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February 10, 2010


Christopher Hartley

Your article has moved me to write.

My brother and his wife are raw foodists, not only do they eat nothing with a face, but they do not cook their food at all.

I am not so radical as my brother, and believe more in the moderation approach. But in debating with my brother I have learned much about the food industry.

You are probably right to stick to the subject that most people understand, such as sugar, fat, and salt and drive it home. But if truth be known the problems are much worse than that. Like the cigarette industry, components which cause addiction such as MSG are a huge part of the food industry.

They also cover it up by mislabeling and using loopholes like using another name for things - such as flavour enhancers.

Labeling is very flawed in the labeling of sugar, for example. The labels are meant to list the ingredients with the most amounts first. If you look closely you will see that the industry puts sugar in the product in different ways so it will not appear at the top of the list (eg corn syrup).

MSG has a devastating effect on those who are more susceptible to its brain-altering effects. MSG mimicks natural substances that are normally used by the brain. To me, any unnatural substance that fools the body to absorb it, no matter what the effect, cannot be good.

Then there is the use of cheep oils and the industry’s lack of consideration for the health of the world. The industry's propaganda is that cheap oils are healthier. I understand that when coconut oil was in short supply during the Second World War. It became necessary to find alternatives like corn oil and cotton seed oil. After the war the industry decided it was cheaper to use these alternatives and waged a campaign to vilify coconut oil.

These are just a couple examples that are only the tip of the iceberg. If the truth were known, I think the scandal would be as big as the tobacco industry. The problem is we can't quit eating, and are at the mercy of the industry.

Making us addicted by using MSG as well as sugar, fat, salt, and flavoring increases sales. Making a long shelf life at the cost of low nutritional value makes for more profit. Making food with cheap oils and cheap ingredients increases profit. Brain washing us with propaganda to make us buy the crap increases profit.

Can you imagine if the law required a disclaimer for fast food as well as chips and candy stating that these products may cause a long list of aliments ending in death?

The medical industry and drug companies are benefiting with huge profits by now treating us for the ailments generated by the food industry to the point of bankrupting the modern world.

On a positive not the pendulum may slowly swing and the industry and public be swayed to make corrections.

Maybe then we can start to fix the health and state of the planet. My mother told me many times: “Do not try to save the world, but save yourself, and then help those around you and work outward."

Piter Hale

I recall a Calvin & Hobbes one-liner solution on problem obesity – “eat less, exercise more”.

How about an even simpler one: “eat plain”. This way you can still stuff yourself, but the calorie count is lower. And don’t worry about exercise if you’re too heavy to enjoy it – you can’t lose weight without taking in fewer calories. After all, the skinnybones extracted alive from the Port au Prince rubble the other day didn’t exactly exercise to lose weight!

Eating plain: e.g. plain microwaved whole potato instead of potato chips or French fries. And minimizing the meat intake.
Trick is to lose the sweet/savory tooth. Most of us wouldn’t be able to come up with enough saliva to get a plain potato down. Once you’ve lost the sweet/savory tooth however, you’ll find that sucker’ll go down tout suite.

I happened accidentally upon how to lose the sweet tooth – in my student days at a part time job, the queue for the sugar didn’t leave enough time to get the tea down before the break ended, so I just skipped the sugar.

If you find yourself facing something with sugar/salt in it, e.g. cheap peanut butter, mix it up with something bitter e.g. celery or spinach.

Important thing is you can quickly get to the comfortable “force of habit is stronger than will power” zone. Nobody can stick to a diet, because that requires willpower. However, anybody can form habits. This means you no longer have to subject yourself to those diet/binge oscillations because you’ve conditioned your palate to consider junk food as too sweet/salty.

To reinforce the health habit, throw in some techniques such as brushing teeth after the meal, and then not snacking between meals.

Trouble with eating plain food is that it might be a hassle finding it when you go out. I’ll let you figure out the solution for that.
Also lots of calories in beer/alcohol, another socializing challenge. My solution is the same for both, but perhaps you can work out another. After all, most of us live to socialize.

Remember: “eat plain”, and “force of habit is stronger than will power”.

Leandra Esfakis

Studies on the "Mediterreanean" diet show it to be one of the healthiest diets, compared to other western diets.
It has a higher portion of legumes, fish, fruit and vegetables. From my observation of the Cretan diet, most of the food consumed, is fresh -not frozen, and without preservatives.
One study shows that Cretans enjoy better cardiac health and longevity than the other nations in the study.

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