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Sam Pollak

October 17, 2009

What to do when nothing is good for your health

I’ve done some exhaustive research on the matter, and I’m afraid there’s nothing to be done other than to face the awful truth with a steely resolve.

There is absolutely nothing we can eat. Oh, there would seem to be plenty of food around. The trouble is, whatever you’re thinking of eating is going to kill you.

The front page of the Oct. 4 Sunday New York Times had a frighteningly chilling story about all the cruddy stuff that goes into a hamburger. Upton Sinclair’s meatpacking industry exposé novel, “The Jungle,” became a best-seller in 1906 because, he said, “the public did not want to eat tubercular beef.”

Well, old Upton had nothing on Michael Moss, the lad who wrote that New York Times story. While there is no disputing that Moss’ work is a wonderful piece of investigative journalism, I haven’t been able to look a burger in the face since I read it.

I mean, odds are I’ll be among the millions of folks who won’t happen to die or be paralyzed from contact with an E. coli pathogen.

But now that I know what may have been in those “Dollar Menu” double hamburgers I had at McDonald’s the day before I read the story, I’m feeling a little queasy.

The federal inspections that started after Sinclair’s novel can’t begin to enforce rules intended to keep a certain amount of fat _ and cow feces _ out of your Whopper, Big Mac or Wendy’s burgers.

I mean, the more you know, the more disgusting it becomes. So, I became determined to do what Mom used to tell me, and eat leafy green vegetables, particularly lettuce and spinach.

And here I thought that sweet old lady loved me.

That was until I read a story that cited a study by a nutrition advocacy group stating that leafy greens are the riskiest food you can eat.

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Sam Pollak

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