In a recent class, one student said I eat healthy. My response? "Great, tell me what you eat." I had Cheerios and skim milk for breakfast, coffee from the gas station, those peanutbutter crackers and vitamin water for a snack and a taco at lunch." Sometimes I ask what they put in their coffee, somehow sugar goes unnoticed once it's in the coffee. On the first day of class though, I take it easy. "Well, by the end of this course you will be able to tell me why you haven't eaten real food today and why that isn't healthy." Ruffled feathers? May be, but I am not concerned, your health is at stake and I want you to know it.
That being said, what do you eat? If it comes from a box, a bag, a can, most school cafeterias and any fast food chain it is poison to your body. Why? because it is primarily chemicals. Our body does not know what these toxic chemicals are nor how to use them. Therefore, it tries to detoxify them, it tries to eliminate them, but it also just stores them to deal with later. This is where inflammation, immune system overload, liver cirrhosis and obesity come into play. Your body is doing what it knows to do, it senses something dangerous and it reacts, send out the troops Inflammation is a way to protect the body, keep foreign substances controlled and immune system deployed to handle the attack. After daily attacks and therefore continuous inflammation, disease begins to develop. This could look like heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes. It could also look like migraine headaches, allergies and asthma.
So, how does our food lead to this attack on our health? Well, it isn't food, it's chemicals. It is mutated food, engineered food. I will discuss genetically - engineered foods later. In order to create foods that taste good and will last on shelves for extended length of time is why we have most of the chemicals in our food, but others are so that they will look good or cause our body to crave them. It is interesting to go back even 70 years ago and look at food. It was just that food. It grew on plants and animals, we mixed it with other ingredients, cooked, fermented or canned it. Today, it is difficult to find a jar of pickles without food dye and at least two other chemicals. What happened to putting cucumbers in brine (water, salt and maybe herbs) and letting them ferment into pickles. Why do we need to color our pickles green?
The FDA puts these ingredients on the GRAS (generally regarded as safe) list. This does not mean they have been thoroughly researched, as you would like to believe. It means that they have not seen any effects in certain populations, in certain amounts in a short window of time (usually 90 days or less). Like I said, our bodies are miraculously adaptable and 90 days is not enough time to determine safety for long term consumption. Also, it means it certain quantities it is regarded as safe. Great, but if every ingredient in the sandwich you made for lunch has these ingredients, and the chips you ate with your sandwich and the beverage you drank all have these ingredients; is it still in the safety zone? Do you need to be concerned with what you had for breakfast, snacks and what you plan on eating for dinner as well? Maybe instead of freaking out about calories we should start counting chemicals and freaking out about that.
Food should be safe to eat. It should be simple. It should be food. One of my students mentioned eating "real food". What a crazy phrase, "real food"? When did our food become fake? When did fast food restaurants suddenly realize it was a good campaign (and idea) to now sell hot dogs with "real meat"? How did they get away with feeding my family poison for decades? Because we bought it with our eyes wide open and excited, but our brains were turned off.
Let's take a moment and ask ourselves, why should I be happy that this loaf of bread lasted two weeks without going bad? Why should I be excited to buy 4 liters of pure poison for $4.00? When it comes to your food, quality, not quantity should matter. It doesn't mean the expensive food is necessarily better for you, it means know what is in your food, where did your food come from and how long has it been sitting around? Unfortunately, we can't just go into the local butcher and buy meat from the farmer's around town, we can't just go to farms and pick our produce like it used to be before factory farming and big grocery stores took over. But, we can do our research. WE can go to farmer's markets, we can go in with other families to purchase a cow or pig that will be grown by a trusted farmer and have it butchered properly. We can also go in with other families to grow gardens, may be you grown tomatoes and cucumbers while your neighbor grows watermelon and spinach. You don't have to grow everything, but try to grow your favorite things. Learn to can or ferment foods so that you can have them after the growing season. But most importantly, read our food labels, and choose what you purchase with an educated mind. Every time you choose to go to a store or farmer's market you are voting, every time you choose food with less chemicals verses the synthetic food, you are voting. So, vote wisely my friends. Your health, your family and our planet depend on it.