The Meaning of Food

January 17, 2012
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The meaning of food has developed a hazy definition in today’s society, and many Americans seem to ignore the obvious issues presented on the dinner plates right before their eyes. Behind the joyful music and colorful displays of every modern grocery store is a complete pandemonium of madness. Isles are stocked with edible chemicals in disguise for food, and “low calorie” and “healthy” are oddly portrayed as equivalent. What is most puzzling about society’s consumers is that they are absolutely aware of this madness, yet they are, at the same time, absolutely oblivious.
Although I could blame simple laziness and utter ignorance on the way we in which our society nourishes ourselves today, my heart does have some sympathy. We cannot help the sad fact that food companies use deceiving advertising to hide behind their ingredient list consisting of extensive gibberish that has replaced simple sugars and grains for a lesser cost and a greater profit. Of course I, being a fanatical health nut with much too much information about the matter, I am not as easily tricked by the sneaky packaging. But for many poor hungry souls, the fault is not entirely theirs. For those dieters who have a cereal bar for breakfast, a hundred calorie pack for lunch, a lean cuisine for dinner, and a sugar-free treat for dessert, I am truly sympathetic. They call this routine a diet; I call it ingredient indulgence.
Many think that the food industry has embraced healthy eating. These blissfully unaware people believe, that with all the new “healthy” options in grocery stores, we are moving toward becoming a healthy society. The truth is that food chemists will find anything that is edible and tastes sufficiently similar and substitute that ingredient for a lower calorie, lower carb, lower sugar, or lower fat alternative to create a mimic of our favorite sinful indulgences. To my dear dieting friends, I caution that these temptingly convenient and miraculously enticing diet foods are often far from healthy. I believe that eating right should not be a diet, but a lifestyle. I believe indulging on one’s favorite pleasure in proper proportions is not only okay, but healthy. Food brings happiness and brings people together. Such a powerful part of life should be savored rather than sacrificed.
We owe our bodies the knowledge and respect of genuine nourishment. Being healthy means knowing where our food is produced, who produces it, how it is produced, and what went into the final product. The complexity of the industrial food process is completely hidden to most consumers of the products, and this is information we should have. Although idealistically, everyone would live off the local produce of their immediate surroundings, I know that in the wonderfully industrious country we live in, this is not realistic, nor would it be worthy to all the amazing gifts the American states have to share with each other and the rest of the world. More importantly, I believe that each individual should endow their bodies with the respect of being aware of what they are buying and consuming, so that as a whole, our country can work together to provide the true essence of genuine nourishment.





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