wings of desire

I have been hiding under the covers since before the Super Bowl game. This was not the weekend for peace-loving nutritionists. Too much head bashing and too many food blitzes for my liking.

Dear Sweet Luna

A few days prior to the game I was at the supermarket. I saw a shopping cart filled with about twelve cartons of frozen pepperoni pizza. I thought it was being used to stock the freezer section, till I saw a guy proceed with it to the check-out line. It vaguely dawned on me that this might be due to the game. I then saw legions of 2-liter soda bottles marching out the door along with armored tanks of beer. Little bags of celery sticks were unwittingly running behind. Little did they know they would soon meet their fate, drenched in fat-laden dip, in mouths that mindlessly devour whatever comes near.

While often feeling like the nutritional equivalent of Florence Nightingale, ready to mend and tend with soothing bowls of oatmeal and blueberries, this is a battlefield I will not administer to. Spectators and players alike are not innocent victims. They participate in this bloody sport of gladiator gore and gluttony of their own volition. The players come to score while the spectators come to gape and gorge.

Being big is an asset in football. However, even that begs a hefty question. How big is big enough? In 1970, only one player in the NFL was over three hundred pounds. Now 532 players or 25% of the league claim that distinction. This excessive mass is detrimental to the players and to their opponents alike. It is well documented that these very large offensive and defensive linemen suffer serious health consequences related to their size and eating behaviors after the end of their careers, and increasingly, while they are still active players. Even in this well-padded professional sports league with all the resources in the world, it is only recently that nutrition is being carefully considered. How do you promote strength and power in these guys without jeopardizing their health, and prevent turning them out to pasture to fend for themselves–often sooner than later.

So, if the guys with the big contracts hardly get the support they need, the shlubs on the couch in the den eating with pure Pavlovian abandon are entirely on their own when it comes reckoning time. Is it just me, or has the ferocity of the Super Bowl Game Glutton Fest actually increased in the past few years? Genteel women– including some of my own friends– now converse about watching the game, what team they are for and what they are serving. We have now been seriously programmed with Big Brother intensity to associate this event with bingeing. The Bowl brimmeth over.

While under the blankets with a flashlight, I read that the day of the game is called “Restaurant Christmas”.  An article in my newspaper about local food establishments anticipating the big day described a restaurant that “uses a computer spreadsheet to track orders and strategically positions 15 employees to produce and deliver the restaurant’s maximum capacity:  300 wings and seven pizzas every 15 minutes.  They expect to churn out more than 5,000 wings and in excess of 100 pizzas.”  I think that means 2,500 chickens and many tomatoes were sacrificed for the game plan just at this one place. Again I ask, can this possibly be?

I don’t mean to sound like a party pooper, though that’s not really a big problem ’cause I didn’t go to any party to poop on–though I did surprisingly actually have two invites.  One was from someone who doesn’t really know me and should be glad I didn’t show.  However, the whole scene just exaggerates our already extreme daily eating that severely compromises our health.  If this was truly a one-day event that would be one thing, but sadly, it isn’t. Or, if our health care system just had to carry the weight of a few shoulder injuries and some bruised egos, but that is not the reality either.

So, like that other February icon, Puxatawney Phil, I must try to venture out from my hole. If I don’t see another major food holiday in sight, maybe, just maybe, I can just predict a salubrious spring.

Happy Valentine’s Day.  Enjoy the Dark Chocolate.

Thanks for reading. And, thanks to my friend Marie for this encouraging post-game report:

Oh Elyn, Yes, I have noticed the increased Superbowl gluttony thing the past 3 or 4 years. The cooking channels were filled with tailgate Superbowl recipes all week. I did attend a Superbowl party at my nephew’s house– How could we not with two East Coast teams playing. There was a fair amount of the required beer, chicken wings, and crockpot meat-balls-in-sauce, but I was pleasantly surprised to see lots of green on the table: a tossed salad, edamame bean salad, a delicious mushroom dish, raw vegetable plate, etc. I contributed a low fat, no added sugar, fresh fruit trifle for halftime which was happily consumed. No pizza, no soda. The most dangerous part of the evening was watching my 81-year-old father almost have a heart attack watching Tom Brady make his final gasp – – a failed attempt at throwing the winning touchdown pass in the final seconds of the game. Thank you, God, all left very happy but not overstuffed.

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