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:
- Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Vegetable Miracle
- Michael Pollan, Omnivores Dilemma
- Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food
Movies that tell the story (both are available from Netflix.)