The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of The Davis Clipper.
I was invited to attend the Lucky 13 Food Challenge, last week’s cholesterol-filled tournament for competitive eaters. I missed it; my stomach got queasy just thinking about it.
If I had attended, I could have seen a hearty eater who has put away 147 wings in 17 minutes challenge “The Bear,” who has eaten 27 tacos in five minutes and 24 chili dogs in 20 minutes. I could also have witnessed the crowning of a University of Utah mechanical engineering graduate student who munched his way to glory.
In less than one hour, Utah’s James Snead finished The Big Benny (a nearly three-pound burger more than one foot in height made of four 7-ounce patties topped with bacon, ham, cheese, and sauteed onion) before knocking down 14 more ounces of ground chuck topped with habanero puree and roasted peppers, all between two grilled-cheese sandwiches and stuffed with sauteed onions and another round of peppers. And, of course, Snead also devoured two orders of French fries.
The key to competitive eating, he says, is drinking massive amounts of water to stretch the stomach and avoiding crunching down on the peppers.
I’ll take his word for it. My idea of bingeing is ordering a slice of cheesecake after eating a 12-inch thin crust pizza. I sometimes feel guilty enjoying French fries; I gave up hash browns for Lent.
But even though I’m not a potential entrant into competitive eating, I do offer a suggestion. Why not have a similar challenge, The Cyclops Healthy Eating Tournament.
Here’s the idea. Contestants would have a 30-minute window in which they would have to finish a chilled salad containing blueberries (anti-oxidants), jicama (fiber), artichokes (potassium), spinach (iron), and tofu (protein), followed by drinking freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (vitamin C), and eating a six-ounce cut of grilled salmon (heart-healthy Omega 3). Entrants would then complete the challenge by jogging a mile and, at the finish line, eating a crisp Granny Smith apple.
Unlike the rules for the Lucky 13 Challenge (“No sharing, no getting up from your seat and vomiting”), the instructions for the Cyclops Healthy Eating Tournament are simple; “No burping, feel free to move about the salad bar, and refrain from telling other contestants how sausage is made.”
Instead of having hot dog purveyors and burger joints sponsor the competitive eating contests, we could find a yogurt company to fund the healthy eating competitions (Hey Chobani!)
Then again, watching healthy eating is not as entertaining as watching grown men stuff brisket, chili dogs, and jalapeno peppers down their throats. There’s something primal about males salivating over red meat. Real men eat bacon, not turkey sausage.
But if a yogurt company comes calling, Cyclops is ready to be one of the judges. It could do for vegetables what the Wright Brothers did for flight.