There are many kinds of monsters in the world—the people who don’t hold the elevator even though they see you coming, the baristas who underfill your $8 coffee, and the bread-makers at Subway who think that an 11-inch sub counts as a footlong—but these do not hold a candle to the evilness and villainy of the proponents of healthy substitutes for regular food items—“healthifiers,” if you will. Those villains take our beloved greasy, oily, sugary, and anything-but-healthy comfort foods, and desecrate them by trying to make them nutritious. Their attempts are not only often counterproductive and not very effective, but they stand to ruin the singular joy that is devouring inherently unhealthy—yet delicious—food.
One recent example of this barbaric trend is the birth of the “bagel scoopers.” For those innocent souls who have yet to meet them, let me explain. You know those bagels that you love, with the fluffy inside, the crusty outside, and the wonderful carb-y aroma? The happiness you feel when you bite into a perfect one? Well, these barbarians do not. In the name of “health” and “fitness” and “carb-cutting,” bagel-scoopers insult the good name of pure carbs by scooping out the middle. They scoop out the soft centre, and then fill it up with low-fat cream cheese and top it with a sprinkle of sadness. Or maybe not—after all, sadness has a high sugar content.
When asked why, these villains respond with stories of carb-comas. They claim that reducing their intake of carbs makes them feel “lighter,” “better,” and “happier.” These are lies and slander. There are few positive results of bagel-scooping. The main reason people do it is to cut down on their intake of carbs, forgetting that we NEED CARBOHYDRATES TO SURVIVE. Carbohydrates are a major source of energy, helping to build essential proteins and lipids, preserve our muscles and aid the functioning of our gut bacteria. And they contain fibre, which helps you, um, go.
Other sinners (and perhaps more guilty ones) are those who try to change the humble pizza. They are easy to spot: They hang out around a vegan cafe, usually chanting blasphemies like, “Let’s make the crust out of cauliflower to cut on carbs!” or, “you should ALWAYS blot your slice to reduce the oil on it.” Blotting your pizza cuts a grand total of 76.5 calories. That’s it. You can burn that while sprinting to campus from New Residence Hall after oversleeping, by tapping your foot while waiting at Service Point for anyone to come help you, or while running across campus hunting down an elusive samosa sale.
The worst offenders of all are those who wear fake smiles while touting the benefits of zoodles. In case you’ve been living under a rock, zoodles are noodles made out of zucchini. Yes, I’m serious. Yes, you should go back under that rock; you’ll be safer there. Zucchini is great and delicious and there are plenty of incredible dishes based around it. Don’t make it something it’s not. It’s not a good base for bolognese sauce, it’s not an adequate replacement in a stir fry, and it’s definitely not a substitute for good old ramen. Writing this, I’m repressing some very terrible memories of zoodle-ramen with vegan chicken.
If you want a healthy and delicious meal, there are an infinite number of foods that are meant to be healthy to choose from. If you’re going to eat an unhealthy meal, let it remain so. In fact, if you eat a “healthy” substitute of an otherwise unhealthy food, you tend to increase your portion sizes, which often negates the point of choosing that option in the first place. So, stop this sacrilege. Go forth and enjoy a delicious, double-toasted, cream-cheese filled, lox-on-top bagel, just the way it was intended.