Thursday, April 30, 2015

Soda Jerk, Double Dipping and a History Lesson

My personal, in-house nutrition guru—aka Gilda—has advised me that ingesting real sugar is better for my health than absorbing artificial sweeteners like Splenda or Equal. Seems recent scientific studies have shown humans react the same to pseudo sweeteners as they do to sugar, so why risk the introduction of unnecessary chemicals into one’s body. 

As a lifelong Coca-Cola drinker who had a hard time acclimating my taste buds to Diet Coke once I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, I was all for a return to the Real Thing. But a funny thing happened on my way back to Coke. Turns out Diet Coke tastes better.

I’ve actually cut back on my soda drinking. When I do indulge with a meal at home I opt for an 8-oz. glass bottle of Diet Coke or a 7.5-oz. can (glass being the preferred vessel as we’re trying to cut back on plastic or metal containers). I don’t think of myself as being part of a major trend, but soda consumption of all types is decreasing for more than a decade, with diet versions dropping even more precipitously, no doubt plunging ever more rapidly as new studies on health risks emerge.

Double Dipping: Speaking of health risks, you’ve probably heard about the Listeria scares associated with such foods as Blue Bell ice cream and Sabra Hummus. Product recalls have been initiated, one of which unfolded before my very eyes at a local Costco. 

A customer directly before me brought back for a refund an almost fully eaten tub of original Sabra Hummus. He received his money but after he walked far enough away so he wouldn’t hear me I couldn’t resist noting to the cashier that the mostly consumed hummus obviously had not harmed him. I guess he felt as long as money had been set aside for the recall he might as well take advantage of it even if he had not been inconvenienced by Sabra or Costco. Voilá: another form of double-dipping!

History Lesson: For the moment, our troubled (illegal) immigration policy has been shunted off the front pages and airwaves as the country deals with the horrific and seemingly unending assault by police officers on unarmed men of color. 

The other day, however, I was intrigued by a comment from Drew Holcomb I heard on the radio (Holcomb, for those of you like me who have no idea who he is) is the lead singer/songwriter of Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors). 

As the story was told, one of Holcomb’s Los Angeles friends was complaining about the influx of Hispanics to his city. To which Holcomb replied, “What was the name of the city you live in?,” immediately calling attention to the Hispanic origins of Los Angeles. 

I don’t know where Holcomb attended elementary school but if it was anything like my Brooklyn school the history of European settlement of America was concentrated on the original 13 colonies along the Atlantic seaboard. Spanish holdings in Florida were largely ignored despite the fact that St. Augustine was the first European settlement in the continental United States. Indeed, Spain’s contribution to the Americas mostly was related in terms of its conquistadors, their pursuit of gold alongside subjugation and often violent religious conversion of Native Americans. 

Spain and then Mexico governed most of the Southwest. It was the “gringo” who was the unwanted intruder in land eventually taken by force, first in Texas and then in points further west. 

I don’t have a solution to the immigration crisis. But I do know that too many people forget we are a nation of immigrants and the forefathers of the first Europeans who settled here spoke Spanish, not English, not French, not Italian, not German, not Russian nor any other European language.