Every day I wake up to find an entirely new thing that is killing me/my kids/my dog/the earth.
Another day, another criminalized food. Today: Nutella.
Apparently Nutella is “poisonous.” We feed it to our children and then they die.
I can feel myself dying as we speak.
Help. Me. Please.
And by help me, I mean, bring me my jumbo size jar of Nutella.
Twenty-five years ago, I lived in Europe for a time — Germany, if you want to get specific. I spent a lot of time eating (is that not what living abroad is for?). I spent a lot of time eating Nutella. And by a lot of time, I mean literally everyday — for breakfast and lunch.
I did not die.
But the Food Police is very concerned for your safety. And as such, must be sure to alert you to the dangers lurking inside your jar of heavenly lethal hazelnut-chocolate spread.
The varied ways in which Nutella is trying to murder you include:
Vanillin (masquerading as MSG)
I have some quick rebuttals, but I’m not going to dive too far into The Science because, at the end of the day, it’s not relevant to the overall picture.
1. Vanillin is a naturally occurring compound in actual Vanilla. It’s expensive to extract and vanilla only contains about 2% of it. So they make it, with chemical things and atoms and chemistry. Vanillin “tricks” your brain into thinking you are eating “real” vanilla. Life is full of tricks folks — like those paintings that just look like a big mess until you do that weird non-focus focus thing and see three wolves howling at the moon. TRICKS.
2. BUT, you say. Vanillin contains MSG!!1!!!1! Oh hey guys, guess what else contains MSG. KFC. Chik-fil-a. Chips. Cold cuts. Gravy. Campbell's soup. Almost all Chinese food. Also MUSHROOMS. GRAPES. POTATOES. I mean I’m all for criminalizing mushrooms, they taste like dirt, but whatever.
3. Soy lecithin is the thing that holds things together. Food glue, if you will. Lecithin is also naturally occurring. FOOD GLUE. See also: candy bars, ice cream.
4. Palm oil is… oil. It’s a widely used oil and yes, environmentalists everywhere will tell you it’s the obtaining of it that is depleting all the rainforests everywhere. That’s bad. But hey, even Greenpeace says you don’t have to flip out about palm oil. If you can’t trust Greenpeace, who can you trust? Also the palm oil used by the Nutella people is 100% sustainable.
5. Sugar is delicious. The end.
Every day I wake up to find an entirely new thing that is killing me/my kids/my dog/the earth. It’s a lot of pressure to just exist without killing something by way of an inadvertent purchase of a deadly hazelnut-chocolate spread.
A. Parenting is guilt-laden enough without adding the fear that on top of ruining your kids by calling them little assholes, you are also killing them with food.
B. Criminalizing food, any food, is not a beneficial pursuit. Eat Nutella = you’re bad. Eat grapes = you’re good (SORRY. Grapes have MSG. You lose.)
Then the food guilt, and the internal struggle between your love of fried chicken and your willingness to live. And then the self-loathing. And the further guilt about the self-loathing. And the anxiety that goes with that guilt. And the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) system and subsequent release of glucocorticoids (i.e. cortisol) that goes with that anxiety. And more science-y things like Catecholamines and Neuropeptide S coursing through your body. And all of these things result in the “flight-or-fight” hormonal cascade which diverts bloods from your less-essential organs to your heart and brain, and causes the cessation of metabolic activity (so you can't even digest your Nutella), and makes you sweat, and causes short-term memory loss.
And then you have a heart attack from repeated bouts of stress. And you die from the heart attack and just wish you’d spent more time with your family, eating more Nutella.
But seriously, can we stop with the food morality? We put food in our body. It gives us energy to do things like walk around, and take care of the kids we are apparently poisoning, and write blog posts about whatever food we hate today.
Also, Nutella is delicious.