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0719 Eating Unhealthy Foods

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 719: Eating Unhealthy Foods.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 719. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is eslpod.com. Support this podcast by becoming an ESL Podcast member. When you do, you can download a Learning Guide for each episode.

This episode is called “Eating Unhealthy Food,” food that would be bad for your health. We’ll listen to a dialogue between Helen and Gabe about some unhealthy foods. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Helen: So, what’s for lunch?

Gabe: Since you were nice enough to spend your Saturday morning helping me out, I’ll make sandwiches for lunch. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but I make a mean sandwich.

Helen: That sounds good, but you’re not going to use those cold cuts, are you?

Gabe: I was. Why?

Helen: Those are processed meats made with additives and a lot of sodium – definitely not what you’d want to put into your body.

Gabe: I eat these kinds of cold cuts all the time.

Helen: You shouldn’t if you don’t want to eat a lot saturated fat.

Gabe: Okay, how about if I make us salads.

Helen: Not with those greens. Unless they’re organic, they’re full of pesticides and chemicals.

Gabe: [sighs] All right, how about if I make us healthy smoothies?

Helen: Only if you use only fresh fruit. Bottled juices are full of high-fructose corn syrup. Yuck!

Gabe: I’ve got a great idea.

Helen: What?

Gabe: You pick the restaurant and I’ll buy you lunch.

Helen: I don’t want to put you to any trouble.

Gabe: It’s no trouble at all. [Said under his breath] I’d do anything to get you out of my kitchen!

[end of dialogue]

Helen begins our dialogue by asking Gabe, “So, what’s for lunch?” meaning what are we going to eat for lunch. Gabe says, “Since you were nice enough to spend your Saturday morning helping me out, I’ll make sandwiches for lunch.” “To help someone out” means to help another person. Here, “out,” like in a lot of phrasal verbs, has more of a meaning of emphasis. “To help someone” and “to help them out” are really the same thing. Often we use this when another person helps you do some job that you need to get done; they don’t have to but they decide to help you – they help you out.

Gabe is going to make sandwiches for lunch; he says, “I know it doesn’t sound like much, but I make a mean sandwich.” The expression “to not sound like much” means to appear to be unimportant, not significant, no big deal. Gabe says he makes a mean (mean) sandwich. “Mean” isn’t a kind of meat or something you put in the sandwich. It’s an adjective which normally is negative; “to be mean” means to be unkind, not nice. But, it has an informal use, which is that it is excellent, it is great. So, when Gabe says he makes a mean sandwich, he means he makes a very good sandwich. For some reason, there are lots of words in English that have a negative meaning in the dictionary in their normal meanings, but for some reason have become positive in informal English. These change every year; many of them are part of slang so I won’t talk about them at length, but “mean” is an example of one that has been around for many years.

Helen says, “That sounds good, but you’re not going to use those cold cuts, are you?” “Cold cuts” (cuts) are thin pieces of what we would call “processed” meat, things like bologna, pastrami, turkey, roast beef, ham; all of these could be called “cold cuts” when you cut them in thin pieces and use them for a sandwich.

Gabe says, “I was (meaning I was going to use the cold cuts). Why?” Helen says, “Those are processed meats made with additives and a lot of sodium.” “Processed meats” are meats that are somehow changed; it’s not the same as when it came out of the animal. They have done something to it – added, subtracted, changed it somehow. “Process” has a couple of different meanings in English however; take a look at our Learning Guide for some additional explanations. Processed meats often have additives. “To add” means to have more of something, so an “additive” is something that is extra, something that is put in the food or some other substance in addition to what normally goes in there. It could be a chemical; it could be some other substance; it could be just something to change the color of the food. “Sodium” is another word for salt. Technically, it would be sodium chloride; in chemistry class you learn it as NaCl. There was a great line that my chemistry teacher in high school taught us: “Little Johnny took a drink / But little Johnny is no more / ‘Cause what he thought was H2O / Was really H2SO4.” This has nothing to do with sodium now that I realize it, but I love that little rhyme! “H2O” is water and “H2SO4” is sulfuric acid, which would kill you. That’s why little Johnny, when he drank the H2SO4is no more, because he’s dead. For some reason, that’s the only thing I remember from my high school chemistry class!

Anyway, Helen says that you definitely do not want to put these processed meats into your body, meaning eat them. Gabe says, “I eat these kinds of cold cuts all the time.” Helen says, “You shouldn’t if you don’t want to eat a lot saturated fat.” “Saturated fat” is a type of fat that is solid, not liquid, at room temperature, mostly found in animal products. Saturated fat is thought to be bad for your heart, among other things. Helen says so if you don’t want saturated fat you should not eat cold cuts.

Gabe says, “Okay, how about if I make us salads.” Helen says, “Not with those greens.” “Greens” refer to vegetables – green vegetables, usually lettuce or spinach, perhaps kale; these are greens that you use in a salad. But Helen says, “Not with those greens. Unless they’re organic, they’re full of pesticides and chemicals.” “Organic,” in general, means grown without using any artificial or man-made chemicals; it has more technical definitions depending on who you talk to. Helen says that the greens are full of pesticides and chemicals. “Pesticide” is a chemical used to kill bugs and insects and other living things that could hurt or damage the vegetables or other food that you are growing. We call food that you grow to eat “crops” (crops) – not to be confused with “crap” (crap), which is what you can buy at McDonald’s! Now, pesticides are supposed to kill insects, but some people think they also harm or can make humans sick. “Chemicals” is a general word for any substance, in this case, created in a laboratory by scientists for a particular purpose. Again, it has a broader use, which we won’t talk about here.

Gabe sighs; he goes “hhhha.” “To sigh” is to breathe out through your mouth so that other people can hear you; “hhhha,” that’s to sigh. Gabe sighs and says, “All right, how about if I make us healthy smoothies?” A “smoothie” is a thick, cold drink made with fruit, ice, usually milk, some juice – some fruit juice, sometimes with frozen yogurt or ice cream. It’s a thick fruity drink, you could call it. Helen says, “Only if you use only fresh fruit.” She says, “Bottled juices are full of high-fructose corn syrup. Yuck!” “High-fructose corn syrup” is a sweet liquid made from corn that is used many times instead of sugar in processed foods. It can be found in many different kinds of food. Some people think it’s bad for you, so that’s why Helen says, “Yuck!” “Yuck” is a word we use to mean it doesn’t taste very good; it’s not good for you to eat.

Gabe says, “I’ve got a great idea.” Helen says, “What?” Gabe says, “You pick the restaurant and I’ll buy you lunch.” Helen says, “I don’t want to put you to any trouble.” When you say you “don’t want to put (someone) to any trouble” you mean you don’t want to create problems for them; you don’t want to create extra work for them. Of course, Helen doesn’t want to eat anything that Gabe is preparing, so Gabe says okay, well let’s go to a restaurant, and you pick the restaurant. Helen is what we might call a “pain in the butt.” Gabe says, “It’s no trouble at all that,” but of course it is a trouble and so he says under his breath, “I’d do anything to get you out of my kitchen!” “To say something under your breath” means to say it quietly to yourself so that the other person can’t hear you or can’t hear exactly what you’re saying.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Helen: So, what’s for lunch?

Gabe: Since you were nice enough to spend your Saturday morning helping me out, I’ll make sandwiches for lunch. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but I make a mean sandwich.

Helen: That sounds good, but you’re not going to use those cold cuts, are you?

Gabe: I was. Why?

Helen: Those are processed meats made with additives and a lot of sodium – definitely not what you’d want to put into your body.

Gabe: I eat those kinds of cold cuts all the time.

Helen: You shouldn’t if you don’t want to eat a lot saturated fat.

Gabe: Okay, how about if I make us some salads.

Helen: Not with those greens. Unless they’re organic, they’re full of pesticides and chemicals.

Gabe: [sighs] All right, how about if I make us healthy smoothies?

Helen: Only if you use only fresh fruit. Bottled juices are full of high-fructose corn syrup. Yuck!

Gabe: I’ve got a great idea.

Helen: What?

Gabe: You pick the restaurant and I’ll buy you lunch.

Helen: I don’t want to put you to any trouble.

Gabe: It’s no trouble at all. [Said under his breath] I’d do anything to get you out of my kitchen!

[end of dialogue]

Our scriptwriter helps us out every episode. That’s why we want to thank Dr. Lucy Tse for her wonderful work.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2011 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to help (someone) out – to help another person, especially informally and when one is not obligated to help, but chooses to do so

* If you have a minute, can you please help me out with the laundry?

to not sound like much – to appear to be insignificant, unimportant, or unimpressive

* Making $30,000 per year may not sound like much, but it’s almost twice as much as he was making in his previous job.

to make a mean sandwich – to make a very good sandwich that is better than most other sandwiches

* This deli makes a mean sandwich. Their tuna salad sandwiches are the best in town!

cold cuts – thinly sliced, processed meat put on sandwiches, like bologna, pastrami, turkey, roast beef, and ham

* That was a really healthy salad before you put all those cold cuts on top.

processed – manufactured; not natural; changed from its natural form through some manmade process

* Processed products like apple juice and applesauce have less fiber and fewer vitamins than whole foods like raw apples.

additive – chemicals or other substances that are added to foods or medicines, usually to change their color, texture, or taste

* With so many additives, are those crackers even real food?

sodium – salt; sodium chloride; NaCl

* A high-sodium diet is associated with high blood pressure.

saturated fat – a type of fat that is a solid (not liquid) at room temperature, mostly found in animal products

* Whole milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream are high in saturated fat.

greens – leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, and kale

* These greens would be delicious tossed with oil and vinegar dressing, parmesan cheese, and croutons.

organic – grown without using artificial or manmade chemicals

* Organic produce usually isn’t very pretty, because insects often damage the fruits and vegetables.

pesticide – a chemical used to kill insects and other living things that damage or kill crops (plants grown for food, clothing, or other purposes)

* Can washing vegetables with soap and warm water remove all the dangerous pesticides?

chemical – a substance created in a laboratory for a particular purpose

* DDT used to be sprayed in agricultural areas, but now people know it is a dangerous chemical that hurts birds and humans.

to sigh – to exhale heavily; to breathe out through one’s mouth so that it can be heard, usually to show that one is tired or disappointed

* As Gabe stared out the window and thought about his mistakes, he sighed.

smoothie – a thick, cold drink made by mixing fruit, ice, and milk, juice, frozen yogurt, or ice cream in a blender

* Every morning, Helena makes a smoothie from bananas, frozen peaches, and nonfat milk.

high-fructose corn syrup – a sweet liquid made from corn, often used as an inexpensive substitute for sugar in manufactured, processed foods

* Sindu won’t let his children eat anything made with high-fructose corn syrup.

to not want to put (someone) to any trouble – to not want to create problems or additional work for another person

* I don’t want to put you to any trouble, but I’m allergic to eggs, milk, and wheat, so I can’t eat anything you’ve served.

under (one’s) breath – said quietly so that another person cannot hear what one says

* Huwasa was very frustrated with her co-worker. When they finally finished the project, she said, “We never would have finished this on time without your help,” but under her breath she added, “but we probably would have finished it a week earlier!”

Comprehension Questions
1. What does Gabe originally offer to make for Helen?
a) A very spicy sandwich.
b) A very large, filling sandwich.
c) A very good, tasty sandwich.

2. What is a smoothie?
a) A fruit salad.
b) A fruit-based drink.
c) A fruity dessert.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
processed

The word “processed,” in this podcast, means manufactured, changed from the natural form through some manmade process: “Processed food that has been packaged for weeks seldom tastes as good as natural, fresh food.” The verb “to process” can mean to handle paperwork: “How long will it take the agency to process our application for a business license?” The verb “to process” can also mean to develop a photograph, printing it onto special paper: “Professional photographers might process hundreds of photographs before finding the one they want to try to sell.” Finally, “data processing” refers to the process of entering information into a computer and/or processing it: “Olive has a data-processing job at the bank, where she spends all day typing account numbers into a computer.”

greens

In this podcast, the word “greens” means leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, and kale: “Greens are a great source of fiber, vitamin A, and minerals.” In golf, a “green,” is the flat grassy area around the hole where players are trying to hit the ball: “Hank hit a great putt on the 13th green.” The word “green” can refer to a person who cares about the environment or an action or attitude that benefits the environment: “Rachel Carson was one of the first American greens.” Or, “The office is trying to become more green by encouraging recycling and installing energy-efficient light bulbs.” Finally, a “green card” is the document that shows a non-U.S. citizen is legally allowed to live and work in the United States.

Culture Note
Health-Food and Diet Fads

Many “fads” (ideas and behaviors that become very popular very quickly, and then are forgotten) are related to food and especially healthy eating.

One past health-food fad was the low-fat diet. People tried to minimize the percentage of their “calories” (measurement of food energy) that came from fats. Over time, people began to “differentiate” (see differences) among different types of fats. They believed it was best to “avoid” (not have or use) “saturated fats” (animal-based fats), but that “monosaturated” or “polysaturdated fats” could be healthy “in moderation” (without extremes; without too little or too much of something). More recently, people have become concerned with avoiding “trans fats” which are found in highly processed foods.

Over time, low-fat diets “gave way to” (lost popularity as something else becomes more popular) low-“”carb” (carbohydrate) diets and especially the Atkins diet. People became “obsessed with” (very concerned and preoccupied or always thinkingg about) reducing the percentage of their calories that came from carbohydrates. They tended to eat a lot of “animal products” (foods made from animal sources), like meats and cheeses.

Other health-food fads focus on “vegetarian” (eating no meaet) or “vegan” (eating no meat, eggs, or milk) diets, eating only organic foods, or eating only local foods that are grown within a certain number of miles of where one lives.

Most “nutritionists” (doctors and others who specialize in knowing what people should eat for good health) advise moderation in everything. They recommend eating a “balanced diet” (with a little bit of everything) that focuses on high-“”fiber” (the part of food that is not as easily digested), “whole” (not processed) foods, “complex carbohydrates” (carbs found in whole grains, not simple sugars), and reduced-fat “dairy products” (foods made from milk).

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - b