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Eating Healthy Is Overrated

Wednesday, 10 Feb 2010 | 12:01 PM ET
AP

The funny business of making you eat more greens, while charging you more green for the privilege.

Admittedly, I'm a weak person.

I'm big on making plans, not so great at follow through. I always make New Year's resolutions, and my track record is spotty. This year I resolved to no longer text while driving, (lasted 34 days!) and not to use bad words (still doing well on this one).

Lent starts a week from today. I was raised Lutheran, and I always try to find something to give up for 40 days to show some sort of sacrifice to help me ponder the meaning of the season. This year I plan to give up snarkiness. I will begin a quest for my own Holy Grail —positive sarcasm.

Does it even exist? Wish me luck.

I may be forced into silence until Palm Sunday, which might not be such a bad thing.

The odds of me succeeding aren't good. For example, in a pre-Lenten run-up, I decided to go five days this week without any caffeine, alcohol, dairy, sugar, or refined flour, as a sort of "cleanse".

I know, insane.

Here in California, I'm surrounded by businesses promoting the benefits of healthy eating. Friends who've foresworn all but the purest, most organic foods rave about how much better they feel, how great their skin is, their energy level, blah blah blah, though I notice some of them catch colds a lot. Entire industries are built up to support this health kick. Just look at Whole Foods' stock, up over 150 percent in a year.

So last weekend I went to Whole Foods and spent $230 buying out the produce section along with a bunch of other organic stuff. As I loaded a head of cabbage into the shopping cart, my husband quipped, "I bet half of this stuff gets thrown out." I went home and made homemade vegetable stock. I baked bread without sugar, butter, eggs, or white flour. I soaked beans, made stew, and made a plan of attack.

Monday morning, I brewed myself a cup of herbal green tea, had a few pieces of pineapple, and a slice of homemade bread with some organic peanut butter.

It was a complete and utter failure.

Like people who buy the "Abs of Steel" DVDs which get used once (uh, that would be me), I discovered that eating healthy is overrated. Bravo to the businesses that convince us to give it a go, only to fail and move onto the next fix-it program.

How quickly did I cave? How morose, angry and dull did I become? The journey was chronicled on Twitter:

7:30a Feb. 8th: Day 1 no caffeine. Miserable.

8:27a Feb. 8th from @BrianSozzi: (Jane) say it ain't so :( Just concluded the daily Starbucks iced venti redeye.

8:28a Feb. 8th: @briansozzi hate you.

3:41p Feb. 8th: No coffee. No booze. I'm at Lassen's Nat. Foods. "I'll have a plate of alfalfa sprouts & a side of mashed yeast"--Alvy Singer "Annie Hall"

3:43p from @PattyEdwards: Jane, I'll offer the same deal to you that I offer to pregnant friends: I can be your designated drinker.

3:46: @pattyedwards hate you.

4:46p Feb. 8th: At the gym. Feeling like Betty White.

2p Feb. 9th: No caffeine/alcohol/dairy/refined makes my tweets REALLY BORING. Pretty soon I'll be talking about bid-asks on Alcoa.

3p Feb. 9th: @debsmith doing no sugar and no dairy. made my own bread. i hate myself.

5p Feb. 9th: Ok. I'm done. I can't take it. Gonna have a Jersey Mike's sub and a beer. Tomorrow: coffee. My 5-day healthy eating plan lasted 41 hrs.

6:30p Feb. 9th: That is much better.

6a Feb. 10th: Coffee. Coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee. Mmmmmmmm.

The spectacular collapse was even noticed by WebNewser.

So, what did we learn?

One, it's not very smart to give up everything at once.

Two, Jane is pretty weak—five days really isn't that long when you consider some poor guy survived 27 days in earthquake rubble in Haiti.

Third, what's wrong with a little coffee and wine? Plus, coffee and wine are full of antioxidants, right? They're actually good for you, right?

As one Twitter follower told me, everything in moderation, including moderation.

Anyone want a head of cabbage?

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Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email funnybusiness@cnbc.com

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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