Friday, May 11, 2007

Are you going to eat that?

This rant about breakfast foods and marketing is quite funny, and spot on. I have for the past few months been eating a bowl of oatmeal at my desk every morning, and though oatmeal isn't on the chart, I would wager it would outperform the cheerios, based on nothing other than my general rule that the more processing, the worse it is for you. I think I feel better these days? Skipping breakfast made me lazy all day, and eating at my desk is a nice way to say "yes, I could do this at home on my own time, but I choose to do it here, on your time." 'Nuff said! Actually, eating at the office just makes me more consistent about actually having breakfast, and helps me settle into my day. I put in more hours here than anyone else, so no complaints.

The tagline "Cheerios - better for you than starvation" is pretty funny, and why not?

We watched Super Size Me recently, and while I really think the guy was hamming it up for the camera, there was a lot in the movie that was, in my mind, pretty clear. The doctors' reactions halfway through the movie were funny, the kind of funny that only happens when someone you don't know is causing himself possibly irreversible bodily harm.

Why do we eat so much crap?

I love food. Have you seen my family? We are champion eaters. Eating is a ritual, it's what we do to connect, to visit, to show love. I am in no means wanting to give that up. But we don't have to eat absolute crap.

(actually, my family rarely eats fast food, generally only on the way to grandma's house when we use the Burger King bathroom, and my mom feels guilty if we don't give back by buying something. But I recently pointed out that we were supporting them already with our tax dollars in terms of all the treatments for obesity which they caused.)

It worries me that so many people eat all these processed foods on a daily basis. I mean, sure, every once in a while, here and there, fine. But it's clear that it has become a majority of our "meals." Do people even know where food comes from anymore? I can't pronounce any of these ingredients. Here are a few of my rules about what I feel OK eating (not to say I don't eat other things, but I have goals)

1.) I'd rather eat the full fat, traditional yummy version than the "diet" version. I KNOW I should not eat cake and cookies. So I will have a small amount, and enjoy the heck out of them. The "diet" version gives the message "it's OK, it's DIET, eat all you want." It's not OK, it's still crap. And the real version is more satisfying, so I will eat less of it.
2.) Ideally, I can not only pronounce all of the ingredients, but I could actually draw you a picture of, if not the ingredient, at least where it came from (Honey is hard to draw, bees are much easier, and cuter.) If I had kids, I would practice drawing the food they eat. Encourages creativity as well as awareness of your food.
3.) The more marketing, the worse it is for you. Companies that process the hell out of their foods, and fill them with cheap crap have the most money left for marketing. Milk, lettuce, and rice have no big budgets, because they are too simple and close to the farmer to have such deep pockets. A good sign that it's bad, is that you can remember the TV jingle or mascot. Food shouldn't need a mascot.
4.) Anytime you can buy something from the person who made it, that's a good thing. I have experienced this with chocolate, ice cream, various fruit and vegetable stands, and of course, a lot of wine. (A lot. Really)

This is a real problem. All those kids stuffing their faces at McDonalds, or chowing down a bag of potato chips every day? Costing me money. Health care costs are through the roof, and we can't even hope to have universal health coverage when we are causing so much heart disease, type II diabetes, liver damage, and an endless list of other diseases, ON OUR OWN, with the crap we stuff in our pieholes. It's hurting families, who have to suffer, emotionally as well as financially, through the diseases people bring upon themselves. Health care spending is choking social welfare programs and business, in turn destroying our country's ability to stay solvent. At the top somewhere, a few "food" companies are profiting while the rest of us destroy ourselves, our country, and our families.

We don't have to buy this crap.
At least not so much of it.

These days, I try to be a little more mindful of the way what I eat changes the way I feel. Mood and energy levels are greatly affected by foods. Some foods make you feel more full, while some additives actually make you more hungry (do you need that? I sure don't.)

I still eat the hell out of some ice cream, dark chocolate, beer, and pizza. But I go for the simpler ones, ice cream from our local shop that makes it by hand with simple ingredients. dark chocolate without Hershey-style additives and fillers, beer and pizza, I haven't quite figured out yet.

Everything, in moderation.

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