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OPINION: Leave carbs alone
I feel bad for carbs. When did things get so bad for those lovely yummy suckers? It all turned around so quickly. One minute they’re at the bottom of the heap, which in food group terminology is the top of the pile, the next they are vilified. “Eat more breads and cereals,” screamed the people who made the pyramid; so we did. And when our arses began increasing in size until nobody wanted to look at themselves in the mirror any longer, did we blame our sedentary lifestyles? Did we blame our twelve hours a day sitting on our backsides at work and then rushing home to cram in some more hours in front of the TV where we allowed ourselves to be brainwashed into eating things that, let’s face it, if we were not stuck in front of a computer all day doing mindless jobs, we would not be depressed enough to even contemplate eating? Did we blame computers and refuse to use them any longer? Did we blame beer? Wine? Kebabs? No, no, no. Surely this arse-growing phenomenon could not be linked to our precious Facebook and our booze. Good lord, what a suggestion! No, we levelled the blame at a convenient patsy: carbohydrates. Gosh, we gave it to them.
Suddenly people started grumbling about conspiracy: the grain growers and the dairy farmers being in charge of the food pyramid. Bread, pasta and rice – all victims of carb vilification. No one’s giving it to fat or protein! As if protein was somehow magically kilojoule-free. Please. Protein is suddenly that hot, vapid and really mean heiress who everyone loves but who actually just shows up everywhere smiling in people’s faces and saying mean things behind their backs, ruining everything, and why is it that no one can see that but the poor morally upstanding, used-to-be-the-most-popular-girl carb in the corner?
What happened? When did carbs change so dramatically? Poor carbs. They’re just sitting there being delicious, the perfect way to fill out a fat-free meal. Is the problem really carbs? Or is it that they taste good with everything else? Can they help it that they’re so versatile and present in almost everything?
Poor carbs. One minute it’s the paragon of health and fitness to ‘carbo-load’ and the only way to lose weight is to eat nothing but rice and fish; the next it’s all the beef you can eat, hold the misunderstood carbs.
I feel terrible about the fate that’s befallen them, destined forever in the annals of time to be victims of a western diet obsession. It’s just your turn, carbs. Fat had a go some way back. I’m sure protein will be next and then we’ll move back to blaming micronutrients and the big three can have a break altogether.
I’m thinking of you, carbs.
Maxine Kauter is a musician, writer, cycling enthusiast and blowhard from Sydney. Her band, the Maxine Kauter Band, has performed around the country and is set to release a third album this year. Her writing has appeared across a number of blogs, including those of the Australian Museum and Royal Ontario Museum.