Friday, March 26, 2010

Guilty Pleasure

Recently, I've become more invested in eating healthy, 'all-natural' food. The reason for my new-found inspiration comes, at least in part, from reading Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto.* In his book, Pollan discusses the numerous health problems attributed to a Western-based diet. He talks about the need to eat 'real food.' We should eat unprocessed food, food that actually comes from, well, nature. This point really hit home for me. He's right; products that contain chemical ingredients are not 'food.' Chemicals belong in a lab, not in what we eat.
I've been making an effort to eat organic, healthy foods. I've started eating more vegetables, and have been avoiding items that contain harmful chemicals and preservatives.

I'll be the first to admit, though, that I often fall short of the ideal when it comes to Pollan's philosophy. There are a number of super 'bad for you' products that I crave, and that, if given the chance, I will probably devour. Here are a few of my guilty pleasures:

Smucker's Magic Shell

Smucker's Magic Shell Ice Cream Topping, Chocolate Flavor, 7.25-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 12)

Definitely not what Pollan had in mind. In Elementary school, I tried Magic Shell at a friend's birthday party; it's been a guilty pleasure ever since. I love vanilla ice cream surrounded by a hard chocolate coating. Also, I've always thought that the product's gimmick was fun.

Dunkin' Donuts Munchkins:

I secretly love Munchkins. I know they have every imaginable bad chemical in them, but I can't help it. In spite of this guilty pleasure, I haven't been to Dunkin' Donuts in years. The last time I went was in high school. Back then, my friends and I would sneak out of school during lunch for DDT (Dunkin' Donuts Thursday).
Even though I haven't been to DD recently, I have had the opportunity to indulge this guilty pleasure. At work the other day, munchkins were offered at our staff meeting. Saying no would have been rude.


Though not the worst item one could consume, nachos certainly aren't a healthy choice. They have virtually no nutritional value. I had some at Jalapeno Heaven last week, but I prefer the ones I make at home. I make mine with Tostitos chips (processed, but preservative free) and lots of cheddar cheese. I serve them with a handsome portion of sour cream and Tabasco.

Assorted candies:

Raisinets Milk Chocolate, 3.5-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 18)M&M's Peanut Candy, 42-Ounce Packages (Pack of 2)Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, 1.5-Ounce Packages (Pack of 36)

Here are just a few unhealthy candies I enjoy. Processed sugar is bad for you in general, but these products also contain artificial flavors and dyes. Pictured above are peanut M&M's, Raisinets, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (perhaps my favorite).

How about you? Do you have any foods you love to eat, but know you probably shouldn't?

* If you're interested in learning more about the food you eat, I'd also recommend the documentary Food Inc. While the content may be disturbing, it, like Pollan's books, will change the way you look at food.


  1. No, rasinettes are healthy. They are fruit, nothing bad can be there!
    It is kind of scary to think how awful all the processed food is that we are surrounded by. It's truly dificult to eat "real" food because it is harder to obtain and twice as much in price. Anyone on a tight budget is doomed to eat these bad foods because we have created a world where it costs more to eat organically and locally.

    Ahhhh DDT, good times.....

  2. hmmm, favorite toxic treat? here's a partial list: doritos nacho cheeziers, cheese doodles, boxed macaroni and cheese (do you detect a pattern here?), toblerone candy bars, lay's potato chips, popeye's extra spicy fried chicken, pecan sandies, pepperidge farm tahiti cookies, ham and swiss sandwiches on rye with mayo, five guys fries, hershey bars with almonds, friendly's coleslaw, and last of all but not least--any middle eastern place's baklava!

  3. dang it! i forgot to mention chinese egg rolls slathered with agent orange "duck" sauce!