NOOOOOOOOO!

I just had a horrible realization.

I’m talking “Luke realizes Vader is his father and screams” horrible realization.

You see, as a kid, I always baffled my family – and my pediatrician. I didn’t really blanch at taking NyQuil, although I’d pitch a fit at Robitussin. No one could figure it out,… until now.

As an adult who had done adult things and was thus rewarding herself for being an adult (trust me, this is a big deal), I decided to make a rootbeer cocktail for lunch. Mmm alcoholic rootbeer and nachos! What could go wrong?

Well, skipping over the whole carbonated water proving it was carbonated by exploding all over me, both cats, and the kitchen, what went wrong was this: I realized that rootbeer? True, genuine, close-to-original recipe rootbeer?

Tastes like NyQuil.

Now! Hear me out! This was more than sipping my rootbeer alcohol and fizzy water while looking at the NyQuil bottle and realizing they tasted indistinguishable! Oh no! I also immediately, upon realization, opened up the two original-y sarsparillas I had in my fridge, as well as a cane sugar rootbeer.

They all taste, vaguely, and to various degrees, like NyQuil.

Damnit.

(Apologies to those who see this twice, but it was too funny to not post publicly.)

Have Your Sleep & Eat It, Too

I have insomnia. (Thus explaining the time this is being posted.) It comes and goes, as insomnia is wont to do, and I’ve apparently been in an upswing period of late. A friend of mine on the other coast, who blogs over at Geek Girls Rule, is also plagued by insomnia, and sometimes I think we trade off on who has to be awake in some sort of cosmic balance. We’re defenders of the night, each taking shifts to maintain vigil over the sleeping world, in case… well, I’m not sure in case of what, being that about the only weapons Mickey and I have are awesome racks and rapier wits, neither of which are likely to save the world from imminent destruction. But, I digress, which is common when I’m tired.

If certain dessert-makers have their way, Mickey and I, along with the rest of the Sleep is for the Weak Not Cranky club really will be able to have our sleep and eat it, too. It seems that the latest fad is melatonin baked into pastries, sort of a pot brownies for the convenience store crowd.

In an article of concepts that jumped out and did a samba for attention, the Len Goodman-pleasing number was the idea that the makers of these baked goods label them as “not for food use.” This appears to be the way that Lazy Cakes, Kush Cakes, and Lulla Pies (all rotten tomato worthy puns) get around FDA labeling laws. You see, while using melatonin as an additive in food would be regulated under federal law (and likely not allowed), dietary supplements don’t need what’s known as FDA premarket approval, and (more importantly) are not required to be proven safe or effective.

So regardless of the fact that we’re talking a sugary Ho-Ho hopped up on a neurohormone, it’s perfectly fine so long as it’s a diet modifier, and not so fine if it’s just part of the diet.

It’s this kind of splitting of hairs that drives people batty – and leads to the odd regulatory issue where it’s better (at least cheaper) for a company to attempt the “dietary supplement” route and change if forced to, than to start out following the rules in the first place. It is, in other words, a bandwagon-seeking food manufacturer’s version of the choice to ask permission or to say sorry.

Much like the toddler who has figured out that if you say you’re sorry rather than ask permission, you at least get to do what you want, these companies know that it is both cheaper and more profitable to sell your food as a dietary supplement and hope to fly under the radar than it is to play by the rules in the first place.

It’s a broken system, and one that can cause harm to the people who don’t realize how unsafe what they’re taking could be – the lack of regulation in the dietary and herbal supplements market is extremely concerning. The solution here is simple: make it much, much more costly to ask forgiveness after action, and reward those who ask for permission first.

The Unhealthiest City Has an Unhealthy Attitude

Jamie Oliver took a lot of abuse from locals when filming this show. It was amazing, and sad – people were arguing that they weren’t going to let a poncy Brit come in and tell them they couldn’t eat their good, wholesome, traditional foods. I was following the entire thing as it filmed, both via Jamie’s Twitter account, the tweets of locals expressing their outrage, and other media outlets where locals vented. I think the best thing I heard (with best being very loosely defined) was that Jamie was trying to force British food on people, and take away their all-American cuisine.

Newsflash: deep fried food is not all-American, nor is it healthy to eat at every meal.

Look, I’m a good gamer geek. I have done pizza for breakfast as much, if not more, than most (especially when I worked in software). But I’m not about to argue that deep dish pizza is a great breakfast every day. And that’s what really got me in this video clip – not the kid mistaking a tomato for a potato, or anything else. It was the deep-seated belief that it was tasty food, it was “traditional” food (how boxed food is a tradition, I won’t begin to contemplate), and that it was their food, so there was no way it was bad for them. The denial was, quite simply, amazing.

Somewhere, somehow, people got the idea that if it’s sold, it’s good for them, and therefore it’s okay to eat. (That many of these people are violently opposed to health care where the government tells them how to take care of themselves is just sad irony, given that they seem to have placed their full faith in the government to protect the food system – something that it does not do, and in fact barely even regulates.)

Michael Pollan has argued that we have become removed from our food traditions, and that what we eat today is food that our grandparents and great-grandparents wouldn’t recognize. Huntington appears to be a perfect example of this disconnect from food, health, and how we eat.