There is hardly a week without some shocking discovery. Food scandals and food safety hazards; cancer causing chemicals in food or personal hygiene products; drugs that kill; new reports telling us not to eat a particular thing and a while later another report urging us to embrace the very thing for our own sake. This is confusing to most consumers and many turn to alternative sources and organic produce. Those who can, grow their own food, but many are completely at a loss.
Last month I had a chat with my Facebook friends. Confusion is one thing, wish for clarity and safety another, but many people simply cannot afford "safe" food. The question is why harmful chemicals end up in food in the first place? And why on earth do we have to be affluent to be able to get what a decent human being deserves? Is clean and safe food only for those who can afford it?
I often look back in time when parents did not have to worry that much. Food was simply honest and safe. Food scandals did not exist. Some foods may have been bad for you because they had too much sugar or too much fat, but people, in general, ate well and did not worry about harmful ingredients. There were less food allergies and not many people were obese back then.
But something happened in the last few decades. People started consuming less food and replaced it with "food products" that were made in factories out of ingredients that had nothing to do with food.
Many housewives embraced quick and easy ready meals and few people questioned the necessity of food preservation. Who would object to food that does not spoil? But did anyone really ask what ingredients extended the shelf life of a product to ten or twenty years. Could such thing be safe for humans?
One does not have to be a conspiracy theory nut to deduce that the legislators are in cahoots with the food and drugs making industry. These people move through the revolving door - they either manage big food and pharmaceutical companies and get appointed to run federal agencies or move to politics later, or the other way around. At the same time consumers are getting sick from the junk they eat and the pharmaceutical industry is making exorbitant profits in attempt to cure them.
This really is horrible. But are we all helpless victims of some obscure machinations? If we collectively refused to buy the crap that is being sold to us maybe something would change. Yet for as long as only the affluent people can afford safe, organic produce on daily basis, many of us have to maneuver between the aisles and buy only what still resembles real food.
To everyone struggling to stay healthy on a budget I can only suggest a seious reconsideration of the choices they make. Investment in real, organically and humanely produced food will pay off. It will not only minimize health care bills in the future, but most importantly, extend the lifespan and improve quality of life in old age.
Remember that every time you reach for a product on a supermarket shelf you are balancing your life against someone's profits. Does this work out for you? Are you on the right side of the equation?
Dominique Allmon ©2013
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