Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Food Frustration

So I had a panic attack at the grocery store a couple weeks ago. With the possible exception of the night I was scuba diving and saw a 6' shark hanging out just below me, I've never had a panic attack before. My friend and I were just picking up some food to take hiking - simple sandwich foods and easy hiking food: peanut butter, jam, bread, apples, carrots, maybe some GORP. Should have been pretty easy, but it threw me into a tizzy - my heart started racing, I got disgusted with everything in the store and the room started spinning when I was faced with the brightly colored packaging all around me.

What's the problem? What freaked me out? It's pretty vague, but I've been working on figuring it out and one thing I've come up with is trans fats. I've known about trans fats and their deleterious health effects since about 1998. I've gone through periods of time where "no trans fats" was actually the major dietary rule that I followed. These days, it's not that hard to avoid these fats, but the first peanut butter we found was a conventional variety still containing partially hydrogenated something oil, which means chemically modified fat likely to contain the trans chemical orientation. Yuck - instant panic attack.

Well, I ate trans fat freely for more than 20 years of my life - I always loved Shedd's Spread Country Crock margarine on toast - so it seems a little crazy to get freaked out enough to have a panic attack about having a couple of peanut butter and jam sandwiches with questionable peanut butter. Maybe it's also about choice - I've worried about moving from my "liberal city home" to other places for fear of not having as much choice and variety of healthy food options available to me.

Hmm...guess that gives me some understanding of the Indian hotel proprietor who said he has to order all of his food online because there is no Indian market available in Monticello, Utah. Thank God for the Internet.

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