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Crunch Compulsion

I love chips. I can't stop myself. I see a folded chip -- I gotta eat it!

A frequent statement I've made to friends and family, past and present -- even when talking with clients or teaching nutrition/diabetes classes, "I've never met a chip I didn't like".

I share this as I, just like you, love to eat foods that make me smile -- whether they're "healthy" for me or not.

What is it about that chip -- a delectable sight to behold -- twice folded over with an extra crunch of deliciousness!

This has been a lifelong obsession most likely stemming from the days as a kid when chips were considered a treat. With nine kids in my family and rarely eating out or indulging in snack foods, "fun" foods like this were in short supply.

My son even understood this compulsion. I remember a Mother's Day so long ago -- he made me lunch which included the curled over tortilla chips that he lovingly picked out of the bag. He knew how special those were to me.

I thought it was just me with some wierd obsession. At a recent visit with my sister, Martha and niece, Aubree, we actually spent quite some time discussing how we dig through the bag in search of the treasure -- the chip that is folded over -- the chip that is fried together with another for the ultimate treat!

Why don't chip companies just make bags of these? I have been known to pick out all these "specials" and throw the rest away.

The back patio at the Long Beach VA where we had lunch that day.

When I decided to leave the VA, my staff and I planned a few events to mark my departure. One of my favorites was our lunch where we shared -- you guessed it -- chips.

Above is the actual picture taken at the Long Beach VA patio where we had lunch that day. We had the standard Lay's variety all the way up to the fancy gourmet versions. I believe we had about 10 different varieties. It was fabulous.

What a scandal -- the clinical nutrition staff eating chips for lunch!!!

We loved it.

The horror?!? -- a dietitian admitting she loves and eats chips! Life is about choices.

I believe all things can fit, in the right way.....

How to make the best of what I think is a good thing:

1. Choose organic, non-GMO.

The topic of GMO is quite controversial. Although there are potential risks involved with the practice of genetic engineering of plant species, GMO foods themselves cannot be classified as totally unhealthy just yet.

Other related factors may really be the issue causing adverse effects -- like the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup), which is sprayed on GMO crops. This herbicide has been shown to have bad effects to humans and the environment.

There are currently two food labels that indicate the absence of GMO's for consumers: the USDA Organic label and the Non-GMO Project Verified seal.

GMO's, toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, artificial colors and flavors are all prohibited under USDA organic regulations.

The US federal government has done nothing in regards to regulation and enforcement of the “Non-GMO” label.

Companies can put the “Non-GMO” label on its packaging without any need for independent, third-party testing. These may not be totally accurate.

I look, instead, for the NON-GMO Project Verified seal as there are strict standards that must be followed and a third-party inspection is required.

So remember, just because there's a label on a food identifying non-GMO ingredients it doesn’t mean it is pesticide and herbicide free.

It means that no genetically modified organisms are in the food, but other chemical residue may be present.

Bottom line:

  • "Organic" trumps "Non-GMO Project Verified".

  • Non-GMO Project Verified" trumps conventional foods with no GMO labeling or just a statement on the label that the product is non-GMO.

2. Choose one with healthy oil.

It's getting easier to find chips made with olive oil. Popular brands are Boulder Canyon and Kettle brands. They're easy to find on the internet, but have yet to see them at my local grocery store.

I look for oils that are cold pressed, expeller and definitely steer clear of soybean, corn, cottonseed and any hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

3. Buy a smaller bag or share with others to limit portions.

4. Out of sight, out of mind.

Keep bags tucked away in a cupboard. I even resort to putting them in the deep reaches of my freezer to avoid grabbing for them too frequently.

Good, bad or whatever -- Let's not forget -- these delectable treats are made from potatoes.

According to RYGforHealth, a serving of any kind of chip (check the nutrition label) is equal to a food in the RED list - containing about 15 g carb per serving.

How do I fit them in? Instead of bread, rice, or other carbs at a meal I would eat them with salad and some protein, like chicken.

The picture at the beginning of this blog Is an actual photo I took 3 years ago. The fact that I took a picture of a chip, saved it in my iPhone and am now telling you about it, speaks volumes of my love and appreciation.

"I've never met a chip I didn't like".

But after really thinking about it.... I lied.

There is one chip -- The shrimp chip. Maybe it's because I've never really liked shrimp.

I have memories of my piano teacher, Mrs. Gálvez, making shrimp chips -- watching them explode into fluffy morsels as they were dropped into hot oil.

They were spectacular. As I bit into them I was expecting the taste of a Cheeto or corn twist, only to be so disappointed with shrimp.

I have tried at various times of my life to retry shrimp chips, thinking my tastes have evolved or become more sophisticated. The same result, UGH!

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