You may wonder how it is that people get so out of control of their weight and health... especially when it seems everyone is on a diet or “watching what they eat.” Sadly, the vast majority of us have been duped when it comes to knowing what’s really “food” any more, even though it’s really one of the simplest concepts out there. In 1972, The FDA agreed to allow big food companies to advertise and sell "foods" that, by all practical purposes, were not really food at all. They were imitation food if you will, food-like substances or fake food. Things like "I can't believe it's not butter" and "Wonder Bread" were flying off the shelves. Speaking of Wonder Bread, it's so light, soft and fluffy, and it's even "enriched" (which means they try to put back the nutrients that processing has destroyed). When reading the label of minimally processed fresh bread, you will probably see things like stone-ground whole wheat flour, yeast, water, honey, sea salt and olive oil, maybe some sprouted wheat, and that will be about it.
Well, here are the ingredients for Wonder Bread: enriched white flour, water, wheat gluten, high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, salt, molasses, yeast mono and diglycerides, extholyated mono and diglycerides, exthoxylated mono and diglycerides, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, calcium oidate, calcium dioxinde), datem calcium sulfate, vinegar, yeast nutrient, (ammonium sulfate), extracts of malted barley and corn, dicalcium phosphate, diammonium phosphate, calcium propionate (to retain freshness).
Hmmmm, after reading these ingredients, you might "wonder" if it's really bread at all. Do any of you like potato chips like Pringles? Did you know that Pringles are only made of 42% potato, and the rest is flour and other processed ingredients. Maybe Pringles are, in fact, bread.
Why would the FDA approve this and why would large food companies want to do this? There are three reasons: fake food is cheaper to make, it lasts much longer on the shelf, and its formulas, patents and trademarks can be owned by one company (try to patent a peach!). They do it to get rich, regardless of what it's doing to the consumers.
So basically, we are in this for ourselves. The FDA does not care about our day-to-day health, just the immediate “let’s make sure no one is eating rat poison,” kind of health. In fact, they allow food manufacturers (ugh, another disturbing thought, “manufactured” food), to try and trick us into to thinking certain processed foods are good for us by labeling them as "all natural." You should all know that any food company can label something as all "natural;" there are no laws or government sanctions regarding this. I think I saw a box of Lucky Charms with the label "all natural" the other day, and we all know Lucky Charms is anything but.
In addition, certain imitation foods may seem healthy and minimally processed, like instant oatmeal or whole grain cereal. Below is a diagram, if you will, using oats to illustrate how our foods move from a "whole" and nutritious state (top) to a highly processed and nutritionally depleted state (bottom):
- Most Natural and nutritious State (clean food)
- Least Nutritious State (Highly Processed Food)
Whole Grain Oats--Steel Cut Oats--Rolled Oats--Quick Cooking Oats--Instant Oatmeal--Packaged Cereal
Now is the perfect time to start this cleaning process. We're not telling you to throw away all your pre-packaged processed foods right now. All we are suggesting is, next time you go to the grocery store, plan to take a little extra time to read every label. Smaller steps and slower change are the keys to an easy and successful transition. When people go to the extreme and by raiding their pantries to clean out anything overly processed and toxic and then go to the grocery store and try to buy everything organic and healthy, what usually happens is they end up resentful and go buy a box of doughnuts and, well, you can imagine. All you need to do is read labels, and try to make a majority of your grocery list natural living organic foods and minimally processed foods. Stick to the outer isles of the grocery stores. As you go towards the inner isles, food tends to get more and more processed. Plan ahead and make grocery lists and stick to them. Go to farmers markets and let all the fresh seasonal "real" foods inspire you!
Clean living does not mean boring salads all the time. Having a clean kitchen is not about deprivation, it is about abundance! When you think about it, is there anything more important than you and your families health? Without our health, nothing else matters. It's time we all start thinking more about what we are eating and stop intoxicating ourselves.