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I'm just sayin' - Thoughts about Doritos, nutrition habits and dogs

While browsing the Internet for news headlines recently, one caught my attention. It’s not political nor is it about current events and it’s not even something to think much about, until I started wrapping my eclectic curiosity and circular logic around it. The headline was “Reasons for the freshman 15.” It was on the Drudge Report website and referenced the Fox News website.

As you may or may not know, the “freshman 15” is commonly referred to as the amount of weight most high school graduates put on during their first year of college - some a lot more, some less. That got me thinking about our eating habits, which led to curious musings about food, humans and dogs. In many ways, we don’t consume nutrition the proper way and we often consume food in the manner of a male dog.

Have you ever watched a dog eat, especially a male dog? A dog will eat as much as he can and as fast as he can, whether it is meat, dry dog food, vegetables, sweets, etc. Why is that? It probably goes back to his ancient ancestors and the competition for food (get as much as you can as fast as you can before it is eaten by another dog). A female dog will be a bit more particular and dainty about what it eats (but not as finicky as a cat). It occurred to me that humans are much the same as a male dog.

If you are of a particular age, you will remember something called the Swedish Smorgasbord from the 1960s. It was the precursor to today’s buffet-style restaurants but with fewer choices. It was basically two meats, mashed potatoes and gravy, a green and yellow vegetable, maybe some lettuce salad, and some cake. So it was “take as much as you want as often as you want for one price.” I remember when I and some of my teammates from the St. Cloud State football team walked into one of these establishments in St. Cloud in 1967. By the time we left, the owner asked us not to come back unless we paid double. Apparently he thought we ate too much food! We must have looked like a pack of male dogs eating as much as we could as fast as we could.

Or, here is another example: Did you ever start eating a large bag of Doritos and didn’t stop until it was all gone? I confess I have done that and it seems a bit like a dog feed. Eat fast so you don’t have to share them!

My Uncle Henry and I used to sit and watch Gunsmoke every week and eat potato chips with onion dip. His favorite story about me as a 10-year-old boy was when I told him, “Don’t eat so fast and take so much. There won’t be enough for me.” We seem to have an inner sense about food that tends to make us eat more and faster than what is necessary. (As I have gotten older, I don’t have that urge anymore. I get tired of chewing.)

Then there is the subject matter of “competitive eating.” What is that? This is a sport? It seems to be more of an indication of the inner drive in some people to eat as much as they can as fast as they can.

The subject of nutrition and our eating habits is probably the single biggest contributor to health problems in our country, and it probably is the thing we resist changing the most. I’m just sayin’.

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“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” – Francois de La Rochefoucauld

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DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.