Since returning to work as a dietitian, I've been reminded of how often people want to put food in distinct categories of "GOOD" or "BAD." Generally, in response to the question of, for instance, "How about chips? Are they good or bad?" I scrunch up my face - probably in some attempt to alert the person that there is no easy answer to their question - before explaining that I think it can be harmful to put labels on food like this. Then I'll ask the person if they really like this food they so badly want to label as bad and if the answer is yes, I encourage them to enjoy it in moderation in the context of a meal. For instance, if you really like chips, don't sit down to watch television with the whole bag of chips. Instead, make your sandwich on 100% whole wheat bread :), throw some carrots and hummus on your plate, then add a handful of chips.
By the way, in case you're curious, one reason that I think it can be harmful to label food is summed up by a dietitian named Ronda Bokram who says, "We label food as good or bad, and then when we eat the food, we put that label on ourselves." In the example above, the chip-lover will likely have a hard time labeling herself as "bad" after she's finished. Another reason I think it's harmful is that it pulls us away from developing a generally healthy lifestyle where we're open to eating a variety of foods and not obsessed with dieting.
So, what does cookie dough have to do with it? Well, when trying to keep food safe, I do think it's okay to label food. Cookie dough made with raw eggs is not safe, so I guess if you really want to slap a big 'ole label on it, you have my permission. A friend of mine came up to me the other day and said (with a big smile), "Yesterday, due to my pre pre-lim stress, I ate a pound of raw cookie dough. What do you think about that?" Unfortunately, it was too late to print this Cookie Rookie certificate out for Jason. But it's not too late for you. Take the pledge today!
Another thing that comes to mind when I think about food safety is the danger zone - that is, between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. It's a dangerous place because that's where bacteria like to live and reproduce. When Nate and I first met, I taught him about the danger zone. He immediately made fun of me and to this day, still does. BUT, I will stand firm on the importance of keeping food at proper temperatures in order to reduce the risk of food borne illness.
Why am I all of the sudden talking about food safety on a blog that is supposed to keep you updated on our lives? Well, for helping spread the word about the importance of home food safety, I was entered into a drawing for a $15 Starbucks gift card and an iPad through Summertime Food Smarts, a contest run by the American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods' Home Food Safety program. Home Food Safety is dedicated to raising consumer awareness about the seriousness of foodborne illness and providing solutions for easily and safely handling foods. Learn more at http://www.homefoodsafety.org/
WOOHOO! I can write about something other than Louisa :)