Saturday, July 6, 2013

Food For Thought: Freedom, Choices, Responsibility

Why? Why do food companies use ingredients that are bad for us? 

It’s a free country. We’re responsible for ourselves. We all have choices. The people who make the food we buy can choose to use ingredients that are whole and free from chemicals, or use lab-oriented ingredients that contain trace amounts, if any, nutrients. And we as consumers can choose to buy that “modified,” chemical-filled junk, or consciously NOT buy it and stick to food that is really food containing nutrients our bodies need.

Our government takes steps to ensure we can trust the food we buy to not kill us, at least right away. But that’s as far as it goes. It IS a free country. The choice of what we put in our mouths is ours to make. We wouldn’t want to live in a country where the government owned the food industry, or any other industry. (The argument could be made that our government does, indeed, rule our food industry, but that’s a discussion for another time.) We also wouldn’t want to live in a country where our choices are made for us – we love our freedom. If you disagree with either of the two previous statements, there are countries around the globe you could choose to live in other than our great USA. So not only is the choice of what we put in our mouths ours alone, but the responsibility to make wise choices for ourselves and our children is ours alone.

Let’s use soft drinks as an example here. The other day I came across this article: The author describes several of the many reasons soft drinks are bad for us, and it’s truly worth the three minutes it takes to read the article before you make your next beverage choice. One paragraph that leads me to my question at the beginning of my post – WHY? – is this: “Back in olden days, soft drinks like Coca Cola and Pepsi were sweetened with real sugar, which is probably why we remember them as tasting better when we were kids. Now, part or all of the sugar content in soft drinks is in the form of high fructose corn syrup, a cheaper alternative sweetener.” If you google high fructose corn syrup, you’ll find tons of information on this toxic ingredient. What you’ll learn should be enough to make you want to read the ingredient list of what you’re choosing to put in your mouth and make better choices. If you love soda, I’ve found a couple of them out there made with real cane sugar: Jones Soda and Jarritos Mexican soda.

I’ll make a disclaimer here. I’m not saying we should go to the extreme in the other direction. If you’ve followed this blog very long, you know how much I appreciate our bodies' ability to take care of itself. If you break a bone or cut your skin, your body repairs itself. If you eat something that’s not good for your body, it has ways to get rid of the bad stuff and protect itself. I don’t mean to imply we should never indulge in something we enjoy just because it may contain a lab-produced, non-food ingredient. Our bodies will forgive us and take care of themselves on those occasions. But it can only do so much for so long. If you bombard your body for years and years with bad habits that slowly chip away at its health and strength….. well, you know…. I digress.

I really don’t need to have someone explain “why?” to me. It’s pretty obvious that the why has everything to do with money, greed, big-business…. It’s a vicious circle on a ride we as consumers have the choice to jump off of. Food for thought.

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