Cross Contamination

Mar2013ChauhanOne of my favorite laundry folding techniques is to watched Chopped during the process. I really don’t mind the mounds of laundry my family produces if I get to watch Ted Allen dole out judgments on amazingly random basket ingredients. Let Maneet Chauhan or Geoffrey Zakarian be on the panel that day – so much the better.

While watching this particular episode, a chef nicked her finger. Nothing major, only a little, yet constant, blood. She attempted, then removed, the bandage. She said it hindered her ability to work. She then proceeded to hand toss her salad.

I knew the judges weren’t going to eat that. Regardless of how delicious it looked, regardless that most of the basket ingredients were in that salad, regardless that the rest of the plate suggested the salad was a masterpiece…they were not going to eat it. It had been contaminated.

She got chopped.

Let me go on record as saying that I truly appreciate passionate, engaged, and principled people. Too many in our society have checked out and fail to require resources that allow them to make informed decisions.

That being said, many are hand tossing salads with bloody fingers.

This is not a new thing – correlating unrelated topics as if they somehow had some type of obvious symbiotic relationship when they actually do not.

But it smacked me in the head the other day while listening to Rich Roll’s podcast (still one of my favorites, by the way).

Rich’s guest was nutritionist and dietitian Andy Bellatti MS, RD. The topic, more or less, was real food and the education that is lacking in the nutrition industry. What I heard Andy say, among a host of other brilliant ideas, was that a major hindrance to the education movement was the inability of differing groups to come together as a conglomerate to flex some collective power (total paraphrase).

I see this all the time. Ethical vegans have issues with dietary vegans who blast the paleos who insist the veggies have small brains. Vegetarians are perceived as fence riders who are really more or less glorified hipsters who just discovered that PBR is, in fact, one of the best beers ever. GMO Labelers assume capitalists could care less about the plight and breastfeeders swear that formula moms are intentionally killing their children. And let’s not even start on the vaccination fronts.

Separate-2Coca Cola has none of these problems. Neither does Duncan Hines. Or McDonald’s.

Andy is on to something. Rich agrees. So do I.

And then Rich mentions gun legislation. Huh? That’s weird. But, years in the Navy has taught me message filtering so, whatever. But then he does it again. Andy seems to not notice. But I notice. And I am betting a bunch of other folks did too. The topic has just gained the characteristic that everyone just agreed was killing the message to begin with – cross contaminated.

Then there is an excellent post promoting the currently hot “Strong is the new Skinny” mantra. The post is fresh, irreverent, and all the things I love about passionate writing. And then she decided to calls particular politicians “stupid twit.” Cross contaminated.

Today I was introduced to some amazingly informative videos about corporate tactics in the food industry. I also learned that most of the problems are caused by the brainwashing perpetrated by the right wing. In addition, if the nanny state was what we needed, then that probably wasn’t a terrible thing – government involvement wasn’t all bad.

Nevermind this is the same government that makes formula feeding more lucrative than breast feeding, mandates government control of childhood vaccinations, creates the black market for raw milk, and a host of other ideas that usually produce ire.

Completely cross contaminated.

The definition of communication includes this beautiful nugget

a technique for expressing ideas effectively

We are not communicating effectively when we cross contaminate. We are not, I dare say, communicating at all.

Let’s take this and see if I can make up some fictitious examples

Food labeling is imperative in our society. Knowing where food comes from and whether or not the food we are buying is genetically modified is a consumer right and should be required by the food manufacturers. We don’t believe in killing our children in the womb. Shouldn’t we be informed on how we are caring for them once they are out.

Sugary drinks are a detriment to the health of our nation. They cause a myriad of health problems and produce increase health costs. You are smart enough to protect your home with a firearm from unwelcome intruders. Doesn’t it make sense to protect it from artificial sweeteners?

Yeah, it doesn’t sound any better the last dozen or so times I have heard it done either.

You now know that I have a love for Chopped and a distaste for contamination. I intentionally did not discuss my thoughts on vaccination, raw milk, babies, abortion, guns, or sugar. I can do that in a whole other blog post. Or a different video. Or podcast. Or article.

Please, allow me to introduce myself and assure you I am not alone. I am self educated and self aware. I am free thinking and ever growing. I am not lumpable. I agree with a variety of people on a variety of things. I disagree with some of those same people on different things. I want to learn so that I can become a better steward. I want to understand differing ideas so that I do not become arrogant and close minded. But if my greens are continually tossed with bloody fingers, I simply cannot consume it and we both lose.


**Picture Credits


  1. Ouch! Hammer->nail.

    While I was reading this I couldn’t help but think about the vegan thing as an example, I think it’s cross contaminated with unrelated stereotypes that keep some people from even considering it, regardless of any facts you stick in our faces. I think it might make it simpler if, to use your phrase, vegans weren’t “lumpable.” The first thing I think of when I hear vegan is dreadlocks, dope smoking, liberal, no job, red?yellow/green hemp poncho, Bob Marley necklace, tree hugging, make love not war, hippie, and I don’t think I’m alone. Even though I know there is no correlation between any of it, it’s difficult to get past for some which negates anything positive being heard.

    Just an example, there are hundreds more. I blame the internet.

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