Sunday, May 17, 2009

Healthy and Wealthy. Pick One.

Another interesting thing happened to me recently. I went shopping at a place called Whole Foods. It’s very much the same as a regular supermarket, except much, much more expensive.

Actually it’s better than that. Every item in the store is supposedly organic. The produce supposedly has no pesticides. The meat/chicken/fish supposedly contains no hormones or antibiotics. The cereals definitely have no flavor.

To the organic movement I say, so what? I’ve been eating conventional, pesticide/hormone/antibiotic-laden food my entire life, and I’m perfectly healthy except for the leukemia. No, really, I’m fine, and so are most other non-organic people. George Burns lived to be almost 100 eating non-organic food, not to mention smoking cigars for 70% of his life. Keith Richards is still alive despite being ... well ... Keith Richards.

So why did I shop at Whole Foods? Because my life partner dragged me there. Now, before continuing with my story, I need to clarify something. My life partner is a woman. I hate using the term “life partner” because when you use it, everyone assumes you’re gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I call her my life partner because I assume that we are together for life, not merely boyfriend and girlfriend or husband and wife. The term “life partner” means “together for as long as we are both still alive”, whereas “spouse” means “together until the psychological benefit of getting rid of you outweighs the financial loss”.

Anyway, my life partner has developed an intestinal disorder, which, according to holistic websites, necessitates a special diet. No sugar. No vinegar. No bread. No beer. No fun. Thank goodness we can still make love.

These websites tout the benefits of “natural” foods, i.e., the ones grown without man-made chemicals. Due to the absence of economies of scale, these products cost, on average, about twice as much as conventional food. This is why organic supermarkets must charge Black Market prices for lettuce.

Armed with organic recipes that my life partner found online, we went to Whole Foods in search of ingredients such as lemongrass and extra virgin coconut oil. I didn’t even know that these things existed. We also bought some “wild caught” salmon for $15 a pound. I fail to see how the wild caught salmon at this place differs from the wild caught salmon at Safeway, but hey, who am I to question things about which I know nothing? So what if it all comes off the same truck?

We accomplished our mission, successfully filling our cart with lots of wholesome vegetables and meats. Unfortunately we won’t be able to cook any of it because we had to sell both of our houses to buy it.

Now, you’d think that Whole Foods would only get a handful of customers, for example, CEOs of banks and insurance companies that were lucky enough to win the Government Bailout Lottery. Not so. The place was mobbed. It looked as though a snowstorm was imminent and people were stocking up on organic toilet paper. I don’t know why “experts” keep telling us that the economy has caused people to spend less, because there were about, oh, 23 bazillion people there. They were lined up at the registers like B-52s tickets were on sale.

So now we are eating better, and by “better” I mean “in a refrigerator box”. But it’s all for our health and keeping our relationship together. We are also stimulating the economy. I think about this every time I see a salmon truck.