Don’t Blame “Big Food”, We Pink Slimed Ourselves

pink-slime1Living in the developed world is a strange arrangement. We no longer suffer (as much) from the ailments associated with lack. Cholera and typhoid are almost never heard of in the West. By means of science and progress, we have eradicated these horrible diseases.

We now associate such diseases with poverty and disenfranchisement. Without a voice, money or market power, it is very difficult to change ones plight. The corporate world isn’t interested in what you want or need simply because you do not have anything they need. As a result, corporations can take advantage of you. They can poison your air, food and water with near impunity.

However, if you have money the rules change. While they will certainly try to cut corners when they can, corporations are much more interested in you because of your money. I know this is a bit cynical, but ultimately it is how capitalism works. The result is a strange “master and servant” cycle between us and the corporate machine. We are seemingly out-gunned when it comes to the marketing they bring to bear on us. They are increasingly dependent on shareholder money and approval. The strange part is that many of us, perhaps a majority of us, are shareholders in these psychopathic enterprises by means of 401(k) retirement funds and other investment instruments.  This means they are doing what we tell them to do by means of our mutual fund managers and our purchasing choices. The result of this co-dependent relationship is a huge increase in the disease of excess. Metabolic syndrome is exploding at an unprecedented rate. Obesity is so rampant it has become common. The corporate world works hard to provide products that we tell them we want.

We thought fat was clogging our arteries, so we pleaded for the fat to be removed from our food. This resulted in massive amounts of sugar and high fructose corn syrup being added to improve the flavor of low fat foods. This also brought about the addition of trans-fats in our food products. Another peculiar progression of low fat food culture was the not so beloved food product known as “Pink Slime”. Essentially, you can run a cow thru a blender and strain out the fat and bone and you are left with protein goop. That’s right, Pink Slime was a result of our demand for “healthier” low fat food. This really highlights the adage “be careful what you ask for”.

“Don’t go baby, I can change!”

It’s not all bad.  Terms like “natural”, “organic” , and “gmo-free” are becoming quite common in food marketing (although with dubious accuracy). All of this underscores how desperate the food machine wants your business. It’s like an old girlfriend or boyfriend coming up with new reasons you should stay together after your repeated attempts to break up.

This dynamic makes it clear (to me at least) that the “relationship” is ultimately destructive for at least one of it’s members. But can we survive without it? What would we eat if we didn’t have food products  Simply put, FOOD!  We would have FOOD!  Products (food or otherwise) are still products. This makes me think of what food writer Andrea DiMauro says in Carb-Loaded: “If it needs a barcode to exist, think twice about whether or not it is good enough for you and your family.”

Many consumers are discovering the multitude of benefits associated with eating real food. This means foods that are as close as possible to their original state. Real food is healthier because it has little, if anything, else added to it to improve the flavor or nutritional value. I call it “Eating Ingredients”. The less that our food has to go through before it gets to us, the better it is for us. (Here are some ideas). Eating ingredients means you are less dependent on the food “machine” for sustenance. In addition to your health, real food is often good for the local economy. Local farms of all shapes and sizes benefit.

At the end of the day, the corporate machine will keep plying you with the things it’s thinks you want.  The result of these efforts will ALWAYS be food PRODUCTS. If you are tired of the roller coaster that it is to be a food consumer, why not opt out and just eat real food.

Lathe Poland is one of the creators of the documentary film Carb-Loaded: A Culture Dying To Eat.

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