Did you ever eat raw Cheerios, or raw Oreo cookies? Did you feel a film on your tongue and teeth afterwards? That was sugar. Whenever you eat finger food, if your fingers are sticky after you lick them clean, that's sugar. Did you ever spill a Sprite, or a Coca Cola? The sticky mess after, that's sugar.
If you home cook a 'minestrone', a famous, delicious Italian vegetable soup, or a French bouillabaisse, a fish soup, they don't make your fingers sticky. Interestingly enough, the health care systems in those countries have much less obese people to deal with, and much less cardiovascular problems in their population. The two dished are only examples.
This article is dedicated to helping you find your way through all the misinformation you don't have time to filter out. I took the time to do all the tedious research and fact checking, so you don't have to. Of course, since you don't know me, I took the liberty of posting my most important, relatively easy to read sources, at the end of this article, so you can check where the information I give you comes from, me being a former construction manager, after all.
Now, wouldn't it be great if we could have a little healthy impact on a few people's lives? If only a handful readers out there would begin eating healthier after reading this, maybe after a while they would begin to tell their friends about their advancing health and fitness, and so on. And after all, this is only a brand new blog, imagine all the thousands of great articles on this matter out there, certainly, we're on the right path, and we're not alone.
I want to make sure the following is understood. Please, do not get anxieties about what you eat today or tomorrow. Conscious eating and resulting, healthy eating habits, show their effects with the passing of time. Being overstressed, or having anxieties about what foods you consume, such behaviour is just as unhealthy as the junk you potentially ingest.
I guess a good place to begin, would be our own habits, especially if you have minors at home, specifically under 12 years of age.
From what I have read and heard, not having children myself, it is hard in today's western societies, for parents and especially single parents, to make enough time free to spend with their children. I am far from criticising anyone here, I respect all parents immensely, for doing what I never had the guts to do. What I hear is that most of them are doing what they can, it often seems to just not be enough. I don't know you, I have no idea what hardships you go through every day to sustain your family, but shouldn't the health of a child be THE number 1 priority in its parents life? Maybe, some parents should look into acting more like it is, else, why have children in the first place?
If you are not sure where to begin, that would be very understandable. A good place would be to begin living and eating more healthily yourself. (or informing yourself how to do so, which is the purpose of this article)
Let me begin with 'open markets'.
Open markets, with few regulations, can be a good thing, freedom is a good thing.
With one particular freedom though, it's not so easy. The freedom of large corporations to do pretty much do as they please, has been going rampant, out of control. In Switzerland, where I am from, we have learned from a long history of free market, that the bigger a company grows, the more prone it becomes to neglecting social responsibilities and pro consumer policies. (Swiss examples: Nestlé, Glencore, Novartis) I believe this is partially due to the fact that the closeness to the consumer goes amiss. We can not expect politics to react anytime soon, for obvious economic considerations.
A corporation's foremost goal is trade, profit, not consumer health or welfare. I am not complaining about that, it is logical, we have to expect it. What is NOT logical, is that we blindly buy what they advertise. We have a choice, it is called, 'Consumer choice'. If we neglect that liberty, we surrender our democratic rights to the corporate giants, their policies and their objectives, and we lose the right to complain.
Instead of waiting for our politicians to take our side, we should begin to teach children/adolescents from elementary level on, about what a healthy and tasty 'diet' consists of, how different food products are made, by whom and with what ingredients, and whether some of them may adversely affect our health. We should let them in on basic deceiving marketing tactics that they will be faced with out on the street in everyday life. We should show them how to shape an informed opinion on issues that matter, and how to check facts by most importantly using common sense. Primarily, we should teach our children how to spot issues that matter versus those which don't.
Bingo, I am certain, that within a decade or so, moronic advertising for worthless junk and 'junk' food, will become much less effective as a result of a better informed adolescent population. I guess this process has already begun, we need to push it and go about it more seriously.
Alongside with changing what you consume at home, we should 'pressure' school principals into pressuring their school boards, into pressuring legislators to write legislation that would support building a better, more sustainable, more conscious and healthier world for the generations of human beings that will succeed us.
What is Junk Food, what is healthy food? I like the following answer, it's simple.
"If it’s real, naturally occurring, unadulterated and unprocessed, and nutrient-rich. If you can grow or raise it, it’s real. Included are fresh fruits and vegetables, lentils and beans, eggs, real cheese (see, “Milk proteins: The Good and the Bad”), whole pieces of meat (such as fish, beef, chicken), nuts, seeds, and similar items. Consuming these foods provide a great potential for both immediate and long-term health benefits.
Junk food is everything else" - Dr. Phil Maffetone -
We may not agree with all he says about working out, but that statement makes sense, does it not? Of course, there is more to it.
The subject of advertising to minors, especially the more susceptible children under 12 years of age, is an issue we should deal with. Every parent can begin this process at home today, it's easy and fun. Children literally eat up new information, it is my humble opinion that we should give them useful knowledge and advice, instead of actual and intellectual 'junk food'.
Personally, I just enjoy fresh food much more than that which needs 'shelf life extenders' to make it through the entire distribution chain 'alive'. I am aware that we can't fix the logistics for the production and distribution of food for tens of millions of people, especially in cities, without any chemicals at all, not yet, but we can begin to buy local, can't we? I realise that some single parents don't have as much time to spend with their children as they would like, but is it necessary that they eat Cheerios for breakfast every day, or, or that we never tell them how bad Red Bull and Coca Cola are for them, or that we let them watch TV advertising for hours a day, or that we eat a steak three times a week?
Young people, like adults, love the conveniences the internet offers us. Use that interest. Take an hour a week with them and surf useful information. Train them how to distinguish between right and wrong. Show them that, show them WHY it matters from where information originates. Show them why it is important to know, who gave us a specific advise.
I realise, there are as many 'situations' as there are families out there. I can't address them all, I can only show a general direction.
Your children get 'addicted' to junk food, here is why and how. (great reading, really, click on the following link and read, if you are interested in the dangers young humans are faced with when consuming junk food. You might read it WITH your kids.
So junk food makes us happy, but apparently they do that in the same ways that drugs make the addicted happy. So do we want to be addicted to food that has little to no nutritional value, and actually may have ingredients that will make us sick on the long run?
By the way, those who actually begin eating more consciously, enjoy it a great deal. Many start cooking daily, which often is an improvement in itself.
Misleading, misinforming and badly sourced articles don't help lessening the apparently nutrition related health problems we observe increasingly in young humans. Reducing and regulating advertising for low on essential nutrients, sugar laden' 'food' products full of saturated and trans fats, to children would be a start. That kind of advertising counteracts our attempts to educate young humans.
You could begin talking to other parents in your child's school, find out how they feel about the subject, and form groups of concerned parents. Together you can talk to the teachers and principals, who in turn, if you place enough pressure on them, begin supporting your communiqué with local politicians, even MPs.
Will this process be easy, will it be quick? No, no one says it will be, but consider the alternative.
Can you find 30 minutes a day to give to this cause, to the future health of your child?
Industrially produced potato chips, as an example, you know they are worthless, if not outright unhealthy. Some kids eat these empty calories for pure stimulation, the release of dopamine in their young brains rewarding them, several times a day, alongside a Red Bull, or a Sprite. This habit drastically reduces their intake of food containing more valuable and essential nutrients.
Admittedly, science is unclear on some subjects, but the direction is clear, fresh food simply tastes better, is more nutritious, and also, generally, more ecologically and sustainably farmed, as it comes from more local sources. Organic food, I am aware, is not the final solution, but it is a first step in the right direction. Aeroponics and vertical farming, I believe, will be some of the future ways we produce our produce, or most of it.
I will not address weight loss diets, gluten or wheat, or MSG or BHA in this article, scientific evidence linking some of the general 'culprits', as hyped in the media, is at best, inconclusive and I want to stay factual. I am certainly addressing added sugars and certain saturated and trans fats, they are literally poisonous, especially to young people.
The following are some scientifically convincing sources.
The right of food giants to peddle their 'worthless', but expensive (considering what they are) products to children, even inside schools, should not exist. Talking to fellow parents, teachers, principals, and finally politicians, is crucial, if we want to incite a change in society towards living healthier lives., and towards allowing for a better world for our children to live in.
By the way, I am all for science and advancing food production via science. I am definitely pro hydroponics, aeroponics and vertical farming. Organic farming, If done right, is definitely a solution for now.
Organic farming is in fact a great alternative to conventional farming, even more so in combination with above mentioned advancing systems. The word 'organic' should be seen as a concept, as an actual word with a meaning, not as a label. If you like to trust labels, go check what their policies, quality control mechanisms and certification requirements are, before trusting them.
I have more than enough evidence to support these concepts, if you are interested. In order to keep this article to an acceptable, readable length, here is a first, great article.
I believe the above mentioned concepts may become part of a solution for the future of human 'food' supply and would be much preferable to pesticides or current conventional systems of agriculture.
No matter what adverse 'untruthful', biased information you may have come across, the consumption of grain fed beef should be reconsidered, it necessitates the use of large amounts of energy, water, antibiotics and growth hormones. Besides, if you care, your kids probably do, grass fed cattle have a very 'unhappy' life, filled with pain, stress and disease. The fact that grass fed cattle emits more methane by belching than grain fed cattle, is near irrelevant. The total contribution from the meat production to greenhouse gas emissions are around 2%. This does not include the cost for, and the CO2 footprint of pharmaceutical products, needed with the grain diet, and their negative impact on the environment, especially antibiotics resistance and growth hormones. Also, grass fed beef is more often sold locally, a practice which entails less transportation and causes therefore less stress for animals. As a consequence, it has a smaller CO2 footprint and a shorter distribution chain. In addition, no food in form of soy and grains hase to be transported. If you are not sure, do what feels better for you, litterally follow your gut feeling. In my view, it is best to just eat less or no meat, and when you do, make it meat from local and organically producing farms you may even know.
In another aisle, trans fats are bad for us, we know that today. The industry is following the growing demand for trans fat free products, and replacing these unhealthy, hydrogenated oils with palm oil. Palm oil is mostly not sustainably or ethically farmed, at least not in the quantities in which it iscurrently being used. In Indonesia and other regions, rural, pristine forests are being cut down to make space for plantations. This is destroying the habitats of many endangered species, most prominently, that of the Orang-utan ape, a beautiful, emotional and intelligent primate. Talk with your children about this.
I am not trying to tell you what is best for your child's health, I am trying t help you find out what is.
Should you find errors in my research, or in my argumentation, please do feel free to fill me in. After all, you are my editors.
Finally, I posted some sources that help you stay informed:
First a quote from Grant Gordon, the President and Creative Director, Key at Gordon Communications, Who is also writing for 'Huffingtonpost'.
"I used to work in the big bad world of mainstream advertising, so trust me on this one. Fast food is this generation's tobacco. Both products are poison."
Here is the entire article, it's really good.
Oh, and I just found the following in an article. The FTC released its long-awaited principles for food marketing to children yesterday. "I guess the food industry got in the way" says the author, but also, "The principles are supposed to apply to all forms of media, print and electronic. If so, the food industry will have a much harder time marketing foods to kids.” That's great news.
Here is more, broadly sourced information.
The following one, while true in it's core, I think it's a bit heavy.
For more scientific sources, please contact me at, firstname.lastname@example.org
I want to remind the reader, to always do their own fact checking, and do what they feel is right. Your basic instinct is usually on a good track.
Thank you for your interest, be well
Alexander Somm, 21 August 2017
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