For the past several years, I’ve been hooked on a premise about food and eating habits. Particularly my eating habits. The idiom, you are what you eat is true, but even more precise is my own, very personal mantra; don’t eat food that takes more energy to digest than what it provides your body with.
Back in the 1980s, there was a hugely successful book called, “Fit for Life”.
It was one of the first self-help books that tried to provide explanations about the growing population of of overweight Americans, many of which were heading fast into a state of obesity. The authors brought forth several theories about, for example, how we ought not to combine proteins and carbohydrates in our meals, that we should avoid dairy products altogether in our diet, only eat fruit in the morning, and eat less meat and more raw fruits and vegetables.
In the wild, the book argued (with some fuzzy logic), carnivores only eat prey that are vegetarians. Therefore, by eating “living” food, like vegetables and fruits, as opposed to a diet consisting of processed ingredients and “dead food” that clog our digestive system and arteries, we’ll not only enjoy better health, ultimately, we get to live a longer life!
It’s now been over three years since I gave up meat and poultry. The family and I still eat fish and seafood and I have serious doubts I’ll ever be able to exclude meals that consist of sushi, mussels and shrimp from my life. But I am increasingly focused on removing overly processed foods from our fridge and kitchen. And by processed, I also include food that has been genetically manipulated or cultivated with the “help” of chemicals. Generally, chemicals are not added to benefit consumers. They are usually there as a means to improve profits for the conglomerates that produce them by enriching flavors (sugars), adding (synthetic) vitamins, enhancing flavors, manipulating characteristics (thickness, fluidity), prolonging shelf-life and improving crop yields (GMO).
Much of the food industry is incredibly cynical. Almost as bad as some of the most nefarious pharmaceuticals, like Purdue Pharma – a company that through dubious marketing practicies of it’s hero product, Oxycodone, is now claimed by the press in the US to be responsible for the tragic opioid addiction epiedemic that last year alone, direct or indirectly, claimed over 75,000 American lives.
I’m trying hard to be mindful about a wide range of things in my life these days. Especially about what I eat and drink. At 55, I’d be naive/stupid not to. So, I’m analyzing and making choices more carefully than say, when I was younger and my body’s ability to self-heal was seemingly infinite. But let me tell you, it’s hard. I mean, I grew up in the US in the 1970s when much of today’s fast-food and snack culture was invented and marketed as something unreservedly good, fun and desirable. A lifestyle worth pursuing. As it turns out, sugars (fructose) and salts (sodium) added to much of processed “foods”, have similar effects on us as other, illicit drugs, including cocaine, and create an addiction (which we at best recognize as a bad habit) that is really hard to break.
I’m a firm believer in the theory that you can either kickstart latent genetic diseases or do your outmost to thwart them by eating healthy food, exercising constructively (as opposed to destructively) and last, but not least, by giving your body adequate time to repair through resting, sleeping and meditating. It’s all about determining a good balance.
Some of my food photos from a variety of assignments can be viewed here.