Back from a crazy weekend in Tijuana (TJ stories coming soon!) to the sometimes myopic world I inhabit.
Just before crossing the border for a weekend of drinking in Mexico I attended one of the world’s largest natural foods conventions dubbed “Expo West.” Hundreds of thousands of square feet in Anaheim California were covered with pretty girls hawking “natural” cosmetics, pills, chocolate, gluten-free products, beer, and even pet food. The Expo is a place fraught with myopia and attention to the fragments and macro-elements of nutrition. The words “whole foods” are used frequently, but few foods can actually be found in their whole form. You will not see any bananas, tomatoes, mangoes, or spinach. But there are lots of extracts and powders containing these “miracle” foods.
The labeling on most of the products is testament to marketing genius. One companies Teas are labeled exclusively with the disorder or ailment you are hoping to treat–the variety of tea is found only in the small print. Imagine walking up to a display rack full of tea packets and choosing “long life tea” or “asthma no more tea” or “stop crapping my pants tea.” At one very reputable company’s booth I found a pill bottle simply labeled “Beautiful Legs.” Beneath the product shelf, you guessed right, a poster of some beautiful legs.
While it was heartening to see so many companies trying to craft minimally processed foods devoid of GMOs, chemicals, crap fillers like gluten, and unneeded animal products, I could not escape the feeling that I was in the midst of so many snake oil sellers.
The fiber pushers especially confound me. Yogurt that will make you poop? Water containing fiber. Pills with fiber. People do realize that if they just eat some fruit and greens they have this whole issue covered, right?
When I was walking around and looking at all the new stuff I couldn’t help but be impressed with all the ingenuity. But it felt like I was in a mega store for astronauts who would need all these products because while journeying through space they wouldn’t be able to enjoy something as simple as an apple.
Or maybe these products will save us. The web is full of speculation about radiation poisoning here on the west coast as a result of jet stream carried fallout. The nutrition gurus are cashing in on split-cell chlorella pills and anything containing loads of iodine. I’ve already taken all the free samples I was given at Expo West of each…