Hungry? Pass Me My Soapbox

Back in the old days nobody was allergic to food, and I was the only kid in class who had to sit out PE because of a weird breathing problem.  Now we have peanut-free computer rooms and asthma is as prevalent in schools as number 2 pencils.  Kids sure have changed.

Well, something has changed, but maybe it’s not the kids.  Maybe it’s what we’re putting into kids today that is so remarkably different.

I thought I was aware.  I thought I was doing a pretty good job with this whole food thing.  But this weekend I saw the movie Food Inc, and once again my eyes have been forcibly opened.  If you think the truth was inconvenient, you’re not going to be happy when you take a look at what’s going on with food these days.  This is not about your sweet tooth.  This has nothing to do with cutting out the fat.  The very food we eat, the food we feed to our children, has become little more than chemically and politically engineered calories.

Our bodies are not happy about that change.  Our bodies are staging a revolt.  So should we.

I know. It’s not fun, and I’m sorry.  But we need to pay closer attention to the story of our food.  The story, in short, goes something like this–

In 1994 we started engineering neurotoxins into our food supply.  The rise and acceptance of genetically modified crops and uber-processed food-like items corresponds quite neatly with the bizarre health trends that we’re noticing in our children and their friends.

As of the year 2000, 1 in 3 of our children will develop asthma, ADHD, serious food allergies, or autism.  Our cancer rates are considerably higher than all other developed countries. A person’s risk increases by 4x just by moving to the United States.

That is crazy. And terrifying.  And totally unacceptable.

It’s one thing to go overboard every now and then.  We all do it, eat junk and then negotiate with ourselves for a longer jog, a salad for dinner.  And that balancing act used to be enough.  But these new-fangled calories are different. The damage they do cannot be worked out in the gym.  Our children are not lazy; their bodies simply have no idea what to do with the junk that we shovel into them in the name of convenience.

The more refined or processed a food item is, the further away from it’s natural state a snack gets, the less our bodies are able to deal with it without getting sick. Really, really sick.

We don’t even know what we’re eating anymore, but I know this: we need to go back to eating food.  Real food with real ingredients.

It may seem inconvenient; then again, so do seatbelts and helmets.

Rules to Eat By:

  • Eat real food; that is, food that our grandparents would instantly recognize.
  • Eat food as close to it’s natural state as possible.
  • Read labels. If you can’t pronounce it or define it, don’t eat it.
  • If you’re eating meat, know where it comes from.   Cows haven’t evolved to eat corn, organic or otherwise.  It makes them sick.  Healthy cows eat grass. Healthy people eat healthy cows.
  • An average fast food burger contains DNA from hundreds or even thousands of different animals.  Even if those animals aren’t sick, it is gross, and dangerous.


Wow, that’s sure a lot of proselytizing. So where have I gotten all my information?  Here–

Books I think are terrific:

Movies that tell the story (both are available from Netflix.)

  • King Corn – 2 guys plant 1 acre and follow it through the system and into our food;
  • Food Inc — great summary of the issues, including the politics of the food system;

8 Replies to “Hungry? Pass Me My Soapbox”

  1. Nicely put. It’s so easy to load the kids up with protein bars and quick snacks but there’s a price for convenience. I’m going to load up on fresh, organic fruit the next time I hit the grocery store. Thank you for the wake up call.

  2. Tell me about it! It is so scary, and it’s everywhere you turn. Just started looking up the addition of DHA and ARA to infant formula. These are laboratory-manufactured oils added to market formula as that much closer to breastmilk even though it is UNKNOWN whether there actually is a benefit from the addition of these oils. Turns out that manufacturing these oils creates DHA and ARA that are NOT the same chemically as those found in breastmilk, and they are created with the use of a neurotoxin (hexane). But, trying to find formula which does not contain DHA/ARA is almost impossible. Even Whole Foods sells organic formula which has DHA/ARA despite the fact that the use of hexane makes it UNorganic. Check this out:

  3. Cristina Lighthiser November 30, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Yes! Yes! Real food! Real ingredients!

  4. It’s totally scary. Great info.

  5. Thanks for encouraging me to read labels and feed better food to our family. They deserve it!

  6. Thanks for the reminder. It’s easy to get complacent, especially now that the CSA is over for this year and we get into all the holiday indulgences.

  7. Food Inc. is full of alarming facts that I knew about, being in the small fram business, but was horrified to witness on the screen. I have read all the books you reccommend as well and they are clarifying for sure. I get a new customer every weekend at the farmer’s market who has just seen Food Inc. The sad thing is that it’s just not that hard to raise animals the RIGHT way. It’s just not that hard to do the right thing!

  8. Very, very scary! I am glad that you know so much and that I know you! Thanks for sharing!!

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