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*Puts on ranty pants*

OK.  Nik & I have been trying out a fun iOS app called Pact. It’s been around for a while, but in case you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically just like gambling.

Waheeeeey there! All righty, it’s probably legally iffy to say that. It’s not gambling. You simply make a deal to have healthier daily habits through one of three measurable ways, and if you keep it up for a week you earn a little bit of money. If you don’t stick with it, you owe them money. It’s basically just like betting. Wait. No, no. No.

Anyway. You make a pact to go to the gym, say, 3 times this week, and if you miss a day you’ll have to pay a small sum, usually $5. When you go to the gym, you check in with the app. If you miss a day, you owe 5 bucks. If you don’t miss any days, you & everybody else who won the bet fulfilled their pact gets to split the cash from the wimps who slacked off. It comes out to a small amount — so far for me, a bit over a buck a week — but after a while it adds up.

Pact also lets you earn money by logging your food & for eating fruits & vegetables, the latter of which they quote-unquote “verify” by having you take a picture of your plate & having Pact users vote on whether it’s actually a fruit/vegetable & deciding whether you’re actually eating it. Having money at stake is supposed to incentivize you to keep healthier habits. There’s nothing to stop you from casually leaning over some healthy person’s plate, dropping Frito crumbs in their lap, to snap a photo of their spinach salad or whatever & claim it’s yours. Nothing except your own conscience. It’s hardly the most foolproof system, but cheating doesn’t exactly rake in massive amounts of cash — it probably takes less effort & yields more reward to search your couch cushions for change or take bottles to the recycler.

I thought this would be fun to try & possibly rewarding. I already go to the gym. I already log my food. I already eat fruit & vegetables. My habits don’t need incentivizing. I do not “slack off.”

Nik’s the same except she doesn’t log her food, so she doesn’t do that pact. Point being, this is pretty much a gimme. We’re basically earning a couple bucks here & there doing shit we already do, except we have to push a button once in a while. I can do that.

I got no beef with the app itself. Works reasonably well.

My problem is with what some fucking dipshits out there think is “a serving of fruits or vegetables.” This is a sampling of photos of stuff Nik & I have seen recently:

  • A leaf of lettuce inside a turkey sandwich
  • A Dixie cup of salsa
  • A Dixie cup of applesauce
  • Half a Dixie cup of pomegranate seeds
  • Like 3 or 4 fucking berries in a bowl of oatmeal
  • A cheese burrito
  • The blueberries at the bottom of a yogurt cup
  • A grape-flavored popsicle
  • Vitamin Water
  • One single tiny clementine
  • The tomato slice and pickles that come on a burger
  • A few strawberries covered in Nutella and Fluff
  • An empty glass that allegedly contained orange juice
  • One single hot pepper
  • A bag of peanuts
  • Parsley
  • Rice with some kind of spices sprinkled on it
  • A Bloody Mary
  • A glass of water with a slice of lime on the rim
  • A big plate of meat with no vegetables at all

It’s driving both of us bananas. Speaking of bananas, I’ve never seen so many pictures of bananas. It’s all people eat. Jesus Christ. All people do on there is post pictures of bananas. For every stalk of broccoli you see on Pact, there are at least 59 pictures of bananas. Bananas are great. They are nutritious & tasty. Eat a green fucking vegetable once in a while too.

None of this stuff above is a full serving of fruits or vegetables. Rice with spices on it, for fuck’s sake. Rice isn’t a goddam vegetable — it’s a grain.  Just because it’s a plant, that doesn’t make it a vegetable. A grape-flavored popsicle? Stick it up your ass. I voted it down, but noticed that it already had five thumbs-up votes. FIVE people thought that was fine. It takes somewhere between five and ten to get your veggie photo approved. So chances are, it got by. Vitamin Water? This stuff is garbage. It’s basically soda with a token amount of vitamins in it, the bioavailability of which is probably under debate.  A Bloody Mary? I don’t even know where to begin. Is a screwdriver also a fruit serving? What if you had a martini — does the olive count as a veggie?

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I’m not exaggerating about the glass of water with the slice of lime on it. Here it is.

Fuck right off.

You think I’m kidding about the big plate of meat? Someone thought this was “a vegetable.” Also they spelled it “meet.”

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Note someone gave it a “thumbs-up.”

God! People are fucking morons! Eat some goddam vegetables!

People seem to be confusing “plant matter” with “vegetables.” Like the rice. Or oatmeal. These things are grains. They’re not vegetables.

Some shit skirts the line of what is a fruit/veg & what isn’t. They get the letter but not the spirit of the law. They’re less like vegetables & more like “vegetables,” said with finger quotes. Those stupid Naked drinks. People post that stuff all the time. I looked up the ingredients. It’s basically overpriced fruit juice & some fruit puree & occasionally a bit of soy lecithin to help it slide out of the bottle. [Deep parental sigh] I mean, I guess it’s “technically” a “fruit” “serving.” But that’s not really in the spirit of “eat a serving of vegetables.”

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People post photos of bottles of coconut water. Again, I guess … but really no. That’s not so much fruit as it is quote-unquote “fruit.” A bag of peanuts? Come on! Peanuts are legumes, so technically fine whatever they’re considered vegetables, but fuck you. I’ve seen people post pictures of frozen veggie burger patties, thinking they’re vegetables. I know it’s made with vegetables, but for fuck’s sake no, no — a thousand times HELL NO. Just STOP.

Some photos are confusing. Like this. How the hell do I know what this really is?

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You’re supposed to take pictures of stuff & make it clear you’re eating it for realsies. Occasionally you see chopping boards with a load of onions on it. WELL WHAT THE FUCK. Yes I know onions are a vegetable, but are you eating all those onions? Is that it? Or are you just preparing the seasoning base for some bigger dinner? Is a bunch of god damned onions the only vegetable you’re going to eat that meal?

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Other stuff is just flat-out fucking cheating. I once saw a picture of tangerines that looked to be on the shelf at the grocery store. I counted ten of them (10). In fact more than once I’ve seen photos of stuff that was clearly on the shelf at the grocery store.

This is causing some stress. Nik’s baseline mood at mealtimes, when she snaps pictures of her vegetables for her pact, is one of utter flabbergastery.  Then she’ll wave her phone at me & say, “Oh hell no. Chinese food with TWO PIECES OF BROCCOLI IN IT? Why are people so stupid?” Then she starts hunching over & attacking the screen & muttering. Then we rant at each other about why do these people not know what in the purple striped fuck “a vegetable” is, & why do so many people apparently eat nothing but bananas, get some variety for god’s sake, & this evolves into a conversation about how brain-dead people are in general, & how the American public school system has failed multiple generations of students because nobody can identify a son-of-a-bitching vegetable anymore, & we both end up spiraling & staring at the baby, worried. Someday she’ll have to go to public school & deal with these people too.

At school, they’ll give her pizza & consider that a “vegetable” because it’s got tomato sauce on it. Son of a bitch.

Everyone knows that’s fucked up, & yet that’s the kind of thing you see on Pact all the time.

I guess you could argue that these poor attempts are better than nothing, or that they’re better than what these people did before. OK. Good. Now try harder.

Generally speaking we don’t give a shit what other people eat. Put whatever fucking garbage in your mouth. Eat pigeons & rocks for all I care. Free country. But few things make my wife as angry as people Not Getting It. And that’s what’s most annoying. Not that people eat unhealthily or semi-healthily, but that people just are Not Getting It. If you think rice is a vegetable, you are Not Getting It. If you think having a slice of lime with your water is a fruit serving, you are Not Getting It. If you think a grape-flavored popsicle is a fruit, you are Not Getting It. You are, in fact, Dumb As Hell.

I’ll go further & say that if you take a few perfectly lovely fresh strawberries & smother them in so much fucking Nutella & Fluff that they’re barely visible, you are also Not Getting It. You’re not really eating fruit anymore — the benefits of it are long since buried under the sugar. The fruit has become a mere delivery system to transfer Nutella & Fluff from the jars to your mouth, something to keep it off your fingers.  Just be honest with yourself & use a spoon.

I mean Jesus Christ.

A fucking lime wedge in water.

It’s appalling how other people seem to fuel themselves. When Nik & I post to Pact, it’s usually a full plate, nicely balanced macro-wise, with some protein, some fats, & generous portions of vegetable stuff, like kale or peas or green beans or whatever. You hardly ever see someone else do that.  Instead it’s like someone’s hand holding 3 cherry tomatoes & a caption, “Just having a snack!” A snack of 3 cherry tomatoes? Really? My god, is this how you eat? About 9 calories worth of tomatoes is supposed to fill your hungry tum-tum? Eat food, damn you! Eat!

Do we really need to go over the ground rules of what a real vegetable is or is not? Goddammit. Just look at this list. You’ll notice Boca Burgers are not on it. Fruits, over here. Do we need to cover what a “serving” is? More than a little. More than fits in your hand. Not a Dixie cup. On my planet, one clementine is not a “serving.” Eat three & you’re getting close. A serving of broccoli is not three pieces sitting in a bowl. It’s at least a cup of them shits.

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A popsicle is a treat, not a fruit.

There is no proper serving of Vitamin Water. Just don’t drink it.

The lime in a glass of water is a garnish for flavor. There is no serving size for that because you’re not supposed to eat it.

Asshattery such as described above is theoretically beneficial for us, because the more stupid people there are thinking “meet” is a vegetable, the more they’ll get rejected, which means the more money we can earn. I’ve taken to logging on every so often, approving good stuff, & rejecting dumb shit all the time. But the dumb stuff seems to get approved anyway.  I don’t know for sure. But it seems like it, because I see approved votes. Who’s approving a Bloody Mary? Who gave a thumbs-up to a plate of meat? Do they not know that the way the system works you’re actually incentivized to reject more and more stupid crap so you can take their money? I’m tempted to contact Pact & ask if this stuff really does get rejected, or if the bar for approval is set so low that almost anything gets a pass, “pizza-is-a-vegetable” style. There’s not a lot of money at stake here — it’s not really about the money. I just want to know. I want to know how this works because I can’t understand the mentality of someone who legitimately thinks some sprigs of parsley counts as a serving of vegetables.

I mean god. Fuck’s the matter with you?

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