By Darrin LR Fiddler
July 24, 2018
I remember when I thought that getting ‘value’ meant getting more food for my money. I survived on years of instant meals and junk food, figuring that a calorie was a calorie. If I ate enough, it provided my energy for the day. Food was my fuel, and I was running my engine on filthy diesel. My energy was sufficient, but my health was not. When we eat garbage, we feel like garbage; when we eat well, we live well.
If you’ve watched the news recently, or in any time in history, we see how violent crime, intolerable cruelty, and blind rampages are erasing the signs of a civilized society. Those masterful illusionists of the media dish out stories of physical abuse and disaster, applying a slight-of-hand to divert our attention from the real killers: diet, lifestyle and disease.
Our bodily systems have been pierced by the corporate blade sponsoring and serving up our favourite shows. Commercials are designed to create craving, typically taking the door through our emotional centers. In a way, they’re delivering disease with desire.
The food industry is forever on the lookout for cheaper ingredients. It helps the profit margin. With chemical mastery and mass production, they conjure up an endless array of new, novel, and untested chemicals for our food.
The chemical addiction goes beyond experimenting with our food. There are “over 75,500 synthetic chemicals used in consumer products, agriculture and industry; 8,000 more in both cosmetic and food additives; plus a total of 25,000 in cosmetics, where less than 4% have been tested for safety in humans.”
We sacrifice our health choosing the convenience factor over nutrition. Much of this stems from living on tighter schedules and less free time. Convenience stores intersect our meals with cheap and quick satisfaction, extending the health care wait-lists as our waistlines expand. The ‘7-11 diet’ is composed of sugar, salt, fat, preservatives and additives. We pay for convenience with our health.
Even our “healthy” food and produce contains toxins, leaching in from industrial fertilizers and hazardous environmental exposures. Stain-repellents, plastics and Teflon particles travel from our food wrappers and cooking utensils into our microwaved and fried food. All are toxic and persist in our bodies. The package protecting our food from spoiling sabotages our health. The petrochemical industry would like to keep this hush-hush and have succeeded thanks to some powerful lobbying.
What effect do these toxins have on your body? How do fortified nutrients measure up against natural whole food? For starters, they’re not processed and metabolized like the natural thing and are more likely to confuse your bodily cycle, which then steers the chemical elsewhere in the body like your liver or fat cells. These molecules work like a computer virus, gathering up enough chemical code until it can chip away at our health.
Our bodies may hold together, but a deadly cocktail brews inside. These biological and chemical concoctions gather throughout the body and create unexpected ‘synergistic’ reactions. These mutated diets have deteriorated our wellbeing. This chemical buildup has a name, the chemical body burden, which depicts our maximum tolerable toxic level.
Our children’s still-developing systems are bombarded with unnatural chemicals, stunting their hormonal, physical and mental development. Our children’s education about nicotine and alcohol from the health authorities should include the risks involved in the food they eat. Nutrient deficiency predisposes our children to developing ADHD, asthma, overactivated hormones (reaching puberty by age eight), childhood diabetes and cancer.
Our choice of dietary habits primes our children for developing neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and ALS; diabetes and cancer have been on this the list longest.
While we consume pseudo-food for our health, billions of dollars in medical expenses and prescriptions attempt to balance it out. The Canadian Institute for Health Information estimates that, in current dollars, our total health care expenditure was $131.4 billion in 2004, $139.8 billion in 2005, and $148 billion in 2006. By 2014, it reached $214.9 billion.
Our diet burdens our health care system, with disease statistics climbing and livers crashing. We can continue this cultural hara-kiri, or move towards a healthier and more ingredient-aware society. Health is organic, and how we treat it either supports or destroys us.
Surviving on this nutrient-deficient diet indicates a need to re-evaluate your time. The instant meal cannot supersede the body’s importance. Turn your back on processed and fast food. Your health benefits instantly. With the proper replenishment, your body gets healthier, more energetic, and enables a fitter mind.
If you are what you eat, you probably don’t want to be a ‘pentathenol’. Consider the products labeled with unpronounceable ingredients and multi-syllable concoctions. Look for items that your grandmother cooked with. Whole foods can reverse the damage inflicted by the Western diet. The examples you set for your children are the ones they set for your grandchildren.
Turn your back on the marketing lures and toward a healthy lifestyle. Spend your money wisely. The law of supply-and-demand indicates that the more demand for the ‘expensive’ items increases the supply. With higher production, the cost drops its availability and affordability increase. If demand falls for the cheaper processed food, their price will climb back up to their unsubsidized price. What you bring to the checkout lane is your only voice in the lopsided ‘democracy of economics’. In that sense, you hold more power than the corporations can be comfortable with. Healthy food needn’t cost more; you just have to want it more.
Tougher government regulations and standards cannot impact your health as much as how you choose to live. Regardless of what policies are created, no law will make you live longer; that is your decision.
What option do you have instead of accepting whatever the market supplies? To regain your vitality, start respecting your inner body rather than decorating the outer. Begin with what you eat. Start by supporting products that promote health and longevity rather than those siphoning nutrition from your food and deconstructing your well-being. As a consumer in the supply-and-demand chain, the time has come to demand: “Detoxify what we eat!”
Buying local produce introduces riper, cleaner fruit and vegetables with a higher nutrient content into our diets; when the body receives the proper nutrients it craves less food. Planting a garden rewards you with the purest and freshest food, as well as building a connection to your plants and land.
The example is anchored in the home, where healthy eating habits need to be be introduced. How your family lives should include your children’s input, so include them in defining your healthy lifestyle and help reinforce their choices to eat well. Food eaten together also strengthens your sense of community; a tradition lost to the drive-thru lane and the TV dinner.
Gathering around the table and enjoying a meal with each other, once more common than the coffee break, has become more of an occasion than a habit. Sharing food connects you with those you share the meal with, as a symphony connects the audience in auditory unity. Anything of value is best shared, and once the joy of sharing with your neighbours and friends is experienced it’s hard to resist doing it again. By building this appreciation of your food and community, you are setting an example benefiting your health, family and wellbeing.
 DeGraaf, John; Wann, David; Naylor, Thomas H., Affluenza (San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler, 2005) 101
 Fitzgerald, Randall, The Hundred-Year Lie: How Food and Medicine are Destroying Your Health (New York, Dutton, 2006) 78
 Hurtig, Mel, The Truth About Canada (Toronto, Emblem, 2009) 10