Thursday, May 23, 2013

Got Milk?

My dog woke me up this morning by barking and then pooping on the floor.  Poor guy, he's obviously sick, and he was so distressed and upset that he'd lost control in the house like that, that he spent the next minutes glued to our sides, tail between his legs, as if trying to make sure that we knew how sorry he was.

I bring this up not to be disgusting (well, not ONLY to be disgusting), but because any time he gets sick like this, which doesn't happen often, I worry that it's my fault.

A while back, I started making his dog food, which he eats raw.  And even though incidents, according to my vet, in which dogs become ill from eating fresh raw meat and eggs is extremely rare, I still worry that my food is what is making him sick, and I feel terribly guilty.

This leads me to think about his food, and the quality of meat and veggies I feed him, and how strongly I feel about not feeding him crappy processed dog food because I want him to live forever.

And this leads me to think about what I put in my own body, and leads me to wonder how I can be so careful about feeding my dog whole, natural foods, while very often I don't take the same care with my own diet and body.

I am a smart person, and I know that processed foods and excess sugar and salt are not good for me, so why do I so often crave them?  Why am I relentlessly tempted by breakfast cereals and bbq chips?

The answer is, really, because it's a conspiracy.  Walk into any major supermarket, and you will be awash in processed foods.  It is overwhelming.  There is the one produce section, and then, really, everything else is processed.  Even the meats.

I looked at a package of ground turkey recently, and noticed that it had "added flavorings".  What added flavorings are they putting in plain ground turkey?  Why would they do that?  What is wrong with the way the meat tastes naturally?

Food is a multi-billion dollar industry.  Our foods are designed by teams of scientists, and engineered to make us crave them, and need desperately to come back for more, and more and more.  These foods are designed with salt, sugar and other chemicals to literally create an addiction of sorts, to ensure that we continue to spend our money on them.

How can I, one small, sugar-lovin' lady, compete with that?  I'm only human after all.

The amazing Kris Carr, about whom I will talk more another time, said something like "If the food is engineered in a lab, it needs to be digested in a lab", not in our bodies.

It's an interesting notion.

These food-engineering feats are insidious, and these same addictive ingredients seem to be in everything.  Store-bought bread, tomato sauces, salad dressings, all contain sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, salt and often MSG.  Why???

Because our bodies will crave more of the same later, and we will go out and buy more of the foods that contain these items.

I find it difficult not to feel utterly betrayed.

Because ultimately, it's all about making someone else rich.  The food industry makes money off of me stuffing my face and getting fat and unhealthy, the diet industry makes billions by making me hate myself for stuffing my face and getting fat, and the health-care and pharmaceutical companies make a fortune off of my being sick from stuffing my face and getting fat.

And in all of these instances, the bottom line is that none of these industries actually give a shit about any of us.  They manipulate us emotionally, physically, and chemically, and they do it all so that they can get richer and richer.

Believe me, no matter what they say, these industries do not want anyone to return to a whole-food, natural diet, because if everybody did that, all of these industries would collapse.

So here, folks, have some salt, sugar, corn syrup and MSG!

One of the most compelling examples of the insidious tainting of our food comes courtesy of Jamie Oliver, who, at the TED awards, talked about (among other things) chocolate milk, served in schools, marketed to children.

These cartons of milk have sugar and added flavorings, and he estimates that children who have school breakfasts and lunches drink two cartons of this milk a day.  This gives them 8 tablespoons of sugar per day.

In a rather dramatic illustration of how much sugar this daily amount adds up to over 5 years of school, he dumped a wheelbarrow full of sugar on the stage, and reminded the audience that this was 5 years of sugar from MILK ONLY.

(Jamie Oliver might not be everybody's cup of tea, but it is worth watching his speech.)

Now, I love sugar, and I'm not sure I could ever cut it out of my diet altogether, but, as with most things, moderation is key.  But how can we possibly have a fighting chance at moderation when sugar is appearing in foods and drinks that have no business being sweetened?  It's like being behind before you've even started.

I bought a cookbook recently called Nourishing Traditions, and I'm sure I'll mention it more in another post, but one of the things it brought to my attention was how so much of the processed foods in supermarkets are made of things that are unpronounceable,  and often, unrecognizable.

How much of our food is food?  Do we always know what we're actually eating?

This book does sort of a "name-that-food" feature, in which they provide the ingredients, and leave the reader to try and guess what the food is.

Want to try one?

Water, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, mono-and diglycerides, soy protein, sodium stearoyl lactylate, dipotassium phosphate, polysorbate 60, sodium acid pyrophosphate, salt, artificial flavor, colored with betacarotene.

OK, what is it?

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