on anything.)

If you don’t think I took some heat for schlepping hot dogs, from the parents who were there who know me well, think again.

Jeff said, as he walked past, “People will wonder why the snack shack didn’t make any money today!”

Not true. The snack shack made a killing. I kept my thoughts of “Would you like Blue Dye Number 1 for Attention Deficit Disorder, or Red #40 for anaphylactic shock?” to myself. Instead I said, “Blue Gatorade or Purple?” I might think the thought, “Only a dollar for carcinogenic nitrites in a bun!” but what came out of my mouth was, “Would you like catsup and mustard on that?”

Someone said, “Are the hot dogs really really good?” I confess to saying, “I really don’t know. I haven’t had one since 1987.” (A mental censor stopped this thought from coming out of my mouth: “You mean ground chicken beaks and feathers?”)

Jeff also called me five minutes after he left and said, “You need to take a photo of you working in the snack shack. And send it to me.” So I did. Here it is for your enjoyment.

Right before I’d left for the game, I got a group email from my son’s church leader about the activity this week. He said, “It’s at 6 a.m., but don’t worry, because afterwards, we’ll feed the kids donuts and drop them off at school.” (He’s a DENTIST.)

I kept my mouth shut at the baseball game. But I confess that, to the church leader, I wrote an email saying that the activity requires that I have to choose between his physical health and his spiritual health. (I haven’t made up my mind whether to send him or not, but really? Donuts? If I ate a donut for breakfast, I’d feel sick for hours. Lard, white flour, sugar—that’s all it is.)

A father at the game asked what I was doing, signing books. His son, Scooter, is rather worshipped at Timp High School, and his older son Rhett led the baseball team a few years ago to a state championship. He thought my signing nutrition books while manning the candy table was a riot. He showed me his bag of caramel rice cakes and asked me if they qualified to clear my high bar.

I told him, “If you look at this table, I bet you can’t guess what my pick for WORST snack is.”

Here, I’ll tell you the options and you can guess. Laffy Taffy, Snickers, Hershey’s Chocolate, 3 Musketeers, Red Vines, Roasted Peanuts, Salted Nut Bar, Spitz Sunflower Seeds, Fruit Snacks.

He said, “Well, it’s not the peanuts.”


He guessed Laffy Taffy. Nope. (It’s awful, of course, but there’s even worse.)

It’s the Spitz Sunflower Seeds (Dill or Barbecue flavor). They’re full of MSG, a deadly neurotoxin. I’d take sugar, over that substance, any day.

My second-worst may also be a surprise to you. It’s fruit snacks. First ingredient, high fructose corn syrup. The very worst refined sweetener there is. (This is actually a ridiculous contest because all of those candies have corn syrup, Laffy Taffy has those awful food dyes….it’s a contest between terrible and awful.)

Posted in: Nutrition, Parenting, Standard American Diet

20 thoughts on “Food Schizophrenia: Living in the “Real World””

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  1. LoL! Now that’s funny! I would have been really biting my tongue too! Giggles… Love the not said thoughts, I’m always thankful that people can’t read my thoughts. Ahh…Thank you for sharing!

  2. Anonymous says:

    What kills me about this is people really don’t know what they’re doing to their bodies! It is so sad but they would be so offended if you let them know!

  3. Anonymous says:

    You know Robyn, I reckon people really don’t know how bad things are. That’s why what you do is so great.

  4. I almost fainted when I saw you standing holding onto those Gatorade bottles! That must have been hard to sell all of those poisonous things! Your post made me laugh…

    I love your program and have had so much fun incorporating it into my family’s life!


  5. Anonymous says:

    that is seriously awesome… it just let’s us know that you are living on our planet. i’m really surprised that you held back your comments. i totally would have said all those things and then kind of giggled.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I respect your enthusiasm for health. I try to eat mostly good, most of the time (we eat mostly vegan and sometimes will have fish and eggs at the house, outside of the house is fair game). But I’m with David (is that his first name?) Wolfe on this one. We can eat some pretty bad things when we’re kids due to the influence of others or our own weakness but we’ll survive and if we’re taught correctly will change our ways when we get older.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’ve now read this twice. Just too funny. I’ve sent the link to multiple people too. Keep up the good work!


  8. Anonymous says:

    wow – what a day!

    I would not be ok with my son getting a donut for breakfast either. Never. Send him with a homemade granola bar, or some smoothie in a thermos. Hopefully he’ll want that over the donuts his friends are eating that will impair there brains for the next several hours.

    I agree with what Anna said – the majority of people are ignorant on this matter. Yes they know candy isn’t “good” for you, but they don’t know exactly why. Bring up neurotoxins and inhibitors and their eyes glaze over.

    Thank you for being a part of my enlightenment/education towards good health, long life and vitality.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wow . . . It’s great you’re so dedicated to your health. I just found myself wondering what those of low income or more dire straights would think of your post. Clearly a “homemade granola bar” and “some smoothie in a thermos” as one commenter noted is a superior treat to a donut on a lot of levels, but most of the world (inside America and out) aren’t able to indulge—not because they’re fat-loving, high-fructose-guzzling sweet-tooths (sure, some people just love themselves a donut, but that’s not the point I’m making), but by and large healthy and especially organic food is currently quite a bit more expensive than the alternative. For many people, in order to eat, they must eat the type of food you’ve spent your post calling toxic waste in a variety of colorful ways.

    Again, I’m not saying that you’re wrong on any of your facts. It just might be something to keep in mind as you cavalierly mention “feathers and chicken beaks,” and your disgust at even being near this type of food, when to a lot of people a hotdog (or some other so-labeled food nightmare) is the only meal they’re likely to come by.

    Sorry to be the odd woman out, and I know you weren’t intending to offend anyone, but I thought it was something worth mentioning. In a more perfect world, healthy food would be less expensive/more readily available to everyone, as well as education on how to eat healthier on a minimal budget, but currently it simply isn’t. It seems worth bearing in mind that those who can reasonably live completely organic currently make up a very small percentage of the population.

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Yes, like I said at the beginning of this post, I leave less expensively than that as well and am not “completely organic.” However, NO ONE can afford to eat hot dogs. Cancer is expensive.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Someone once asked me how we can afford to eat fresh foods all year when they sometimes get so expensive. I tell them it is easy because I’m not buying meat, dairy, and sugar products, so that money goes to fresh foods. The only thing that really bothers me is the fact that no one puts out coupons for fresh foods, only for foods on the SAD diet!! Women at church like to talk about how much they save couponing, but when they tell me what they get it is all I can do to keep from screaming!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’m going to have to disagree with you there, Robyn. I think most people would take the possibility of health risks (even the possibility of cancer) down the road than take the certainty of chronic hunger or starvation (in the most dire situations) here and now (and I’m not just talking about hot dogs, I’m talking about all the types of less healthy food). Again, education is a big factor—but in some cases it comes down to someone with $50 a month they can spare for groceries. They may do their best to eat as healthy as possible, but when it comes down to keeping themselves or their child full, cheaper and less healthy food is going to be a significant part of the equation. All I’m saying is it might be nice not to make them feel bad about it.
    Anyway. Good info on other posts in your blog, and I’m looking forward to trying your smoothie recipes. A friend made us a great avocado smoothie the other day, and I was surprised how yummy it was.

  12. Anonymous says:

    …fine- I’ll give up laffy taffy’s. but isn’t yellow naturally yellow ?! 😉

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hey Noelle… it’s surprising to see these same people who “absolutely can’t afford” to eat more healthy many times with an HD satelite dish and the most expensive cable plan out there…. and on top of that a cell phone, no time to cook so they stop by and have fast food here and there which adds up to hundreds of dollars a month. I’m sorry, I don’t agree with YOU!!! It’s all about priorities. Yes, there are people who are destitute… but for people like that there’s help out there for them! From their church, government, etc. And for the rest I think it’s all about the sacrifice their not willing to make! I’ve heard it a dozen times. I personally would give up my $50 a month cell phone and $50 a month cable bill in a heartbeat if I couldn’t eat healthy! And I don’t buy all organic either. But the milk and eggs are worth it to me and in return I just don’t go shopping for myself! I wear the same clothes I’ve worn for years…. because I want to eat HEALTHY! Not being able to afford healthy food is just an excuse so many people use because they aren’t willing to make the sacrifice of time it takes to prepare it or give up their addiction to crappy foods! And that’s my two cents on the issue!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Noelle, after I pushed submit I realized I actually had more to say… Robyn does not need to filter what she says on HER OWN BLOG!!!! Don’t read it if you don’t like it! She’s right after all! And do you really think that all those destitute people who are really starving out there who can only afford hot dogs are searching around the internet for ways to be healthier when all they can worry about is survival??? No. And if they are, maybe they should cancel their internet plan… because even the cheapest of monthly internet services would buy a whole family at least 2 weeks of healthy vegetables! Did you ever think about that?

    I have learned SO MUCH from Robyn’s blog and hope she never filter’s a thing! We need these sources to learn from in our busy hectic lives where we are busy with little children and don’t have time to seek out all this information she gives here on our own!

    I think the real point worth noting is that it is SO SAD that our schools and societies, well… we, have accepted that crappy food as food! When in reality it doesn’t FEED our bodies at all. Our bodies just have to deal with it! Robyn is trying to teach us all how to REALLY FEED our bodies and it’s wonderful education and information! If we stopped buying those unhealthy treats at school functions they would have to find an alternative and that’s that.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Your site, your thoughts. You should not worry about “offending” anyone. Get over it people. Hotdogs are not great food. Cheap or not. I have eaten my fair share and I can honestly say I would rather not eat then eat those.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I know many people on very tight budgets who do eat healthy. Shop around, educate yourself, and make smart choices. Just because you’re poor does not mean you need to eat hot dogs or unhealthy junk food. There are always other healthier options. I could list several recipes that would almost cost about the same as your average package of hot dogs (which really is not going to fill up any kid for any decent amount of time anyways). We are losing our ability to actually choose what is healthy/affordable and how to cook it. I also know what it is like to be very poor (like nearly homeless) so I don’t want to hear about how I don’t know what it’s like to be “poor.” Sorry for being so blunt but really getting on someone for saying that hot dogs are a poor food choice is silly. We need to educuate people more on proper nutrition and how to make what they have go farther.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Well said, Shellie. I was thinking the exact same things… In the U.S. we’re always so worried about making someone feel bad. Well, this country nees to wake up about nutrition and we need more people to tell the truth, like Robyn does. And you are right… this is her own blog! Good grief.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I figured the comment would get backlash, and thought I’d check back . . . guess so! 🙂 Geez people . . . please feel free to reread my comments. I was perfectly civil, in fact if you’ll notice I complimented the blog a couple of times. (I especially liked the “this is HER OWN BLOG!” retort someone made.) Why do you think people have blogs, ladies? To share their opinions/information and get feedback. That’s what the “comment” feature is available. Not just for praise (although that is certainly part of what it’s for!) Just because my comment wasn’t agreeing with that particular post, doesn’t mean it was heinous of me to post it. So chillax, maybe? Ditto the “good grief.”
    P.S. I think a couple of you misunderstood me. I’m not a fan of hotdogs myself. That wasn’t the point anyway. Wait to sic the dogs (ha, get it?) on that issue until you get a “hotdogs are a superfood we should all enjoy daily!” comment.

  19. Anonymous says:

    PPS It isn’t particularly becoming to end every sentence in an exclamation point. Not singling anyone out . . . just saying . . .

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