No Virginia, there is no bacon


I work in a place that has an employee cafeteria. Since saying the food is fantastic would be a lie… and saying the food is horrible might get me fired… saying it’s probably very similar to other employee cafeterias across the country works for now.

The cafeteria runs around the clock and every so often that means there is bacon left over from breakfast available for lunch. Perhaps this should be read as an extra comment about the truth in the first paragraph of this essay… perhaps not… but it’s safe to say people get very excited about the possibilities of bacon when it comes to cheeseburgers and sandwiches. Bacon? Exciting? Yes.

And now, after years of second-class, not quite good for you, it’s cheating when you have it… this special diet thing came along, and bacon… formerly the poster-child of must avoid foods… became the right thing to do.


Is it me?

Please don’t tell me this diet, along with countless other diets and concepts, has been around for years. In some ways, I know. In more ways, I don’t care. All it does is add more and more evidence to my argument that everything is bad for you, and if it isn’t now, then it will be within ten years.

When I was younger we had the four food groups. Unbelievably, I’m showing my age by admitting that. It was easy… dairy, fruits and vegetables, meats, and grains. In the roughly twenty-plus-years since elementary school and junior high school, three of those four groups have been quite vocally declared bad for me.

Cheese and whole milk were the true first casualties in the four-food-group-reorganization as I recall. I will only go down to 2% before I start kicking and screaming. I firmly believe that skim and 1% tastes and looks like poorly filtered water. And cheese was… well… I’ve been told, the equivalent of bacon as far as my arteries were concerned.

Roughly around the same time, but gaining steam after the drive to avoid whole milk, I remember that the cholesterol thing kicked up, and no red meat or vegetarian diets moved in from there.

Two of the basic four.

Wiped away.

And it didn’t really bother me until I saw a short article on the latest battleground item.

Today, the attack has focused in on pizza.

Over the past several years it’s all about the carbs. And with that batch of advice, breads and rolls and all sorts of good stuff was wiped away. Remember when eating white bread was the bad thing, but wheat breads and rye breads and ones that didn’t use bleached flour were still good for you? When I was in college, a friend of mine and I would drive into the middle of the city to an Italian bakery to get bread literally as it was pulled out of a brick oven. There’s a tear in my eye thinking of it.

Does any smell fill a kitchen with love and atmosphere like fresh bread? No.

Instead, the other day I was reading that in this whole wave of menu-changing that restaurants and grocery stores are going through, the search for a low-carb pizza was on.

I swear it couldn’t have even been twenty-five years ago that I was sitting in a classroom at my school while the teacher spoke about how pizza could be one of the healthiest foods around… dairy in the cheese, vegetables in the sauce and maybe the toppings as well, and then meat in the toppings too, and grain in the crust. Nutrition! All four food groups! Pizza rules!

But now, two decades removed from that classroom, only the vegetables remain. All the rest has been declared bad for me. Pizza rules indeed…

Even if I have my information wrong about some of the details above, there isn’t anyone out there that can convince me I’m not close to the truth. Heck, I made fun of my wife this past year… a devoted water-drinker… because of a study released that showed drinking water was bad for you. That really was the result of the study… although the actual deeper reading was that drinking too much water was bad for you. So I stand by my claims about milk and meat and bread above… I may have a few of the elements wrong, but the heart of my statements is right on the mark. And in general, most of you should be nodding and not disagreeing about minute details.

Warm bread? Delicious.

Pizza? Good.

I suppose since they moved the groups around many, many years ago, the main difficulty is that I’ve lost track of what the standard is now. I seem to recall colors being involved at one point, and maybe some sort of food pyramid. Wasn’t there a time when the four groups became six? And some commercials talk about drinking your servings of fruit. I don’t know. It all went out the window with drinking wine… and no not wine… but purple grape juice. I give up.

About a month or two ago, there was a report about pressure treated wood. Wasn’t it wonderful that your deck, your picnic table, your shed or your playground was built out of this beautiful material that fought against the elements? Sure it was. At least… it was until these recent reports that the chemicals used in pressure treating the wood cause cancer, and now you and your children shouldn’t eat on your deck, on your picnic table, in your shed or at your playground. And by the way, they are going to stop selling the stuff.

Person I know is a diet fanatic. Doesn’t want tempting food anywhere nearby… too risky. Candy bars for the kids’ schools? Get them out. Someone stopped for donuts and brought in a dozen to share? Thoughtless, compassionless, heartless, vindictive and cruel. Home baked bread? Done on purpose as torture. I have had several friends that have dealt with personal demons and eating disorders. This individual is well beyond healthy living. It’s reached the level of being obsessive and unhealthy.

The simple advice was always the best… repeat after me… eat right and exercise. You know the basics… smaller portions, avoid fried foods, get out and walk. Common sense, practical sense, and good advice.

And to that end, whether it works for some… and I congratulate you if it does work for you… I’m going to stay away from the bacon. I’m going to get out for a walk more often. I’m going to be sensible about my snacks and sweets.

But I’m not going to eat only grapefruits. I’m not going to tell people what they should or shouldn’t do, or how inconsiderate they are when they do it in front of me. And, I’ll just keep waiting for the day… and mind you this day is coming… when Oreos and cold, cold, whole milk are declared the healthiest foods around. I figure I have about five or six years to go.

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at