It has been a terrible week when it comes to news. Yeah, yeah, there’s all that Russia stuff, but what’s got my underwear in a bundle are two headlines that actually have the potential to be life changing from a health perspective (my health anyway):
Just when you thought that the only way to soothe the panic that comes from living in a declining Democracy with no health insurance is through comfort food and alcohol, someone comes to snatch that away from us too. This cannot be happening.
Bourbon, my personal drug of choice, is at risk due to threatened trade tariffs floated by the new Administration. In a response to the President’s threat to tax German and Chinese steel imports, the European Union has informed us that they would immediately retaliate with a crippling financial tariff on bourbon exports. These EU folks really know how to target their revenge apparently, as 95% of bourbon comes from Kentucky, the home state of US Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (and which voted 62.5% for Trump in last year’s election, according to the above-noted article). Such a financial hit to the bourbon producers could result in dramatic cut backs in production, and that could result in dramatic cut backs in consumption, namely mine. Since I am allergic to wine, this is a tragedy of potentially epic proportions. So bad would I take this bourbon nightmare, that I might seek comfort in my favorite guilty pleasure: mac & cheese.
But unfortunately, this very same week, the Coalition for Safer Food Processing and Packaging released a report that mac & cheese, and especially the deliciously unnatural Kraft kind, is loaded with toxic phthalates, a substance that has been widely banned in food and kids toys due to its birth defect- causing qualities. According to the article, more than 2 million boxes of mac & cheese are sold every day in the U.S. and I probably buy 1/3 of them.
Kraft advertises this stuff by turning the macaroni on its side and making it look like a smile. But I cannot smile today because I am quite sure that my own kid’s body is comprised of at least 32% mac & cheese given that I allowed her to eat truckloads of the stuff from the moment she could chew. Bona fide scientists think that “early childhood exposure to phthalates and neurodevelopmental and behavior problems in young children, including aggression, hyperactivity and possible cognitive delays,” which may well explain some of the breakdowns we have seen in the venture capital industry over the last few weeks, given that pretty much every American child has had mac & cheese as a diet staple and the negative effects of phthalates may be more pronounced in males.
OK fine, no mac & cheese, no cry. I can always just make it and inhale the scent, right? Apparently not. Because according to my alma mater, UC Berkeley, another new study shows that just smelling fattening foods can lead you to gain more weight.
Given this Greek-level set of tragedies, my current plan is to start immediately hoarding bourbon and to start auditioning new junk foods. I am also cutting off my nose to spite my hips and cutting off all alumni funding to UC Berkeley if they are going to use it for research that makes me sad.
Wait a minute…. if smelling food makes one fatter, then perhaps just smelling bourbon could help one feel the effects more intensely? Now that would be some useful research and would help ease the financial burden of a Pappy Van Winkle acquisition campaign, as well as provide a countervailing argument to the “cut of my nose” plan. UC Berkeley is going to have to help out here if they want to see another dime out of me. And while they are at it, perhaps one of their incubators can come up with a kale-based mac & cheese product that contains no phthalates, helps forestall the onset of age-related neurodegenerative diseases and spurs increased height in short chicks who hate protectionism because they love bourbon. Let’s put those health research dollars to good use.