When we walk through a grocery store these days, it seems like we have an endless variety of food to choose from. The sheer amount of options on offer - from the right kind of yogurt to the precise shade of your egg-yolk - can be downright paralyzing!
But is this variety real?
Our society has certainly been led to believe that’s the case. In fact, the belief that we have a large amount of different products to choose from, spreads much further than just the grocery store- it goes as far as restaurants and agricultural farming practices, and comes as close-in as your own kitchen where you may struggle to answer the daily “what’s for dinner?”- question. For most, the very thought of having to eat the same meal over and over again is creating a feeling of missing out (let’s call it food-FOMO) given all the options we supposedly face.
But are we actually eating more diverse than people a decade ago ?
Michael Pollan, (journalist and activist) - and one of my favourite authors, reveals in his book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” how much of our processed food on offer is some strange version of corn. According to him “there is every reason to believe that corn has succeeded in domesticating us.” (Pollan, 2006, P.23).
Interesting thought. This would mean that we are not actually in control. Apparently, this little yellow kernel has pretty much outsmarted us in order to further its very own existence. What’s more, its versatility and ability to adapt to our needs quickly has infiltrated almost every aspect of our diet. Once we start having a closer look at what we are actually eating and where it comes from, we realize quickly that most of the food has been derived from corn at some point. Of course, we eat it in obvious forms, like taco shells and popcorn, but it enters our body-systems in other indirect ways, too. Animals like cows and chickens are being fed a steady diet of corn which we then consume as steaks and eggs. And on top of that is the huge array of compounds you can transform corn into, ranging from toothpaste, matches and whiskey to penicillin.
Thinking about it now, I have to say, the Standard American Diet (SAD) - ie. what the industry has on offer in North America - is exactly what its acronym suggests and is slowly turning us into a walking corn on the cob!
So, given this corny situation - how can we get real variety in our diet?
It appears as if the best choice we have, is to pick real food over processed and to shift our way of thinking to prioritizing quality again. Like our ancestors, we need to focus more on a variety of different plants and unprocessed food in order to get a broader spectrum of nutrients. Eating and preparing meals are intended to be nourishment for the body and soul rather than just being (ab)used for necessary fuel, as it appears to be connected to so much more than just our bodies.
There is a kernel of truth to the fact that we have a variety of options regarding what we put into our bodies: Eat real food (mostly plants!).
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Health and Fitness have always played an important role in my life.