Twinkie, Deconstructed

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FINALLY!  I finished Twinkie, Deconstructed(by Steve Ettlinger) yesterday.  I’ve been trying to finish it for way too long, partly because I’ve a bad habit of reading 3 books at once. 

Twinkie

At first, this book was hard for me to get through because I kept on falling asleep while reading.  It was kind of dry with a bunch of facts and the reason I kept going was because I was learning so much.  By the middle of it, I got really into it and finally started putting the pieces together, how this product relates to the next.  I started writing out the chemical formulas for the reactions Ettlinger was talking about so I can actually see what chemicals were being used. 

Ettlinger does an amazing job and his research is very extensive.  As I was reading, I kept thinking how in the world did he have the time and resources to do all this.  He has done something all of us have put off.  Figuring out what exactly we are putting in our bodies.  His book is split up into chapters, or shall I say ingredients.  Each chapter explains where the ingredient comes from, it’s etymology, it uses and functions in the Twinkie, other food products, and other industrial uses, and how it’s processed. 

I felt so empowered by the end of the book with what I had learned.  I was grocery shopping last night and each time I’d pick something off the shelf and read the ingredients, I was like thinking, “Wow, I actually know what this stuff really is.” I looked around at all the people walking up and down the aisle, and felt pity for them.  They were going to go home and put food in their mouth that might not be real food, but just looks like it.  (Twinkies really don’t have any real eggs or butter in them, but they are artificially flavored so you think they do.)

At the end though, I felt like Ettlinger was justifying all the processing of modern foods and how no alarming bell should be sound because of this book.  Looking at salt, NaCl, sodium being highly reactive on its own, and chlorine being the world’s most lethal chemical alone, together they find a place on every household table as salt.  Yes they aren’t healthful when they are apart, but together they become a total different compound, neutralizing the bad components.  He also talks about how we shouldn’t be alarmed when scientist manipulate molecules in our food to make new foods, because when we boil water or frying an egg, we’re doing the same thing, rearranging molecules.  I find it unreasonable to make such a comparison because freezing or boiling water or cooking an egg isn’t changing that it’s still water or egg. 

Methods like curing and smoking have been around for centuries and they don’t make fake foods.  Curing simply draws out the water out of the food using salt or sugar.  Yes this is processing, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere. 

Maybe this is why our nation is so obese and every other person has cancer.  Because we are eating things that start off from petroleum and not eating from the earth that is rich in nutreints. 

If you want to know what you’re really eating, this is definitely a book to read.  You’d be surprised where many of our common ingredients come from and how they are processed.  I for one, would never let my kids eat such things.

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