Things That Are Trifling

Thoughts on Food, Gender, Race, and Popular Culture

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Sugar Washing

I’ve been getting riled up about food issues for about 12 years. First it was factory farming. Then it was industry lies about factory farming when people started to realize the jig was up. Then it was nonprofits. I was living in a world where everyone wanted to do this thing called “i-banking” and I was like um, yes, I bank, do you? (I didn’t get it). Then when entrepreneurs were like, I can start a nonprofit and make money at the same time while completely ignoring the broader issue of systemic oppression, I turned my attention to cause-marketing and the non-profit industrial complex. Then it was food paternalism. It’s still food paternalism, but more on that in a later post. For now, my target is sugar-sweetened beverages.

I’m tired of all this anti-soda talk coming from the public health community. If it’s not NYC, it’s some other state trying to restrict the food choices of low-income people by preventing them from buying soda with food stamps, in an effort to reduce obesity.

Everyone eats badly- obesity is rising everywhere, in every single country across the world, and the poor are supposed to have a better diet than the rest of us?

I heard something that the average american spends 40% of their income on food. Not the 10% figure that people talk about. The cheap food thing is a lie. But I digress.

But back to what really gets me riled up. Fruit juice. I loathe fruit juice. The conversation should stop being about soda, which everyone knows is bad for you, and focus on “healthy” foods that are *actually* bad for you but have been marketed to make people believe they are healthy and necessary to consume on a daily basis. Fruit juice is a sugar bomb.  It’s liquid candy with Vitamin C, that you can easily get from a variety of other sources.

If the public health community wants to get behind something to change in federal nutrition programs, frozen vegetables as part of the WIC package would be awesome in my opinion. Frozen fruit even. 

But more broadly, the solution is to regulate this type of marketing at the federal level. This marketing affects EVERYONE, and people eat foods that have sugar in ALL forms. I’m seeing the yogurt aisles being taken over by sugar-added yogurt. It’s hard to find a plain sometimes. More on that later.






Worst Breakfast Advice Ever

I came across this blog post this morning and I cannot believe that a registered dietician actually recommends this food.

Do you eat #breakfast every morning? 7 days of quick & #healthy breakfast ideas to keep you going.

While I agree that some breakfast is better than no breakfast at all (which leads to overeating later in the day), I am particularly concerned because basically everything that she suggests has added sugars or refined carbohydrates. Putting this stuff in your body at the start of the day, for many people, makes them ravenous by lunchtime (or by mid-morning); these meals spike your blood sugar and, I believe, screw up with insulin regulation. I’ve seen many studies that compared people who ate eggs or other high-protein, low-carb breakfasts with those who had the traditional cereal and juice, and the protein eaters reported feeling more satiated until lunch. And don’t get me started on the nutritional travesty that is juice. I know we grew up with it but that doesn’t mean this form of concentrated sugar is good for you. Eat the fruit!

Because this is how I roll, let’s break it down.

Moms and nutritionists all agree: Breakfast is vital for focus, energy, and stamina throughout the day. It’s your body’s first chance to refuel. When you miss nutrients at breakfast, they’re rarely made up for during the day, which starts a vicious cycle of eating a larger meal toward the end of the day and not being hungry for breakfast the next morning.

To get the nutrients you need first thing in the morning, focus on a blend of protein and carbohydrates at breakfast. Hearty carbohydrates will give you a boost of energy to jump-start your day, mixed with protein for the staying power to keep your body going strong over the next three to four hours until lunch.

If you’re not hungry first thing in the morning, start small. Try a piece of fruit or half a carton of yogurt. Get ready for work and pack a breakfast to eat later. Select grab-and-go items you can bring to work or school, and when hunger hits, pull out your breakfast.

A Week’s Worthy of Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Try a new breakfast menu this week. Here’s some inspiration:

Monday: Whole-grain, high-fiber cereal with diced bananas and low-fat milk or alternative milk

My thoughts: Many cereals use  words like “whole-grain” and “high-fiber” on their front-of-label packaging when they are actually just sugary crap in a box injected with inulin, which is fake fiber, and have some passing representation of whole grains. Bananas are high in potassium, but are super carby. And most cereal serving sizes & calorie counts posted on the side of the box are much smaller than what you would actually eat. Most people probably eat double the serving size. Finally, milk didn’t come out of the cow low in fat. Fat is good for you! What is the alternative here? This isn’t anywhere near as healthy as it looks.

Tuesday: A bagel with hummus or peanut butter and a piece of fresh fruit

My thoughts: Bagels have been known to be enormously larger than they once were, averaging 300 calories. Add 200 calories of peanut butter (are you really going to measure out the two tablespoons you should?)  Additionally, few bagels are made entirely with 100% whole wheat and most have at least some form of enriched flour in them.

Wednesday: A breakfast smoothie and hearty whole-grain muffin

My Thoughts: Breakfast smoothie…. for many is a recipe for sugar bomb. I hope nobody read this and thought “I should go to Jamba Juice”, unless they were in the mood for entering diabetic shock on their morning commute. Same as with bagels, muffin sizes have increased exponentially over the years. And nearly every muffin recipe I have seen, even if it’s gluten free, nut free, wheat free, whatever-free, is NOT sugar free, with the exception of the little rocks I have in my work freezer which have 4 packets of stevia in them and which I doubt any sane human besides me would actually want to eat on a regular basis. A kale smoothie and one of my rock-sunflower seed biscuits would be  a good alternative.

Thursday: Old-fashioned oats with dried fruit, sliced almonds and low-fat milk or alternative milk

My thoughts: The author must actually have eaten this breakfast on Thursday which prompted her to share as this is a relatively good idea. Also, she doesn’t mention oatmeal packets, which have tons of sugar in them. However, dried fruit in and of itself is often sugar-heavy. And again with the low-fat nonsense. At least the almonds have some fat.

Friday: A breakfast burrito with turkey sausage, diced peppers and tomatoes, shredded low-fat cheese, and salsa with 100 percent mango juice

Mango juice? at 27 carbs perserving? Please. And what is the tortilla made out of? My guess is that it’s a refined white flour tortilla.  The inside is good. How about turkey sausage, diced peppers, tomatoes, and cheese with some, oh I don’t know, EGGS?

Saturday: Low-fat yogurt with fruit and cereal

Saturday is the day that your hair falls out because you haven’t fed your body any nutritious fats all week.

Sunday: Frozen whole-grain waffle, toasted and topped with low-fat ricotta cheese and sliced strawberries

Sunday is the day that Kellogg’s sells you their bullshit about their “made with whole grains” waffle that’s probably 90% white flour, 10% whole wheat, and 100% bullshit good for you.

More Breakfast Ideas

Preparing a healthful breakfast is easier than you might think. Here are some tips and ideas to get you started:

  • Make mini loaves of pumpkin, apple, zucchini, or banana bread the night before, then serve with a breakfast smoothie.
  • Set out your bowls and cereal at night and you’ll be one step closer to eating breakfast the next morning.
  • Make a shopping list and purchase grab-and-go items at the grocery store, like individual cartons of pudding, fruit, applesauce, cottage cheese, raisins, oatmeal packets, string cheese, milk chugs, and granola bars. This is incredibly expensive and wasteful!
  • Buy bite-sized, whole-grain cereal.As opposed to giant-sized cereal? So I can eat it mindlessly out of the box? Good idea.
  • Keep whole-grain frozen waffles, bagels, and English muffins on hand. Earth to everyone: just because the package says whole grain on the front does NOT mean it is healthy! Trifling!
  • Make a yogurt parfait. Mix low-fat yogurt with crunchy granola, dried fruit, or nuts.
  • Top a pudding snack pack with 1/2 sliced banana and granola for a breakfast banana split. I just don’t like this one because pudding makes me gag. It also has artificial sweeteners and stabilizers in it. And granola serving sizes are like 2 flakes of oats. NO thanks.
  • Toast a waffle and top it with yogurt and a small sliced banana.
  • Serve canned fruit like pears or peaches with cottage cheese. Wow this is actually reasonable EXCEPT that canned fruit is often covered in oh, that’s right… heavy syrup.
  • Eat leftovers from the night before. Uh, what if your leftovers are cold shitty pizza? Or pasta? or some other terrible carb?
  • Create a breakfast smoothie. We’ve been over this.
  • Have a fruit pizza for breakfast. Hmmm… pizza…hmm…yeah no.
  • Toast leftover pancakes and spread with peanut butter. Better sell this one to IHOP, I see $$$ in the making.
  • Roll a tortilla wrap with diced avocados or low-fat shredded cheese. Uh, hope this isn’t meant to be eaten cold?!?!
  • Stuff a pita pocket with fruit salad. Ok,  this is just gross. I love soggy white refined bread in the morning.. Mmm..
  • Bake muffins or breakfast bars over the weekend or the night before. Freeze extras for future breakfasts. This is the type of advice that lures people into thinking that homemade food is good for them. No matter if you put sugar in it. Or chocolate. Or Icing. Or sugar. Or sugar… sugar.
  • Create a nontraditional breakfast like a homemade veggie pizza.
  • Take an apple and hard-boiled egg on the go with you. Oh, it finally got to her… the actual ONE GOOD, fast, easy, definitely healthy, whole-food, real breakfast on here. 

Fuel up, start the day right, and give breakfast a chance!

Benefit dinners

There is nothing more trifling than a benefit dinner for charity. The ultimate, however, are benefit dinners for hunger relief causes. Whether national or international, the point is to stuff your face to the point of no return to honor those who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Whether it is the “Empty Bowls” drive or the “Taste of the Nation” event coming to your city, or (my personal favorite) the sorority fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association selling you giant cookies during exam time.

I never understood the point of benefit dinner programs where corporate sponors pay to have a congratulatory message to the organization, the dinner honoree, or the cause. The point is that you get to dictate the terms of what the organization does right?

Trifling In The News

While I’m not sure how the content of the website will pan out, one thread I know I want to start is “Trifling In the News”.Edition 1:

Too Big to Fail, or Too Trifling for Oversight? (June 12, 2011)

Wherein the New York Times reports that businesses- hedge funds, insurance companies, etc- are hard at work lobbying Congress trying to prove that they are at no risk of fucking up the financial system circa 2008:

“What they are all hoping to avoid is being designated “systemically important” by a council of financial regulators. That would require them to face stricter federal oversight and keep more cash on hand, which they fear would erode profits.”

White men who screwed up the world, making sure that they can still make money, and won’t get in trouble should they cause another financial collapse. Even better- Barney Frank defends them (cause his state is full of them. Hey Barney, your state is probably also full of MORE people who were screwed during the financial collapse. But hurting constituents < corporate finance money, right?)

Was Trifling Used Correctly?
Not in this case. The actions of the insurers are what is trifling indeed. They are too trifling to NOT have oversight!

TTR (Today’s Trifling Report)

-Learning how to make a webpage about “Endangered koala’s”!-

-Learning how to embed images on website. Viz.

Business Cat is All Business

Gotta increase my google ranking!!!!!!!

If you can calculate how many miles it takes to burn these calories, your package is free!

I parodied the original email, which was an attempt to make money (I guess? Or maybe they were like me and trying to procrastinate too haha) by selling people something they could buy across the street at Tommy’s if they weren’t so lazy, but offer people door delivery and, well…nevermind. Just read it.
The Harvard College Democrats present…
buy them for yourselves and for your blockmates! packaged expensive crap never tasted so good!
Order by May 1 at 11:59PM
Delivered by May 3rd
Experience sugar high by 15 mins after consumption
The sugar crash and the hunger by mid-afternoon
two options:
option 1 – $5 – includes genetically modified corn, sugar, HFCS, FD&C No.40,  enriched wheat flour, and MSG (pop-tarts, fruit snacks, gum, popcorn, etc), easy mac, and ramen
option 2 – $10 – includes option 1 + dangeous chemical red bull + gift card to a greasy food joint in the square
(Don’t forget to click on the paypal link to pay!)

First Post

I am seeking to capitalize on the use of the word “trifling” to describe absurd things in this world. Read, and learn.

Fight diabetes with cookies!

From the annals of my undergraduate inbox.  My email commentary on said listserv blast.


Of course. Because selling calories, starch, fat, and oil as a way to ‘reduce stress’ will give proceeds to the cancer and diabetes society. MAKES A LOT OF SENSE. Emotional eating. yeah, that’s always helpful.

This is like selling meat with proceeds going to the national colon cancer prevention society.
also, LOVE the fact that sororities (that’s what this is basically) contribute to these random-ass national charities once a year and that’s their “community service”.
They should be selling FRUIT SMOOTHIES
**Disclaimer: I have not been to the gym since Tues. but I’m going TONIGHT!
———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: 2009/5/3
Subject: [Lowell-open] LAST DAY TO ORDER A BIG COOKIE!!!!
To: Lowell-Open <>

Stressed about the papers and final exams coming up?
Know a friend that has too much going on?

Delicious, homemade, personal-pizza sized cookies will be made for you or your friends by members of
*[Random Girls’ Finals Club full of women who would never actually eat said cookie]*

to ease the exam-period stress. Only $5! Order by Sunday, May 3rd.
Cookies will be chocolate chip with your choice of vanilla or chocolate frosting (or half and half!). Delivered to the door.
Order your cookies now and have them delivered the first week of reading period!
Just e-mail [person] with your order [name, chocolate or vanilla frosting, who you want it to be delivered to, their room number, optional message to be delivered with cookie]! And yes, if you were wondering, you CAN have a cookie (or 10) delivered to yourself!
Deliver your money to [mailbox] or email me to find a time so that I can pick it up.

All proceeds go to charity and are donated to the American Cancer Society and American Diabetes Association.

Hurry and get your order in today!


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