The reality is that the words ‘more’, ‘bigger’ and ‘better’ have become the ones that best represent how we set benchmarks, and this relates as much to our food choices as any other decisions we make. The ‘supersize everything’ mentality applies not only to our homes, our cars, our television sets, but also to the meals we eat, the sodas we drink and not surprisingly, the girth of our waistlines. Why stop at ‘enough’ after all, when we can have more?
It seems it’s not enough either to just eat the ‘whole’ food itself, mostly we seem to prefer to eat some Frankenstein version. It’s got to be better, right? Why isn’t it enough any longer to just eat an apple? Why do we need ‘apple snacks’ in packets with a super-long shelf life? In T. Colin Campbell’s latest book, Whole, he explains some of the process that takes place when we eat an apple. He talks about the thousands of metabolic reactions inside the human body and how “calculating the specific influence of each chemical isn’t nearly sufficient to explain the effect of the apple as a whole. And that’s just an apple”. If we really stop and think about it, is it so hard to believe that just eating the darned apple is the best choice? So long as food producers keep focusing on playing around with food, our bodies will continue to face the daily challenge of having to work out how the heck to process and eliminate these foreign invaders.
To some, eating a whole foods plant-based diet might seem a little twee, somewhat old fashioned perhaps, too unsophisticated. I would suggest the opposite: if we humans stopped and switched on our brains regarding food choices, it would surely be a likely conclusion that it is better to eat an apple than a donut, a salad than a pot of chips – what’s new about that? How come we all seem to know about which foods are healthy, but only a few of us are actually eating them? My conclusion? It’s all about the ‘E’ word – it has become far preferable to have too much than to have enough. And producers are more than happy to go along with that philosophy. That’s why it’s cheaper to buy 2.5 litres of Coke than the petite bottle that Coca Cola put out to save our souls (or was it their souls?).
I’m not a particularly religious person, but I did go to convent school for the first few years of my young life, and I can still remember a few prayers – which I never fail to repeat in my head at take-offs and landings whenever I fly. Where’s this leading, you might be wondering? Well, on a recent flight while repeating The Lord’s Prayer in my head (as you do), I thought how important it was that this prayer asks we be given our ‘daily bread’. It doesn’t ask for bread for tomorrow, or next week, a few extra loaves for the freezer perhaps, and it certainly doesn’t mention cakes or pies and an icy cold bottle of soda. There is nothing wrong with planning for tomorrow, but we also need to have faith that what we do today sets us up well for all the tomorrows ahead, and that our avaricious appetite for more does not overshadow our appreciation of what we have in front of us right now.
When asked what surprises him the most about humanity, the Dalai Lama replied: “Man – because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present, the result being that he does not live in the present or the future. He lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
I think we need to work on changing that – are you in or out? CARRIE STEELE