Foodie fear and fact: Stop over-reacting to the WHO report and learn the real lesson

BrentROOTSNote: I got this email today from Brent Rodgers, a local food entrepreneur whom I have profiled several times, about the news yesterday that the WHO has found processed meats cause cancer. I think Brent makes a cogent and funny argument for why people are over-reacting … and missing the point. Enjoy!

I woke up yesterday and made my sandwich with gluten-free bread (because someone tells me gluten is bad for me), low sodium mustard (sodium is bad, right?), organic tomatoes and lettuce (because if they are non-organic, someone says they must have bug spray all over them), cheese (oh, wait, that’s dairy and dairy is bad) and a slice of lunch meat turkey breast, which we now learned causes cancer. I think it had some sort of GMO, also. And I ate it!  Yet today I remain alive.

What we didn’t hear from yesterday’s new that the World Health Organization has declared processed meats (from bacon to balogna) is the WHO’s complete list of 468 items that are carcinogenic. On this list are alcohol, dust and air pollution.

I agree meats loaded with nitrates are very high in sodium and likely bad for you. I think we should have a simple rule-of-thumb saying if potted meat expires in six months or in a year, it’s probably bad for humans. There is something that isn’t right about eating a product two years after it came out of the ocean as it sat on a shelf. It’s not healthy.

But I think the takeaway from yesterday should not be avoid meat but rather eat food that expires! And eat food that expires quickly. Food that expires soon — within a few weeks, like produce, fresh tuna, chicken, or non-preservative breads — are good for you. Yes, it likely has gluten or an occasional GMO. We can’t go on a constant diet of kale and pressed juice, as much as I would personally love everyone to do so.

As the owner of a juice bar, I believe in eating clean healthy foods and think juices are an important part of the process of staying healthy. I hope yesterday’s news served the purpose of making us aware of these types of meats and how high in nitrates and salt they remain. But we shouldn’t go to the extreme and throw out all the foods in our fridge. I think a lifestyle high in fruits, vegetables, fiber and lean unprocessed meats is going to keep us well and healthy over the long term. Organic, non-GMO, gluten free and the like are buzzwords at the current time and are important, but not the only way to live your life.

Life is short. Enjoy it. Have an occasional glass of wine or a martini. Drink lots of fresh juice … and when you do, come to Roots.

In moderately good health,

Brent Rodgers, founder, Root Juices.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

FIRST LOOK: Kroger’s new Fresh Fare Cityplace store opens today

Let’s go Krogering.

It’s easy to do in the gayboorhood. The Cedar Springs store of the grocery chain has become as much a fixture in the gay community as the bars down the street. Earlier this summer, Kroger opened a new Fresh Fare store on Maple in the old Elliott’s Hardware spot.

And just in time for the holidays, another one opens on the other side of North Central.

The new Cityplace shop officially opened this morning in the space once occupied by the Loew’s cinema, but has been barren for a long time. Not anymore.

“There’s a nice apartment complex next door, and a Lifetime Fitness [around the corner],” notes Gary Huddleston, the director of consumer affairs for Kroger. The “Uptown East” area is coming along.

Certainly the Kroger story might actually help usher that. Maybe I’m strange, but I always love visiting new grocery stores — they are oddly beautiful, and this one is no exception. The 60,000 square foot store (which employs about 260 folks) is another of their Fresh Fare concepts, focusing on organic, natural and (as often as possible) locally-sourced perishables — produce, deli and meats, baked goods, sushi. The Cityplace Kroger is indicative of another step in the continuing evolution of the grocery world.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones