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The Right Choice

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The doors slide open, and you are hit with an overpowering blast of frigid air. Some stranger smiles at you, handing you a little picture book covered in UPC codes while they tell you how glad they are that you are there, even though you both know they are lying. Welcome to the supermarket. The first thing you see as you head to your left is a sea of shiny foods that are reminiscent of those little plastic hors d’oeuvres that came with the kitchen play-set you got for your third Christmas. Are you supposed to eat these? You pick up an apple and you see your reflection in it. That can’t be right. How much stuff would someone have to spray on this piece of fruit to make it nearly blinding when it’s held up to light? And that row of vegetables – you know, the big case with all the misters – it scares you. This stalk of broccoli, that head of lettuce; these are the most alive things you have ever eaten. Never have you gone outside to get your food. That would be ridiculous! Why go to all the trouble of growing your own safe, untainted food when there are literal tons of processed goodies just around the corner? Those hippies who warn you of the dangers of eating the good tasting stuff are all on drugs, anyway, right? What do they know? So, you pick up the fruits and the vegetables that you know are good for you, because everyone says they are, and move on to the next ten aisles of packaged bliss.

The use of pesticides, synthetic growth hormones, artificial flavors and preservatives, and genetic engineering in foods has become so common throughout America that these methods are now accepted by many as the way food is grown. Most people are only occupied with the numbers behind the food they are consuming – calories, grams of sugar and fat, the amount of sodium in what they are about to eat – so they do not pay attention to the produce they are eating. Fruits and vegetables have obviously been proven to be vitally important to our bodies because of the vitamins, natural sugars, etc. that they provide. Because this is commonly accepted, most Americans throw their bananas, tomatoes, and even their meat into their shopping cart without a second thought, feeling satisfied that they have just made the healthy, and therefore “right”, decision. But so many artificial and potentially harmful chemicals have been added to everyday produce and animal products that Americans have been destroying their bodies one “healthy” choice at a time.

Food in America has become more than a vital commodity. It has become a monopolized industry. A select few major companies now hold the food industry in the palms of their hands, and they see food as a source of income, not health and well-being. Because these companies are so huge, they have regulated the way the grow, collect, and distribute their foods. This has led to more and more chemicals, hormones, and unsanitary conditions that affect the food Americans eat. Many documentaries and books have been released about these “norms”, including Food, Inc., Forks Over Knives, Food Politics, and even Upton Sinclair’s classic, The Jungle.

This isn’t to say that every food is bad, and that you can’t ever eat from a store again. Just know that some foods are really organic, while others just claim that title to be heard. There are stores out there that pre-screen every natural food they sell so you don’t have to, while some supermarkets just want the money, and they know that you’ll buy their food no matter what. So, next time you reach for that apple, try to imagine what an apple should look like naturally. Take it home and scrub it until the shininess leaves (that means that most of the pesticides have been removed), then bite in and know that you really are making the right choice.





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