In yet another cruel twist of food-poisoning fate, it turns out that 77 percent of the hundreds of Germans hit with a violent new strain of E. Coli are women -- mostly healthy, active women between the ages of 20 and 60 with an apparent taste for vegetable sprouts (now thought to be the cause of the outbreak). As my kids would whine, that's not fair!!!
A gal's not supposed to be rewarded for her healthy eating efforts with massive gastrointestinal distress, kidney failure, or even a coma! Wtf, universe??
Is this a sign unto us that we should put aside our frivolous, salad-eating ways and return to the virtues of a Cheese Doodles and Pop Tarts diet? I don't want to give up my veggies, but if I have to choose between living on Twinkies and being smote down by some disastrous plague, Twinkies it is.
If I lived in Germany, I might be thanking my kids for saving my life right about now. See, I used to love sprouts, and then I got pregnant with my first child, and there on the tippity-top of the "DON'T EAT THESE OR ELSE" list of foods to avoid while pregnant was vegetable sprouts. Raw sprouts (alfalfa, clove, radish, whatever) are known to harbor listeria, which can cause severe pregnancy complications. So I got out of the habit of eating sprouts for nine months, expecting to go back to my favorite salad topper after my daughter was born. But I didn't.
Instead, I remember standing in the produce section of the grocery store with my baby strapped snugly to my chest, staring at the various types of sprouts and thinking to myself: If I didn't want listeria when I was pregnant, why would I want it now? That was the last thing I needed: Dealing with listeria and a 24/7 nursing newborn at the same time!
Anyway, I've wondered several times over the past few years whether I was being rationally cautious or crazy paranoid about avoiding sprouts. Now I'm tempted to think that my continuing suspicion regarding the safety of sprouts was my body's way of telling me, "Just don't even go there." And I'm glad I listened.
Will you keep eating sprouts?
Image via Jessica Reeder/Flickr