Lifestyle

Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby | Jan's Journal

Home cooking is a tricky chore — especially when my children accuse me of trying to poison them upon noticing even the tiniest bit of green stuff on their plates.

Really, it’s just a harmless vegetable, I assure them, but they know not to trust me.

Slipping healthy pasta from Trader Joe’s under a fatty-cake sauce doesn’t fool them either. Maybe I should learn some fancier marketing strategies when attempting to implement a healthy diet.

Reading labels at Winco, Fred Meyer or Costco, while trying to decide what brand of anything to buy for dinner, the words "100 percent natural," "real" and "genuine" are used abundantly. This is meant to sway my purchase choice. Pausing to consider exactly what the labels imply causes confusion.

We consumers are a naive bunch since we assume that the cheese on a frozen pizza is, in fact, truly cheese. There should be disclaimers of fraud on products that masquerade as the real thing. Or call it what it truly is.

However, would you buy bacon bits labeled as "disgusting dried out artificial pig pieces?" A scientific real food substitute dictionary made available at the end aisles would be helpful. And, like medicine, with a full disclosure fact sheet documenting known side effects. At least you’d know exactly what cheaper fake stuff your poor unsuspecting family will be ingesting, even if you can’t pronounce the ingredients.

Food labelers aren’t the only ones with false claims. A recent sports headline whined: “A-Rod’s reputation seriously damaged.” At first glance, I mistakenly thought they were talking about his link to Madonna, which was completely understandable.

However, it was about his steroid use that pumped him up like an “all natural” holiday turkey that’s actually full of 2 percent solution. Granted, it was a long time ago, and supposedly he’s sorry about his three years of phony muscles. Yeah, he’s sorry the truth came out, and now he’s labeling himself as 100 percent genuine.

Don’t get me started on the whole "Real Fake" Hollywood crowd. Lisa Rinna’s grotesque lips inhibit her speech, but maybe they’re also flotation devices in case she ever falls into a pool. She was interviewed about disclosing any bad cosmetic surgery she’d had. Happily, I presumed that she would candidly admit regret for disfiguring her jaw. However, she discussed her bad cheek implants instead, which I hadn’t noticed because I was staring at her mouth.

Federal Way’s Biggest Loser contest is inspiring. But all the gimmicks in the world can’t hide the bottom line: Eat less, move more. There’s no magic involved — just plain hard work and determination to change what you can. And any diet plan that motivates you is a good thing. Keeping the lost weight off is the hardest part for me. I’ve been a weight watcher practically my entire life. So far, I’ve been at my (unrealistic) goal weight once each decade.

Sadly, the third child did me in, and I can’t say I just had a baby anymore (because she’s 9 years old). Guess I own it now, and know exactly what I need to do: Eat less, move more.

If only it were as simple as it sounds. There’s just no substitution for the real thing.

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