Sunday, May 25

A Tirade on Big Food

We are still in a holding pattern here. And darn tired of it, I might add. It really drives home the reason why I wanted to move from the desert altogether instead of getting a [little, old, skanky] condo near the coast to escape the summer heat. I would be sitting there for three-plus months of the year in limbo, eating comfort food. Like I did here, for a while. And then I woke up. But first, a house report. One month to go.

We haven’t been up to the house for a while, we went last week but there were so many workers and vehicles zooming this way and that, that we left. They were grading the driveway and walkway and everything was torn up.

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While we were up in The OC we went to see the movie Fed Up. This really fired me up. I urge you to see it, especially if you have children in your lives. Click the link—the trailer will tell you much more than I can.

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With waaaay too much time on my hands, and inherently knowing that the easy convenience/comfort foods (like chicken asparagus noodle casserole with canned soup) we had been eating in our little prison are not good for us, I started reading up on diet and nutrition. There is an amazing amount of information to wade through. One thing leads to another, which leads to another, and so on. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface, but I’ve learned a lot already.

First up: Wheat. What the heck is wrong with wheat! Wheat’s the staff of life, right? It’s in the Bible, for crying out loud! Here’s the news: Modern wheat has been genetically modified to yield ten times more grain per acre, and the seeds have been shot with pesticides. In short, it ain’t your grandma’s wheat. We humans can’t process the high levels of gluten that exist in our American wheat. Other countries have banned GMO wheat, by the way.

Even if you aren’t gluten-intolerant, chances are you might be sensitive to it in some way. Gluten causes inflammation, and ….well, see the picture. There are many more ills not illustrated, like allergies, sinus infections, migraines, persistent rashes that might get better if you don’t eat wheat.

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You might try giving up wheat (other grains have been modified by GMOs too, so we don’t eat them either) for a month and see if some of these problems don’t get better. I have not had a migraine in five weeks, but it’s still early.

As we age, we accept some things as a normal part of aging. Things like an expanding waistline, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, etc—we think it’s inevitable. That ain’t necessarily true.  But don’t take my word for it, go see this guy—he shares a wealth of information on his website.

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It won’t be long before the Wheat Industry (Big Food) storms in and debunks this theory. Wait and see. They have a lot at stake and they will not take this lying down. 

Second: Fat

Let me introduce you to a man named Ancel Benjamin Keys. In the 1950s, Mr. Keys did a bad thing. He conducted a study with several countries and determined that eating saturated fat causes heart disease. Seems simple enough, but what Keys did was to cherry-pick the results to support his hypothesis. He threw out the data that did not fit! And that study is what became the basis of the Standard American Diet for years.

As the decades rolled by, people ate fat-free foods and thought they were doing the right thing. The USDA (subsidized by Monsanto, by the way) said, “Grains are the cornerstone of a healthy diet! Eat more grains! Buy this cereal—it’s heart-healthy! It’s low in fat and it’s good for you!” (And cheap to produce, with high profits.)

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Then they created High Fructose Corn Syrup and put it in our food because it was cheaper than sugar and made the food taste better. They put it into everything. Just try to get out of the supermarket without buying anything that contains HFCS or its sweet cousins. If it comes in a box or carton, it likely contains some permutation of sugar. It’s about profits, my darlings.

Nowadays you will see whole sections of your supermarket shelves stocked with gluten free products, but they use chemicals and substitutes and aren’t great for you—and supposedly taste awful, but I’ve never tried them and I won’t. Even things that never had gluten in them to begin with claim to be “Gluten Free!” It’s marketing, and it has spawned whole new product lines, just like Fat Free.

I think I digressed, sorry. I was talking about fats. For years we have been told fat is bad, don’t eat it. Especially butter! <gasp> So Big Food made margarine, even low-fat and fat-free margarine, which are loaded with trans-fats which we now know are bad, bad juju. We now know grains are the bad guys and fats are the good guys, exactly the opposite of what we have been told (doctors, too) was healthy. It has been proven that eating eggs do not give you high cholesterol and eating butter does not make you fat.

Third: Sugar.

Capture Look at this nutrition label. I don’t know what it’s for, I just snipped it from Google Images. But look at the percentages for things like Fat and Sodium. Notice Sugar does not have a % of Daily Value. This is the result of the sugar lobbyists winning this point: To keep the truth hidden from the consumer.

It’s the same thing that happened with the tobacco industry in the 70s. They KNEW! They knew that nicotine was addicting and they knew that smoking caused cancer. But they lied.

This is happening with sugar. We all avoid eating too much sugar because we know it causes obesity and diabetes. Yet Big Food sneaks it in everything and markets it to little kids in bright packaging and on cartoon shows. Most schools outsource lunches to Pizza Hut and McDonald’s, and Coca-Cola. Sugar is addictive. It is more addictive than cocaine. And Big Food knows it. They hook the kids early.

If the kids are fat, or bouncing off the walls, or if you’ve followed a “recommended” low calorie, low fat diet only to put all it back on, it’s not your fault. It’s Ancel Keys’ fault. And Big Food, who has a vested interest in making a tidy profit.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good info, but certainly not new or even recent. It's not going to change...there's too much money in the food and medical business to fight it.

Sorry so cynical. I've been around enough to have seen and heard this SO many times. :)

QuiltingFitzy said...

YAY! I see a healthy mindset acomin'!

Every report had its own slant, but the first thing to be done is cut out the processed food which is pretty darned easy.

You might want to read Jo Robinson's "Eating on the Wild Side". Very interesting approach to how all the parts of our diet work (or don't work) together.

I've still a long way to go, but happy to see someone else waking up!

KathyA said...

Well...it's not easy but we cook everything from scratch...everything. That includes anything "bread" in our house -- I use non-GMO exclusive flours, and it's expensive to buy. Our cooking is time consuming and not very popular with the supermoms and senior citizens that rely upon "easy-to-pop-into-the-microwave" dinners. Saying that, I happen to agree with you about the school foods being outsourced to these big companies and the crud we're feeding the youngsters. There is a flip side though -- would you vote for the school bonds to put up the money for full cafeteria staff, equipment, and subsidized foods at each school? I don't have the facts, but I bet that these fast food companies can produce a meal for less than a buck cost to the school district. A fresh food meal made in a full cafeteria by district employees -- I bet that would cost 5 bucks minimum.
We're all going to die from something, and we should each be responsible for maintaining the health of our bodies. But, I'm getting tired of the decades of the various and latest health research fads that will extend life (or shorten it). Let me ask you -- do you like pork and ham? Well...it has trichinosis worms in it. How about the shellfish? Bottom feeders that filter garbage. Do we want to give up these tasty foods? No -- we'd rather give up wheat, gluten, and an occasional McDonalds hamburger. What if a woman drinks 2 glasses of wine a day rather than the one recommended glass? Oh dear...I'm taking 30 minutes off my lifespan. For me, I'd rather live a happy life and eat the most healthy way I can. If I die a year early because I ate GMO wheat, drank an extra glass of wine a day, or had bacon every Sunday at least I'll live a happier life than worrying about every morsel that goes into my mount.
Just another opinion...

jenclair said...

I almost ordered this book the other day. I think I'll go right now and place the order.