Matthew Gates 14m 3,564 #food
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Mistrust Of Labeled Ingredients In Food
There used to be a time where farmers and their families would spend hours in the fields, planting, gardening, and harvesting plants and all types of vegetables, fruits, and possibly even raising and slaughtering their own animals including chickens, pigs, and cows. This was common for many in the old world of Europe and America. Food was and remains essential to human life, a staple that keeps us all alive.
As the population grew and time went on, money and research went into figuring out how to feed the masses who were no longer numbering in the hundreds of thousands or low millions, but the high millions to billions of human beings.
The solution was simple: Figure out how to process food, make it grow quickly, package it, get it out the door to supermarkets, and sell it. Unfortunately, food would spoil before it got to the supermarkets, therefore something needed to be done. More research was to be done on figuring out how to make food last for days, weeks, to even months on shelves, and in some cases, food can even last years without spoiling. What these ingredients actually did to human health was of no concern, and these foods became the new staple of human life.
Food is such a sweet evil. It tastes so delicious, gives you everything you could want, as you put it in your mouth, chew it, swallow it. Your taste buds let you know it is something that is a “treat” and okay to eat. As you eat your meal, usually consisting of not just some primary meat, but one or two side servings of vegetables or something else, you begin to feel full.
I can remember the introduction of the TV dinner. What magic was this? You could put food in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes and have a meal. Of course, there was something wrong with these meals: I was still hungry after I ate one, so I needed to compensate and eat two or three of them. They just did not supply me with the nutrients or the energy that my body needed. While my mother is the one to blame for feeding me this – what I would find out later about this food, aside from the fact that it was complete garbage, was that she was just one of the millions of mothers who found an easy way out of cooking. The name was right in the dinner! Put your kid in front of the television and give them dinner and everything was good to go!
As I got older and began doing my own shopping, I realized that the price of these TV dinners was very cheap: You could get entire “meals” for $1 or $2. You could also run to any fast food restaurant and get anything off the popular “Dollar Menu.” Wow, everything looks so delicious and is healthy for you.
No, not really. I remember being so hungry, I stopped at a fast food restaurant with my brother on our way down to Virginia from New Jersey, and we ordered five sandwiches each off the Dollar Menu. The total bill after taxes and drinks? Less than $15 [at the time!]. Wow, all that for only $15! The problem was that afterwards I was still hungry! Yet, I technically consumed enough food to probably feed 3 to 5 people. My taste buds were tricked into thinking this is the most delicious taste as it went down. Once it was down, however, my body realized: There was no nutrition in what I just ate.
The Food Industry, United States government, and Marketing Industry were smart enough to research how to make food taste great, make it cheap, and even sell it for cheap so that everyone would run out and buy it. Many people buying cheap products leads to big profit in the form of BILLIONS of dollars, and while the food contains some nutrition, it does not contain enough of the nutrition for what your body needs, forcing you to think you are “full” and “satisfied” for a very short time, but than you end up wanting more, and what do we all do? We go buy more. Perfect way to make sales. Why do we want more? Because our bodies never got the nutrition it needed in the first place!
Our bodies demand specific nutrients in order to keep functioning, yet we continue to feed it with “fake food”, causing ourselves to overeat, and get fat. Any food that is touched by any big corporation and chooses to “streamline” or “franchise” their food products often leads to tainted unreadable ingredients within the food. It seems we are at an unfair disadvantage, and we certainly are, but no industry cares when people keep handing over money without question.
Everyone is slowly eating themselves to death. Big corporations make their money. Government makes their money. Doctors and prescription drug companies make their money. The Health Care industry makes its money. And ultimately, the Undertaker makes money too. Humans have become big business and walking dollar signs. The sooner these big corporations can get you hooked on their products, the sooner everyone starts making money.
Don’t worry, you won’t die immediately! You will be kept alive long enough to live quite a few decades to keep spending and stimulating the big food corporations! They made sure of that!
Most of you reading this probably don’t care and will continue taking a bite out of what you have in your hands right now, the fast food burger, the milkshake, or the french fries that have a ton of ingredients in it that you probably shouldn’t be eating. Tastes great, right?
That’s how it was made – just for you and millions of others who love it too. It’s really okay. It’s your body, not mine. Do as you please. The big corporations love what you are doing – giving you exactly what you want: feeding your addictions to sugar, salt, fat, and carbs.
The TV dinner was not the only thing introduced, but years and years have gone by, producing fast food that you could go out, order and have within ten minutes, and be home in time to eat it before it got too cold. Other meals came along too – the Hot Pocket, Lean Cuisine, Banquet, and just about any other thing you can think of — all of which are found in the frozen food section of any supermarket. Even Peanut Butter sandwiches now come frozen and all you have to do is stick it in the microwave for 30 seconds and you will have yourself an unhealthy peanut butter and jelly “pocket sandwich”!
Look on the back and you will see that these are “real foods” with “real ingredients”. Fats. Carbohydrates. Protein. Sugar. Sodium. And below that, you will see a huge list of other ingredients, in small letters, that most people would have a hard time pronouncing or have no idea what those ingredients even are, or if they knew what those ingredients really were, they would never eat the product.
There is a reason FINE PRINT is small. By providing it in small letters, the company protects themselves by showing the legal system they did present the information, in small letters. Whether the consumer chose to read it or not was completely up to them. If the ingredients cause cancer or other diseases, the choice to buy the product was all the consumers, and they are protected. So what is so wrong with these products then?
Aside from the high sodium content, any food that requires very little preparation and energy must give very little energy. These foods hardly fill anyone up and are often loaded with preservatives to keep the shelf life stable for years. They are loaded with chemicals that should never enter the human body.
Most parents gladly buy them and feed the to their young growing children whose bodies need real nutrients to actually grow naturally. These foods would probably even survive for a long time if they were not even put into a freezer. These foods would be great if we were living in a Zombie Apocalypse and none of us really had a chance of survival, but the fact that there have only been zombie movies and shows, where zombies remain solely a part of our imagination, I think it is safe to assume that we do actually have a great chance for survival, if we were to all eat the proper foods.
The majority of people, however, remain uneducated, ignorant, and uncaring about what they are eating. Poor communities suffer more. The average person resembles the average smoker: Even though they are perfectly aware that what they are doing is killing their bodies and their minds, they still continue to do it. Why is this?
Addiction is a very powerful tool and billions of dollars have been spent on studying addiction. If there is anything we all have in common, where companies can make profit: It is in the food we eat.
What are the long-term effects of such a mindset when it comes to processed food? Survival of the fittest: The profit is in the billions right now for big corporations for possibly the next few centuries. Those who choose to eat the processed food are likely to get sicker and die out.
The children of those people who also remain uneducated and ignorant about food also cut their lifespans short as well. This may not be such a bad thing because the positive note is: It will wipe out the uneducated and ignorant, leaving only those who actually pick and choose specific foods that remain untouched by big corporations. It is a silent form of population control.
Do not be mad at me for thinking or writing that: I do not make processed food and I do my best to barely consume it anymore. I just know about it. I was born into this world of processed food, and I chose to educate myself about it.
I was not always paranoid of food. I used to love it and think about it all the time. I would load up my plate – sometimes twice. Pasta was a favorite of mine and would sometimes be two or three plates worth and add to that, spaghetti sauce and Parmesan cheese! I could not wait for the next meal, either. I would eat until I was full, go about my business, and the next meal would come.
I was so hungry again later that at night, I would sneak snacks that my mother always seemed to keep in the house – Debbie Cakes, Devil Dogs, Ice Cream, and Potato Chips were a favorite. Unfortunately, I favored these snacks over the bananas, apples, and oranges that sat in a big bowl and often went bad after a few days. Had I known about proper nutrition and eating, I probably could have saved myself a lot of pain and suffering for most of my childhood.
I always say to myself: If I could go back in time, I would probably go back to the very first time I went and grabbed an unhealthy snack and shake the crap out of myself telling myself not to eat that garbage and give myself the entire explanation of what I write now. Would I understand what I was telling myself? Probably not and I would have ended up doing the same thing that I had done. I can be quite stubborn now, and I certainly would have been ignorant and stubborn then!
I was a kid, it was sweet, and that is all I wanted: to satisfy what I could never satisfy. Soon as I ate potato chips, I wanted more food. I wanted more soda. We were a soda family and we ate and drank anything and everything. Water was this nasty liquid drink that I never gave a second thought. If given the choice, I would have always opted for some soda over water. I certainly was not blessed though and the weight came and there was no way to hide it nor was there even a way to understand why I was gaining so much weight.
The kids in school were not shy to let me know that I was a “fat kid.” Years of therapy would have never cured me. I never needed a therapist or a doctor. What I really needed was an honest health nutritionist to tell me the reason I was fat was because I was eating food that had been marketed and sold to Americans as healthy, when really, it was the equivalent to eating poison.
As soon as Americans got fat, the “diet fads” started. Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, and many other companies started springing up from everywhere, claiming to help you lose weight, telling you what to eat, making you pay to be a part of the program, and even making you pay for the food they provided – also loaded with sodium and garbage to make you think you were losing weight, even though the maximum weight most people lose is only about 10 to 20 pounds which usually never works and the weight comes right back on. The problem with all these programs: They never told you what was wrong with what you were eating.
They only told you to eat what they wanted you to eat. They would use “points” and a value system to figure out what you could or could not eat. The programs are mostly all purely bullshit. They may work for some people, but like doctors who only treat, unless the source of the problem is understood, the solution is just a temporary treatment.
I came to the conclusion at once that I was destined to be fat because it was in my genes and there was nothing I could do about it. I once weighed 260 pounds – which has always been my heaviest weight – when I entered college and I realized: Maybe I should try the whole exercise and workout thing in the gym. I also made myself do stuff to exercise such as riding my bike about 3 miles to school several times a week. Slowly but surely, it actually began to work and the weight started coming off. I figured I had mastered weight loss, but a plateau was soon hit and my lowest point for a time was 230 pounds.
After being confronted by my room mate in college, who was also a body builder, he too gave me some advice on working out and eating tips. I was able to accomplish losing another 15 pounds, dropping all the way down to 215, but never seeing below that. While in college, because I religiously went to the gym or worked out in some way, I did happen to roller coaster between 215 and 225 pounds, I was relatively okay with that, but never fully happy with my weight.
Again, I set myself up by forcing myself to have to do certain things to work out. For example, I had a class in downtown Chicago, and worked around the corner afterwards, so I would have to ride my bike downtown, and then back home when I was done with classes or work.
For one semester, I remember I had a class downtown, another class at the north campus, 7.5 miles away, than I had to be at work afterwards. I definitely lost a lot of weight, but it seemed more like I was just maintaining weight — then again, I enjoyed regular eating, alcohol, and the plentiful food of college life, which helped me never to gain weight, but never losing it, either.
Although my roommate gave me some great advice, he did not seem to have the secret for weight loss, except to constantly be in the gym. Was this the only natural method to lose weight?
What about our ancestors who never set food inside a non-existent gym? The whole workout thing – getting up at 7 AM every morning for many months and lifting weights, running on the treadmill, and using the elliptical – was going well for me, but if I stopped exercising for a few days, the weight just seemed to come right back. My diet at the time? While I ate whatever I wanted except too many sweets, I still ate like a college student, and that included a can of mini franks and beans every morning and egg whites, along with a protein shake. Did it do the trick?
Absolutely, but only for the short-term or so it seemed. By short-term, I guess I went a few months without exercising because college life and the gym life just made it seem that I was either: eating, sleeping, going to classes, studying, or going to the gym. That seemed to be my life for a long time. However, my body still seemed unchanging and unmotivated to burn its own fat unless I forced it to by going to the gym and working out.
After a miracle led me to Israel after college graduation, where I taught English for a year, I never bothered to care about what I was eating or how much I weighed. I love Israel and they love their carbohydrates. Israelis come in all different shapes and sizes. Some can eat all they want and hardly gain a pound, whereas others are definitely obese like Americans. I stepped on a scale occasionally, but decided not to live in reality, nor take the number seriously, and before I knew it, at the end of my stay in Israel, even with all the hiking I had done, I ended up leaving at 240 pounds.
When I returned home, I attempted to do something about it by riding my bike everyday to work once I got a job, about 6 miles away. I did my best to watch what I ate, but I soon noticed the scale going up and up and no matter what I ate or did, and it kept going up. After meeting a wonderful woman who soon became my lovely girlfriend and an amazing cook, well-hearsed in Spanish dishes, I soon found myself at my heaviest again in a long time, almost 260 pounds, and with it came heavy snoring and sleep apnea.
I did my best to eat “healthy” – or what I thought was healthy and what “the world” (USDA, Government, Mom, Friends, etc.) told me. Nothing worked. Even joining a gym only made a 5 pound weight-loss difference. What was wrong with food and why was it making me gain weight?
As you can see, by now, I had a love-hate relationship with food, but I really hated food. It had made me gain weight, gotten me teased in school, basically ruined my entire life, and yet was an evil necessity that always seemed to draw me to it. I usually ate two or three times a day.
I began reading a lot of articles on health and drawing my own conclusions. It was never about the amount of food I was eating. I could eat 1 meal or 6 meals a day and not lose weight. This was my battle with my body and food, and while I had always listened to everyone else, tried this or that pill, nothing really seemed to work, and I always felt like I was fighting a losing battle. Being overweight and even considered obese was my reality. My girlfriend was okay with it, but I was not.
My entire life I had carried my weight fairly well, despite being teased, but no one would have ever guessed I weighed what I weighed, and I knew what I weighed – and I could feel it in the energy I had. I seemed more tired and unmotivated to do things. When I got the energy, I would certainly do it, but I had to think about it for a few days and then just suddenly motivate myself to do whatever I needed to do.
There is a big difference between someone who weighs 200 pounds and someone who weighs 300 pounds. I knew that I was halfway to 200 pounds or halfway to 300 pounds and if I did not change things, that 300 pounds would have welcomed me and all of my fat with open arms. Sure, I could have lived like that, but I was not comfortable with accepting it. And soon, I learned the secrets to weight loss, not from a book, not from a friend, nor a family member, or even a nutritionist. I learned the secrets of weight loss simply by listening to my own body and it told me everything I needed to do in order to lose weight.
I now weigh less than 200 pounds, down from almost 260 pounds, and lost it within 7 months. What was the secret to my weight loss? The best advice I can give you: Research what you are eating. If it contains ingredients you cannot understand, than you should not be eating it. It has nothing to do with going to the gym, nothing to do with working out, nothing to do with being lazy for a few days out of the week. It has everything to do with what you are eating and the nutrition you are not getting.