Consuming deviled eggs for survival

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

There's no better time than the day before Thanksgiving -- the fattiest holiday of them all -- to talk about Americans' food-related insanity.

I'll admit, I'm part of the problem. There's a terrible hoarding instinct I must battle at all times. It's what tells me to take three deviled eggs, because if I just take one, the other 200 might be gone by the time I get back.

It's what causes me to keep accepting free, piping-hot restaurant breadsticks I don't even want.

There was a great article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch several months ago explaining why that is: It's the human survival instinct.

Our species has survived centuries of want. During those times, most people didn't know when they'd eat their next meal, so they packed in as much fatty food as they could hold.

Today, food is available every minute of the day. It's in your refrigerator and pantry at home. It's available at a drive-through window on your way to work. It's in the vending machine in the company lounge. It's inside the gas station where you fill up your tank. It's delivered to your door for dinner.

So we've got a nation where more people could lose a few pounds than couldn't. And America's overweight majority is looking for a way to shake off that cellulite.

Which is probably why those KFC television commercials caught my eye.

My favorite: A man walks up to his friend. His friend is stuffing his mouth with fried chicken. The man tells his friend that he looks great and asks how his friend improved so much.

"Eatin' chicken," his friend replies.

The man then looks perplexed, as well he should. Most of us are unaccustomed to seeing people who recently have improved their appearance sitting on the tailgates of their trucks and stuffing fried chicken into their mouths as quickly as possible.

A KFC spokeswoman told the Associated Press last week that the ad campaign was being discontinued in the "normal course of business," but a public interest group had filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about the commercials, claiming they were misleading.

That's not entirely fair. One of the ads explains you have to pull the skin off a fried chicken breast to make it healthy, and that's true. My mom, a former diet counselor, used to do that very thing.

Then I would eat her fried chicken skin and any other fried chicken skin provided to me. EEeewwww! (Oh, who am I kidding. I'd probably still do it.)

Because of our nation's food craziness, hardly anybody will be willing to peel the chicken skin off to lose weight. But how about give up apples?

That's right. I've been reading several articles lately warning about the high number of carbohydrates in apples. If you don't believe it, Google "apple carbohydrates."

Just as you won't find a skinny person stuffing herself with too many fried chicken pieces, you won't find a fat person stuffing herself with too many apples. I've consumed a fair number of apples in my day -- many of them covered in peanut butter or caramel -- but I've never stood in my kitchen and thought, "Wow. I really deserve to treat myself today. I know! I'll have a shiny red apple!"

So it's time to fight against our human instinct and stop being crazy when it comes to food.

But we'll have to do that starting Friday. I've got some deviled eggs to hoard.

Heidi Hall is managing editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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