Food Ethicism or, The Cult of the Salad

Almost everyone believes there are such things as “good” and “bad” foods. The notion is inculcated within us from a very young age, and right now various agencies are pushing to make the notion of food ethics formally taught in schools.

The problem with food ethicism is, of course, that it has no real definition. Some believe raw foods are the only “good” foods, some believe fats and sugars are “bad,” others believe carbs are “bad,” some believe high-calorie foods are “bad,” some believe only whole-wheat, fruits, and vegetables are “good.”

Food ethicism is pervasive and, like other ethical systems, defines moral worth or immorality based on how close one adheres to the ethical dictates, or how far one strays from those same dictates. In other words, if you eat “bad” foods, you are a bad person, or at the very least, morally bereft.

Putting aside food ethicism which corresponds to non-health-related values (like animal rights, for instance), most food ethicism judges “good” foods at how closely they help you achieve a socially acceptable weight. The best food, almost bar-none, is the green vegetable. Anti-calorie, anti-carbs, anti-fat, anti-sugar, anti-salt, and anti-processed ethicists are delighted by the green vegetable. Salads are the composition of the green vegetable, in which it prevails, sprinkled with non-green vegetables, and also possibly meat, carbs, and dairy (in heavy moderation).

The cult of the salad has reigned supreme since Day One of the War Against Obese People. When eating out with others, ordering a salad — the more green, the fewer condiment/meat/dairy/carbs is viewed almost universally as a sign of dietary “goodness.” Of course, one cannot live on salads alone. Which is the food ethicists’ great dilemma, across the board. Salads — in their purest form — are extremely low energy, and give you far less nutrition than you’d get popping a multivite.

Salads are, in their purest form, merely hunger-curbers. I.e., accessories to starvation.

So I’ll take liberty to define “eating junk food” as how far one has strayed from adherence to the Cult of the Salad.

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5 comments on “Food Ethicism or, The Cult of the Salad

  1. […] Isn’t the truth, MFS folks, that you’re pissed they’re no longer restricting their eating and/or subscribing to your food ethics? Food ethics is the popular cult of our time. […]

  2. blablover5 says:

    What bothers me so much about the cult of good and bad food is that science is always making new discoveries what was once good for you is then in one study found to be bad for you and then good for you again (eggs are a good example, though I hear they’re in trouble again).

    Or the old myth that if you drink enough water you’ll feel full and lose weight. Seriously, this has been around since the 18th century, but people still believe it full heartily. It is about impossible to change someone’s mind about something once it has entered into the publics mythos.

    As my fiance who is a food scientist knows all too well people would rather believe what they were always told than think for themselves or question anything. (It also scares me how easy it seems to get a nutrition degree).

    Anymore the rule of thumb is, everything is good for you and everything is bad for you. It just depends on how much you eat. The only really bad thing to eat is a bag of arsenic laced with plutonium-32.

  3. mrsmillur says:

    I was thinking about this the other day, when I realized that Wendy’s has produced a special (plastic!) bag that proclaims to one and all:

    “It doesn’t count as bad that I’m eating drive-through take-out, because IT’S A SALAD!!”

  4. integgy says:

    “The Cult of Salad” is definitely a term I’ll be using in future conversations. I love how well you’ve summed up what I’ve been feeling for just about ever. Eating things that we’re considered “good” by society always made me feel like I was doing something wrong.

  5. pudgemonster says:

    True, a salad can be nutritionally and calorically empty (not to mention completely unsatisfying) if it’s the lump of limp iceberg lettuce and half a cherry tomato that most restaurants dare to call a “garden salad”. But I LOVE salads (I know, I’ve often heard that anyone who says that it lying, but I swear it’s true) so long as I get to put what I want on them. I especially love them with black beans, corn, avocado (that doesn’t look like it’s spelled right), lots of tomatoes, and a little cheese. If you put what you really like on it, it doesn’t even need dressing, which is good cuz I can’t find many I like anyway.
    Man, now I’m hungry.

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