The New Food Fight: Big Food Vs. Big Organic

Have the elite hijacked healthy eating?

By David H. Freedman from The Atlantic
Also published in Reader's Digest Magazine October 2013

Craig Cutler for Reader’s Digest

Late last year, in a small health-food eatery called Cafe Sprouts in Oberlin, Ohio, I had what may well have been the most wholesome beverage of my life. The friendly server guided me to an apple-blueberry-kale-carrot smoothie-juice combination, which she spent the next several minutes preparing, mostly by shepherding farm-fresh produce into machinery. The result was tasty. But at 300 calories (by my rough calculation) for a 16-ounce cup, it was more than my diet could regularly absorb without consequences.

Nor was I about to make a habit of $9 shakes, healthy or not. Inspired by the experience nonetheless, I tried again two months later at L.A.’s Real Food Daily, a popular vegan restaurant near Hollywood. I was initially wary of a low-calorie juice made almost entirely from green vegetables, but the server assured me it was a popular treat. I could stomach only about a third of the oddly foamy, bitter concoction. It smelled like lawn clippings and tasted like liquid celery. It went for $7.95, and I waited ten minutes for it.

I finally hit the sweet spot just a few weeks later, in Chicago, with a delicious blueberry-pomegranate smoothie that rang in at a relatively modest 220 calories. It cost $3 and took only seconds to make. Best of all, I’ll be able to get this concoction just about anywhere. Thanks, McDonald’s!

If only the McDonald’s smoothie weren’t, unlike the first two, so fattening and unhealthy. Or at least that’s what the most prominent voices in our food culture today would have you believe.

Next: What the foodies get wrong »

  • Your Comments

    • adrienrain

      McDonald’s was using pink slime in their ‘meat’ and only stopped when the word got out and consumers were up in arms about it. They also used to put meat extracts in their french fries – without bothering to inform those avoiding meat. They will feed you anything – they really don’t care – and they will tell you as little as possible about it. I don’t trust them at all, because I’ve LEARNED not to trust them. Meanwhile, their employees are paid so little that many of them qualify for welfare. . . . a bad deal all around.

    • JAWDOPPED

      Insane. Can I take a dump on a plate and become a contributor to Readers Digest. And the cover story no less??? This is literary terrorism.