Just so you know…
Pre-packaged food. OK, these words alone tell you where I’m about to go. I’m all for making life easier but having studied chemistry, and biology, food is where these words/worlds collide. Our food should provide the vitamins and minerals we need to sustain life, and most of these nutrients should come from plants. If they don’t they are coming from industry…extraction by machinery, chemical processes, all kinds of unnatural sources.
While grocery shopping, I was looking at a can of Spam the other day just out of curiosity and was surprised to see that it had only five ingredients…Pork, salt, water…all good…I cook a lot of meat foods with salt and water…sugar, it creeps into most diet unfriendly foods, no surprise…and sodium nitrite…just another salt to help the meat retain moisture and to prevent botulism. Sodium nitrite however, combined with acid, from the stomach or from charring heat has been found to be carsenogenic or cancer causing if enough parts per million are present. The FDA has set standards of acceptable levels but I’m just sayin’, that with the acceptable level of sodium being nearly 800mg/ 2 oz serving, I wouldn’t advise spending the week eating whole cans of fried Spam by yourself y’all. Oh, and the good news…if you ever get an urge to hitch up with someone, widowed several times, and you get really sleepy on your honeymoon, sodium nitrite is the antidote for cyanide poisoning. I’m just guessing that the old adage, “If it doesn’t kill you, it’ll make you stronger” came from the discovery of sodium nitrite’s properties in chemistry…And the small voice in my head said “PUT DOWN THE SPAM AND WALK AWAY”
So next, I find myself in the mac and cheese aisle. This “enriched” pasta food comes with a little pouchie of convenient yellow #5, yellow #6, Lake, yellow #5 lake colored chemicals and bits of dried milk, whey, cheese, and several other phosphates, dextrins cultures and enzymes. YUM! It’s the sodium caseinate a protein of mammalian milk that is used in paint, glue, and plastics, that fortunately, is largely used in cheese making as well…WHEW!
Other conveniently packaged foods contain disodium guanylate or disodium inosinate, foods like gravy mixes, instant soups, instant noodles, potato chips. This is harmless unless you are unaware that it is derived from dried fish and meat, might cause you to do something to accidentally go against religious beliefs or if you happen to be vegan…well, eat this stuff and you won’t be. If you suffer from gout, overdoing foods that contain this will have you clamoring on crippled feet for the purine reducing meds. But at least this food additive has not been connected to cancer or such afflictions as this: (in photo)
Calcium disodium EDTA is another of those common preservatives that help prop foods up…keeps canned beans from going pale, preserves freshness of mayonaise and salad dressings, preserves the taste of carbonated beverages and keeps fermented malt beverages from gushing. If you are not a worry wart, by all means don’t worry about this compound in your food…If you are a worrier though, and your doctor has told you that your anxiety is causing stomach problems, you might want to go easy on this stuff because it is known to cause gastric ulcers. Great! Another thing to worry about.
It is really difficult to get away from food additives. In the modern world, our food is littered with chemicals even before the food is “born”. Animals are given doses of antibiotics, and hormones to promote milk production, and to cause animals to give birth out of season. Crops are genetically altered to produce more, and bigger fruits. Chemicals are sprayed on them to deter pests…We have no idea how much they do to our food, yet we consume it by the ton. The thought of eating pink slime, a controversial part of meat processing, which is in many popular meat products, is giving me Soilent Green nightmares! Our food is so chopped up and spliced back together these days it’s sickening! Strictly regulated operation or not, does looking at that giant pink turd coming from a machine look like 100% lean beef to you, much less, like food? Looks to me like the plastic they make Malibu Barbie’s beach house out of. And they still have to add more colorants and texturizers to make it look like meat again. A multi-billion dollar industry such as this has a lot of clout with the FDA and USDA, not to mention the IRS to be able to lawfully feed the world this stuff. I’m thinking one hand washes the other as I look at this picture. At least the hands in this photo are wearing gloves.
We have families, jobs, homes, cars, and school. Many of us have no time or space for growing a garden or no means at all or even a desire to raise livestock so we must purchase these conveniences and we consume them without another thought. It saves us time preparing hamburger helper and condensed soup…but does it really? It’s time that might later be spent in the doctor’s office, home sick from work, or laid up in a hospital somewhere recovering from vascular surgery. It might take a little longer and more planning but we could at least start with meatless Monday, and maybe go to the farmer’s market for the freshest organically grown vegetables. It has been determined that eating less red meat can add years to your life…certainly the quality of it. I urge everyone to start reading labels and be more selective about what goes in your body and in your families’ bodies. If we demand it they will sell it. So let’s get a little more particular about it. Read your labels. Don’t buy it if it isn’t right. McDonalds stopped serving pink-slime laced burgers because people were outraged. We have the power! But only if we are aware of how to use it.