PROCESSED FOOD: A LOVE AFFAIR

Hello everyone,

 

Happy Friday! It’s the weekend! Do you meal prep? I recently started trying it out myself. If you don’t know what meal prepping is, its basically front loading your entire cooking for the week. Some people just do it for one meal, some people do if for literally all of them; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s a pretty good idea, because it is quite a bit healthier than, say, not being sure what to eat and instead eating out. I like to prep my meals over the weekends, though I have not moved up to prepping more than just my lunches. Usually I get my groceries  on Saturdays and cook on Sundays (if I have the option to go to my local farmers market on Sunday to get food, I prefer to do that). Much like planning your life with a schedule, by meal prepping you plan your food. The advantage of this is that you are making and eating real food.

I don’t mean real food as in edible items—technically McDonald’s and soda is something your body can use as fuel. I mean not processed foods. Processed food effectively is food with added treatments and what not to make it sustainable in long voyages across the country as well as able to last while it sits on shelves. Think something like…Lucky Charms or Hot Pockets, or even bacon (yes, I know, bacon. Sorry for the bad news). What I mean by real food is items that avoid these mechanical aspects. The human body is designed to break down natural foods. Michael Pollan’s Food Rules is a great guide to understanding the difference between good food and bad food (hey look, categories!), and I highly recommend you do your best to pick up a copy. Science wise though, human beings have gone through thousands of years of development as omnivores, which is a trait we have maintained to this very day. The difference is, however, that for that vast majority of time we survived primarily off of green foods, with the occasional pleasure with meats and sugars.

The reason meat and sugar tastes so good to us is because we are programed to enjoy their flavor more—to crave them. For so long, humans beings were incapable of getting the ideal amount of proteins and sugars in their diet (hence why we have adapted to function off so little of it), and thus our brain brokered a deal with our “want center” in order to push us to eat these foods whenever available, because, back then, who knew when the next time we would get some would be? Processed foods provide an easy production of these foods, which I’m sure sounds like a great thing, but in reality is bad. We don’t control our want center very well—we never get training for it, and it’s all reactions to chemical stimulants in our brain that we don’t really control. This allows us to overindulge in sweets and meats, which our bodies are not ready to process. The result is increased rates of obesity and diabetes. In order to reduce this problem, we need to get control of ourselves—and the best way to do that is to create a disciplined schedule of our food intake!

BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS

Hello everyone,

I had a blood orange today. Have you ever had one before? They’re absolutely to die for. They can be a bit hard to peel sometimes, but it’s well worth the struggle. After a few minutes of breaking off the reddish-orange exterior, your thumbs will probably be coated with a pink juice. The best part for someone who has only eaten plain oranges his whole life is that deep red that catches the eye where there should be orange. It really looks like someone injected a dye into the base of the fruit.

Then the first bite happens. Immediately, the juice within bursts through the membrane encapsulating the entire event. The flavor hits the tastebuds before the texture does. It’s so devilishly sweet, which is perhaps a feeling tied into the morbidity of the name. A smile creeps across my face, something that so few other fruits so passionately entertain. The citrusy smell that splits the air is riddled with the sweet smell that contradicts the poignant taste. But the whole experience is something you’ll never forget.

A bit excessive with my explanation right? Today, however briefly because I am clearly running late, I wanted to lament some ideas about excess. Firstly, it is important to recognize when something has become excessive. Too much food, too much sex, too many drugs, its all part of the problem. And it can be really, really hard to realize this-know that I personally have been unable to recognize personal excess until well after it changed how I lived my life. One of the best ways to combat this excess is to not cut it off entirely, but to subvert it. For me, this takes the form of eating tastier foods. I absolutely love eating out, to the point where I have gained weight and lost quite a bit of money. It’s unhealthy to eat like that too often, and in all likely hood it also depreciates my understanding of what it means to be a well rounded person. So I turned to things like, say, blood oranges. They’re exotic, which catches a similar vein to eating out (that is, they aren’t the “normal” foods), but they are also a healthy, fresh alternative. Treat the rest of life like that, and suddenly things are not just tasting better, they’re also feeling better too. There’s a certain wholeness that people get from accomplishing things themselves-whether its pride in their work or happiness in the outcome. Which is more valuable than any amount of money, because it is intangible. When I get my paycheck, sure, I’m happy that I can pay for gas and what not, but when I crack open that blood orange and watch it’s innards slosh onto the plate? That’s a different kind of satisfaction. The kind of satisfaction that make you want to go out and accomplish something, rather than with, say, money, where you are pigeonholed into keeping it all to yourself. Which is something we need more of in this hyper competitive world nowadays.