SOMETHING EVIL IN MY CUPBOARD!
COULD IT BE WE ARE BOTH POISONING OURSELVES—UNWITTINGLY IN MANY CASES—AND BEING POISONED (perhaps not so unwittingly)?
ENRICHED UNBLEACHED WHEAT FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMIN MONONITRATE [VIT. B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VIT.B2], FOLIC ACID [VIT. B9]), WATER, RAISINS, YEAST, CORN MEAL, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING: SALT, DISTILLED VINEGAR, VEGETABLE OIL (CANOLA AND/OR SOY), VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN, CINNAMON, NUTMEG, YEAST NUTRIENT (AMMONIUM SULPHATE), DOUGH CONDITIONERS (PROTEASE, ASCORBIC ACID, AZODICARBONAMIDE), CALCIUM PROPIONATE AND POTASSIUM SORBATE (MOLD INHIBITORS), NONFAT DRY MILK.
From time to time, I like what are called in the U.S. “English Muffins”—particularly the kind with Double Raisin & Cinnamon. I don’t eat them every week, but more when the mood strikes.
Over four months ago, I bought a pack of Franz English muffins, but didn’t finish it—and then forgot where I had put it. The kitchen in this apartment is small, so I don’t have a traditional bread bin. I store stuff in an overhead cupboard. Because the top shelf is high, sometimes I cannot see what is there already so have a tendency to put packages or cans in front—thus obscuring what is there already. Normally it doesn’t matter because the goods are either canned or dry.
What can I say! I’m an absent-minded author!
Today I found those four month old muffins—I was clearing out the cupboards prior to moving—and was appalled to find that they still looked and felt highly edible. After more than a third of a year, that just isn’t natural.
Franz proudly boast that their muffins are free of High Fructose Corn Syrup and Trans Fat, but it is clear that other evils are afoot. Food should behave like food—and when it doesn’t, it is creepy. Is the food being irradiated? There is no mention of that on the packet. Either way, something is clearly wrong, and I junked the things. I doubt very much I will ever eat one again. When food is that unnatural, a sentient human being has reason to be frightened of it—because food can, and does, kill.
The comedian and talk show host, Bill Maher, states bluntly and often that we are poisoning ourselves by eating what is increasingly being called “Industrial Food.” Minimal research would indicate that he is almost certainly right—and that the combination of the industrial processes which we still quaintly call “farming” is producing food which, all too often, is downright hazardous to our health.
What do I mean by “industrial processes” when it comes to food? I mean factory farming, excessive antibiotics fed to animals, the triumph of genetically modified raw materials, massive overuse of insecticides, monoculture, the extensive use of dubious ingredients by food processors—and much more besides including padding-out processed food with cheap fillers (such as GM soy). Fillers are used to pad out the nutritional content. It is vastly cheaper to use cheap soy than more expensive meat but the protein content may look the same on the label.
Obesity and our general lack of fitness apart, the consequences of our poor diet are showing up in the fact that we tend to be significantly sicker than is the pattern in other developed nations, and we are dying younger than they do. Beyond that, our children are increasingly developing various conditions at a rate that is alarming. As the military comment regularly—because they have to reject so many candidates for physical reasons--we are not a healthy nation to the point here it has become a National Security issue.
Is our food the reason? I have no doubt at all but that it plays a major role in our current health plight. Next in line I would put lifestyle, and thirdly it is worth noting that we live in a massively polluted environment. Our air, land, and water is contaminated.
Are we doing much about it? Well, there is an organic movement, and many manufacturers are dropping High Fructose Corn Syrup—but, essentially, we are doing very little. The quality of our food has not yet become a major political issue. It needs to.
By the way, the reason French food is so much better lies in the ingredients. It is hard to over-emphasize this. This is not to decry French cooking—which is generally much superior to ours—but to make the point that the ingredients (the raw materials of a meal) are as fundamental to good healthy food as a solid foundation is to a house.
Perhaps the most worrying thing about ingredients is that all too often the difference is not detectable. It is comparatively easy to detect the difference between a factory farmed chicken and a genuine organic chicken, or between feedlot beef and natural grass-fed; but it is much harder where other foodstuffs are concerned. For instance, modern fruit tends to look absolutely gorgeous when it is racked up in all its visual physical perfection in a modern supermarket, even while the nutritional value of those same fruits can be shown to be but a fraction of their organic ancestors—and that is before we consider the very real threat from residual insecticides.
What you see is an illusion of perfection. What you get is, all too often, a mere nutritional facsimile of the real thing—and contaminated by chemicals into the bargain. And so we and our children get sicker sooner than we should—and we die years sooner. Surely this must be a cause for major concern? But, as of now, it is not.
A closing story: As most people know, bread is fundamental to the French way of life and it has to be bought daily because otherwise it goes stale. Well, I once visited friends in France who had a hole in the wall of their kitchen—as in a letter-box—for their daily bread delivery. It was a centuries old house. I have never seen that before or since (though it may be common for all I know) but I was charmed.
Perhaps the United States Post Office is in the wrong business—but should be in the food delivery business. After all, you cannot e-mail a baguette, but it does require to be either picked up or delivered daily. Five days a week would be a good start.