Tuesday, August 24, 2004

A Martian Anthropologist Takes A Look At Our Food

A Martian Anthropologist Takes A Look At Our Food

We go to the store and turn on the television to be confronted by the most amazing shades of neon, and a circus of novelty products – all of which are sold in the food section of every local grocery store.

But we have to ask ourselves a very basic question: are these products even food at all? Never before has humanity had to think about this.

Nevertheless we are deluged with a wash of inventions that are counterproductive to our weight and health. We serve our children and ourselves the chemicals that send them and us circling the drain of metabolic disorders that will be imprinted for life. By giving in to clever corporate messages we treat Fruit Roll Ups as fruit, sodas as a viable substitute for milk, and cheese goldfish as a dairy product.

We live in the middle of the parade, and so often it can be hard to see how strange it all is, until you adopt an outside point of view. For example, let’s assume you were observing from another planet, and you saw a group of animals bolting down chemicals concoctions rather than the food they were ecologically “designed” for. Objectively, what would you make of that?

First, you’d scratch your bald Marian head and wonder why these people – who claim to seek good health and long life – would choose to put something in their mouths that, no duh, will naturally lead to ill health. But it’s even more odd to realize that they actually seek those items out.

And in a twist of earthly irony, these people are often led to unhealthy chemicals in response to the very problems caused by the chemicals in the first place! Examples include hydrogenated oil products as a prevention for heart disease, or sugar-filled low fat foods as the means to lose weight.

All this would make you baffled at the ludicrous nature of these self-imposed problems.

The animals, of course, are us. Seen from the outside, our attempts to deal with our weight and health by eating sugary “weight loss” slurries and candy bars passing off as diet aids can seem so bizarre. Especially when the answer is so basic and straightforward. In fact, it may be exactly because the answer is right in front of us that we cannot see it.

Eat food.

What criteria would you and your green-skinned Martian anthropologist colleagues use to classify something as a food? First of all, you have to identify the food chameleons.
Ø Being sold in the food section does not make it a food.
Ø Being 600 times sweeter than sugar does not make it a food.
Ø And unfortunately, even looking like food does not make it a food.

So we really must re-define food in a sane, thoughtful way, and hold to that definition. Foods can come in two categories: obvious foods and derived foods.

Obvious foods include things like apples, eggs, carrots, fish, and beans.
Ø Were all alive at some point
Ø Will normally go bad in a couple of days (with some exceptions like honey)
Ø May be found in a biology textbook
Ø Are not inventions

Derived foods, such as bread, cheese, ice cream, pasta, chocolate, can also be included in the food category.

Ø Are composed of parts that all satisfy the above criteria
Ø Can be made in the home
Ø All the parts can be found on a grocer’s shelf

So don’t be suckered by inventions and ads. And don’t wait for the latest food product invention to produce heart-valve problems, suicidal thoughts, or liver malfunction before you avoid them!! Get a head start on your health, throw away your inventions, and eat real food.

Will Clower, Ph.D.

Will Clower is the award-winning author of The Fat Fallacy and founder of The PATH Curriculum, The PATH Online, and Newsletter.

The PATH: America’s weight solution.
Dr. Clower can be reached on his website www.fatfallacy.com.

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