Connect the dots between food, health
Are we living our lives or dying our lives?
We make choices every day that determine our individual health as well as the overall health of our society. When are we going to wake up and ask ourselves: Is what I am putting into my one, precious body the best for optimal long-term health? Am I feeding my body real food?
Real food has ingredients we can pronounce. Or am I buying into the fast food and government-supported food system that allows foods to be flavored and colored with chemicals? A system that promotes processed food to our children and schools and is driven by large corporate food and pharmaceutical company's interests?
I used to think that the car companies were in cahoots with the oil industry by continuing to build cars that would get low fuel mileage so that more gas would be sold. One industry feeds the other.
I am now of the mindset that the fast-food/processed-food industry is in cahoots with pharmaceutical companies. One industry makes us sick by manufacturing food that is full of garbage so the other industry can be the hero by offering a pill to minimize the symptoms caused by eating poorly. What a wonderful symbiotic relationship — we can keep eating foods that create a demand to take more pills. In fact, we have made it a way of life.
Think about this: How many supermarkets do you shop at that also have a pharmacy? How perfectly convenient — foods that can make us sick in the front, drugs in the back to make us feel better. Brilliant! Are we connecting the dots?
True or false: Food companies and big-box grocery chains are interested in your health. If money is involved, my answer to this question is false. These businesses want to make money and offer products that "taste good" for the lowest possible cost.
For example, recently a local supermarket chain decided to integrate more natural products into its conventional processed products line-up in an effort to increase sales. If they really looked at the nutritional value of their overall product mix, the majority of their shelves would be empty. I think it's great that some of their offerings will have more nutritional value, but why do they continue to sell products that have chemicals in them?
It's about money, not health. Most of the conventional products they carry are engineered to sit in a warehouse thousands of miles away and not rot. Food is supposed to rot, so that it can be digested and processed properly in our gut. It's not about what's best for you, it's about what's best to increase sales.
I use the term "connecting the dots" all of the time to illustrate to anyone who will listen that we are a sick nation for a reason. We think we can eat cheap fast food (loaded with fat, sugar and salt), processed food and drink gallons of soda every week. Then, one morning, we wake up and ask — what happened?
Are we connecting illness to our food and environment?
Kevin Cotter is managing general partner at New Earth Market in Yuba City.