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Do you live with Chow Police? Do you sneak forbidden food?

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  • S U Oct 17, 2006 11:44 PM
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Some of these topics on the board got me thinking... I crave a lot of stuff these days because I can't eat them -- at least my Dr. says to stay away after test results revealed type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Living with my family keeps me in line in terms of eating healthy because I'm usually too busy to cook myself and my folks only cook "diet" food. I attempted to cook several times a month and introduce REAL food into the mix, but the Chow Police promptly tossed anything "unhealthy". I know the usual cooks are trying really hard to make the food tasty, but every day I find myself musing on the perfect scheme to sneak forbidden foods. I don't get to do this often because I'm so busy (last time it was a clandestine visit to KFC, and that was over a month ago).

I miss the days of living alone and making my own rules -- but that is what got me those test results. Now I get home to dinner being prepared by the Chow Police and attempt to enjoy it because I know its good for me. But I end up in front of the TV salivating at the food commercials. My only consolation: I am saving up the $$ and trying to better my health so someday I can enjoy living a life of chowishness without worry.

But still... I dream of all the meals and foods being discussed on these boards. I know there are a lot of vegetarian/healthy options on menus these days, but those things just don't cut it for me. And for those who might respond along the lines of "once in a while does not affect blood sugar/cholesterol/weight" -- it does for me. I'm 5' 2", 140 lbs., and visit the gym at least 4x a week -- but every time I sneak food or dine out, it shows in test results and in the scale over the next few days.

I just wonder if other Chowhounds are also fighting this battle...

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  1. Reminds me of a guy I used to work with with similar health issues, who used to buy cheeses at the local gourmet shop, put them under the hood of his car to bring them to room temp and then would eat them while pulled over on the side of the road.

    1. I am just wondering what food commercial make you salivating ? I can't remember a single food commercial which might convince me to go to one of the advertized places (especially when you mention something horrible tasting as KFC).
      And I think you connect healthy food to tasteless food which I think is absolutely not true. Healthy food doesn't have to be meat free or tasteless. It is more an issue of quality over quantity. It is not necessary to avoid fat, sugar etc. It is critical to watch the amounts you eating.
      Since you are mentioning "REAL" food. What is real food for you ?

      9 Replies
      1. re: honkman

        A few months ago, I tried cooking a "real food" meal: broiled salmon fillet w/ mango-salsa dressing. The chow police claimed there is too much mercury in certain fish as well as omega 3, so most of it got tossed. I did not drown the fish in oil/butter; actually I don't think I used any (and only a pinch of salt and pepper) and the salsa was basically diced mango, tomatoes, onions, garlic, parsley, cilantro, everything fresh. Compare this meal with the usual "diet" food: last night my dinner consisted of 2 squares (2"x2"x 1/2" thick) of 5-spice tofu (extra firm), one hard boiled egg, a plate of plain lettuce w/ 1/4 of an avocado, a tomato, cucumber slices, a non-dressed seaweed & kelp salad, and dessert was a handful of longan fruit. I know, great variety and there was protein, but it just doesn't cut it.

        1. re: S U

          I'm so sorry...that must have been a terribly unsastisfying meal.

          1. re: S U

            It really looks like that your main issue is to educate your family what healthy food means. I don't see any problems with your salmon (as long you didn't try to broil the whole 20 kg salmon). And the BS about mercury is just not true.
            And yes, if I would have similar problems with my family I would also go from time to time to a good restaurant without them.

            1. re: honkman

              The chow police need to get their facts straight and then you need to teach them how to cook or just don't eat at home.

              The issue with salmon is not mercury but PCB's which actually persist longer in the body. The media got all excited about it a couple of years ago when it was found that farmed salmon from the NW had extremely high levels of PCB's. What's interesting is I haven't read any updates on that subject in the news.

              Tuna is the mercury danger zone and periodically you'll read news stories about that, the latest favorite of mine being the LA Times story where they ran tests on tuna sushi from various sushi joints in the Southland and found that they often exceeded the mandated limits or something like that. Lest yo uthink it's just in sushi, canned tuna has also been tested w/ high levels of mercury before but not always IIRC.

              All fish are going to be somewhat polluted since we put all kinds of junk in the water but if you stick to smaller fish you should be fine. Small mackerel are perfect because they're high in omega-3 oils and they're smaller=less polluted. I love salt grilled mackerel.

              Lest you think it's just fish, beef/chicken and pork also have their own problems. if you have high cholesterol the only animal i would suggest eating is mackerel or other small, oily fish but that's just me. I had to be chow police for a loved one and believe me it was painful to make all those changes but we successfully reduced the cholesterol by 100 points and raised the HDL so chow police are not always a bad thing. however, I don't serve my family the kind of crap you've been forced to eat. My condolences.

              --oh yeah i forgot about swordfish, king mackerel, and i think tilefish as other fish bandied about as mercury risks. Interestingly there was an article i read this morning that basically tries to convince the reader that fish is too healthy for people not to eat, blah blah.
              http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/na...

              1. re: choctastic

                Man o Man this is like the Chow Police morphing to chicken little. If I believed every test result that is reported in the press, I would be eating Dog Food. You gotta lighten up on the fear factor and enjoy life a little more. I am waiting for a study that says that a bacon cheeseburger cooked rare with fried onions on a roll cures all forms of disease.

                1. re: jfood

                  Don't hold your breath.

                  It's really too bad that my post was taken as being a hysterical one. I was just trying to make clear that salmon is mercury culprit and that tuna is more well known for that. I guess people stop reading after the first sentence because I did mention that I do eat fish and that a recent article came out sayhing that eating fish is a good thing.

                  1. re: choctastic

                    Choctastic (love the handle) I did read the whole thing the first time and went back again just now.

                    Joining salmon and tuna under the bus in your post were -

                    1 - "swordfish, king mackerel, and i think tilefish as other fish bandied about as mercury risks"
                    2 - "Lest you think it's just fish, beef/chicken and pork also have their own problems."
                    3 - "All fish are going to be somewhat polluted since we put all kinds of junk in the water"

                    So we can't eat chicken, beef, pork and all fish with the small carve-out for small mackerel. And the article cross-referenced had the lead-in "bla blah" so you were not giving a lot of credence to that one, I guess.

                    Think you may want to go back and re-read.

                    Not trying to be a flame, but if you think that certain foods may help the OP would love to hear and I'm sure the OP is looking for advice from everyone who can help his situation.

                    1. re: jfood

                      The point I was trying to make was: if chowpolice are afraid of something they shouldn't throw out stuff unless they know exactly what they're afraid of. Seems to me they're chucking the OP's food without having researched the issue.

                      And also I mentioned that pretty much everything is polluted by one thing or another because if chow police are going to chuck the salmon they might as well chuck everything else as well. also later on OP mentioned that the possibly burned edges were maybe carcinogenic...

                      at this point i have more of a question about the chow police's waste of food than of the apparently inedible food they are actually serving.

                      actually why stop here. the chow police (if they had done their homework) would have known that some studies show problems with eating some soy products, for intance there was one I remember on tofu. Oh and of course we know that there's e. coli in the spinach (or there was) and pesticides in the fruit and veggies.... it could go on and on.

                      I'm not sure why I even bother when people are content to just twist my words to suit them...

                  2. re: jfood

                    HAHA! Great post, jfood! (ok, damn...I posted this in the wrong place. Meant to respond to jfood's post about 'waiting for a study that says that a bacon cheeseburger cooked rare with fried onions on a roll cures all forms of disease.' anyway, thanks for the laugh!)

          2. I can sympathize, while not an issue for me so much, it is for my brother. He has found that "extreme moderation" (really small amounts not very often) in the eating of foods not good for him works. Best of luck.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ptrefler

              Don't the Geneva Conventions cover abuse like the meal they served you?
              I think what you prepared was healthier and ever so much more appealing. And everythng was fresh!
              NBC News reported tonight that those mercury scare stories were misinterpreted and most peole can safely eat fish 3 or 4 times a week.

            2. My husband is kinda of a chowpolice. We eat pretty healthy foods, and for the most part I agree with him when he spouts off about some unhealthy choices. But I don't let him dictate what I eat. If I want something I will get it, I don't hide anything from him. I just won't expect him to join me and that's fine. If he had his druthers we would eat nothing but vegetables at every meal. My son and I like our meat but I respect that my H. doesn't necessarily want that, so I compromise. And when he is not eating with us, my son and I grill some steaks. I know he is just trying to watch out for us, like I said, I agree mostly with his thoughts. But dangit....when I want some ice cream, I will buy it and eat it!

              1. Your story reminds me of The Cosby Show when Claire used to make Cliff eat healthy foods, but he always had a sub sandwich or potato chips stuffed up the chimney!!

                1. I have low cholesterol and low/average blood sugar so I AM the chow police. I keep DH from OD'ing on fried chicken wings, chocolate with everything and vast servings of meat. When my late mother visited, she wasn't allowed to have sugar because of her diabetes. She didn't realize how strict a no-sugar diet could be. By the time she left after 6 weeks, her blood sugar was absolutely normal but she told everyone what a cruel daughter I was.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cheryl_h

                    I have a similar story... My mom had respiratory issues since childhood but lived a fairly normal life up to the last five years of her life. I moved home to NY for the last year of that and took care of her. It was a running joke that I was a cruel, cruel daughter but thought I could make her quality of life better if I acted like the CHOW POLICE. I forced her to drink more water that she ever did, cut out food items that were thought to exacerbate her problems or were just "bad" for you, etc. I learned too late that it did not matter and what would the harm have been to let her have her pizza or ice cream or ?? if it made her happy.

                    I am not a fan of chow police, judgemental people irk me and I believe if you put your mind to it, you can help yourself, even in baby steps. The only one I police now (lovingly) is my DH who has gained almost as much weight as me in my pregnancy. LOL

                    For the OP, perhaps you can educate your family about "healthy food" and share it together. I agree with the sentiment below that KFC ain't worth it... do the right thing for yourself and it will pay off!

                  2. First my heart goes out to you for your ailments and apologize for my colleague who make light of Type 2 Diabetes and High Cholesterol. First thing you GOTTA do is forget about the things you can not eat, no sat fats, sugar, etc. Second, forget about all those claims about this fish has this and that fish has that, EAT FISH. Third, chicken without skin is fantastic. Vinegar based sauces will become your friend. Egg white omelettes with low fat cheese and peppers and onions is great, learn to eat whole wheat pastas and look to your new eating habits as a challenge to learn more about food.

                    KFC ain't worth to those of us who are able to eat it.

                    Move on to the next phase and enjoy your family and try to work it out as a group. It ain't easy but the alternative is worse.

                    GO GET 'EM S_U!!!!!!

                    1. Thanks all for the commiseration... and jfood, they really do scare easily based on media food reports: a few years ago there was a minor scare involving salmonella being discovered on some green onion from Mexico; so for the next 2 months all green onion, as well as all produce from Mexico, was banned from the house.... but of course that kinda failed -- where else will we get produce?

                      To this day, the chow police still pick fresh uncooked cilantro/parsley/jalapeno out of dishes when eating out: their theory is that uncooked items just might be unwashed as well (I can't understand why they can't just leave the goodies in banh mi -- its just not a banh mi without them). And only the past 3 months has beef been slowly reentering their diet after all that mad cow frenzy.

                      *sigh* sometimes I truly do resort to not eating with them and foraging through town on my own or dragging friends out to eat. It doesn't help that often what I try to cook is objected to and tossed -- out of 4 ppl living under the roof, there are combinations of type 2 diab, high chol, high blood pressure, fear of cancer, fear of heart disease, and fear of anything and everything under the sun. Even plain grilled or broiled items are viewed with strong suspicion -- as the charred/crisped edges may contain too much cancer-causing carbon and will poison them.

                      Sheesh. Enough is enough. I will have my chow adventure once a week! This weekend I am thinking of finally comparing the fried chicken between Nellie's & Merritt Bakery (yes I kno... what a pick for someone with health issues; but we live only once, no?)

                      When is the best time to go? I do not want my chow ruined by heat lamp chicken. I am thinking of either hitting both spots on Sat. night, or Sun for lunch, or one at a time?

                      1. S_U, I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis and we chowies applaud you for your concern about sneaking food that isn't good for your diabetes. However, instead of totally banning sugars, fats, and everything you enjoy, I really really urge you to instead work on planning out your meals, and planning in small portions of your favorites. There is no better way to set yourself up for an unhealthy binge than by total deprivation. And binges are especially bad for spiking your blood sugar and doing damage to your body.

                        I'm a medical student and am by no means an expert. But I remember being really impacted by one of my nutrition prof's suggestions on counseling young people newly diagnosed with diabetes: there is nothing "off limits." It's all about portion control and balance. We are also told to encourage families to incorporate the new diet into everyone's life, rather than singling out one child who can't eat this or that while everyone else can, often right in front of her. That is a sure set-up for sneaking, and that really will not help you.

                        I recommend getting help from a licensed nutritionist to provide you with regular support and to help you plan out your meals in a way that you will be able to ADHERE to them... and also ask your policing family -- who mean the best for you, but aren't helping in the way that you describe -- to support you in finding balance and helping you feel less of an outsider when it comes to enjoying meals.

                        Your nutritionist could also help answer your questions about all the food scares out there. This should not become a fight between you and what goes into your stomach... rather it is about modifying what you eat in order to live healthier, happier, and longer WITH diabetes.

                        1. Thanks again for everyone's input... FYI i did not do the fried chicken adventure. After all, I've spent the last 6 years trying to balance food & exercise (with only once in a while giving in and making a bad choice). Seems kinda a waste to undo all the progress. So I decided to finally take over the kitchen once again and I warned the Chow Police that they must either eat the food I've cooked or make their own.

                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                          Well, the folks with the high cholesterol were mighty suspicious of the nuts and egg on the menu (they were muttering about the fats & high cholesterol despite a lesson on "good" cholesterol and "bad" cholesterol), the food-phobic was anxious about the green onions & the unknown fish paste, and the low-carb/cholesterol/meat/protein/calorie person pretty much sat there frowning at the colors for a while before attempting the first bite.

                          But at least nothing got tossed in this episode. *whew* ... stay tuned for the next episode.

                          1. Of course I do