Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Guaranteed-Result Couch-Potato Diet!

Recently, researchers concluded (in this study) that organic food isn’t any more nutritionally valuable than non-organic food.  To which I responded with a resounding “duh…”

It’s true that there are questions about the reliability of the test results.  But the biggest thing that this proves to me is: Americans are stupid about food.  Really, why would the non-use of pesticides or the use of natural fertilizer boost the amount of Vitamin C in an orange, for instance?  I wouldn’t even suspect that the raspberries plucked right from under the nose of all those bees and hornets that buzz around our family raspberry patch are better for me than the ones they stock at Wal-Mart.  (they may taste better but I think that has more to do with the freshness factor)  I never thought organic food was better for me than non-organic (and, let’s be honest, it’s way worse for my wallet).  If I want food that’s better for me, I go for non-processed food, regardless of how it was grown.  I avoid sugar and excess fat and meat.  The reason for organic food, in my mind, has always been for the health of the earth and in support of better farming practices.

But, all things considered, I’m not surprised that the healthiness or non-healthiness of organic food is a research-worthy topic.  After all, America is the nation that thought it could subsist entirely on meat.  We are just incredibly dumb about food.  The diet industry is entirely funded by the millions of people who have no idea what it is they put in their mouths every day.

I won’t lie to you: I like to eat cheap, processed foods sometimes.  My favorite snack for awhile in college was Easy Mac, for crying out loud.  But I eat food like that the same way I read those books comedians write.   No, screw it, bad analogy – laughter is the best medicine, and processed cheese product probably isn’t.  The point is, cheapness and convenience in food is quite pleasant but it’s not something I want to live off of.

Cheap and convenient is just one symptom of what has been called our “national eating disorder.”  It’s what happens when you listen to the marketing narrative that’s pushing processed crap.  “Ready in 2 minutes!” they shout.  “Save money!”  Until you consequently have to spend lots of time and money at the doctors’ office, this is an enticing narrative indeed.

But cheap and convenient is just the tip of the iceberg. (Also, did you know iceberg lettuce is basically water? Yeah, go for Romaine instead).  The big money comes in with the diet schemes.  The people who think up the diets get money, their publishers and advertisers get money, every company that can spin their product to fit the dieting fad gets money.  And as soon as the FDA (or whoever regulates these things) gets in there and slaps a truth-in-advertising law on some over-used word or phrase, the marketers come up with something else to dupe the unsuspecting masses into buying their food products.

Sadly, by the time the average American wakes up to the fact that she is stupid about food, she finds herself so swamped in contradictory information that she doesn’t know who to listen to.  That’s the problem with living in a nation of self-proclaimed experts on everything.  It’s almost impossible to sort through the crap and find the truth.

So as much as I might roll my eyes at this silly organic-food-isn’t-extra-healthy study, maybe some people actually need it…and then the eye-roll is back and I figure if someone really needed this study, there’s probably not much hope for them.

Oh look, an article in my latest fashion magazine about how dieting fads don’t work.  Geez, and last month they had this awesome “cleanse” article, and… I think the way I actually manage to keep my weight pretty stable and my health pretty solid is by just ignoring nearly all the advice.  If some nutritionist somewhere does happen to agree with me, I just nod and move on.  Who cares.  Apathy is a legitimate dietary choice…right? At least I’m consistent.

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