Tuesday, March 5, 2013

It Ain't Cheap and It Ain't Easy

How often do you see Buy One Get One Free carrots, apples, or cauliflower? 

When my parents became senior citizens they were entitled to free government food that was handed out where they lived. You know what that free 'food' was? Five pound blocks of 'cheese food', large cans of hydrogenated, sweetened peanut butter spread and jumbo bags of white pasta. The food pantry I volunteer for gets donations from our church members but also food given out by the government. Each item on the government list is a processed food. ALL contain some kind of corn sweetener or cane sugar with the exception of the coffee and salt. In giving the poor all this processed crap and calling it a nutritional subsidy, isn't the government subsidizing the growing diabetes epidemic? 

This week Diane at Fit to the Finish wrote this post  on the Real Cost of Cheap Food. You can read the post by following the link. It is, as Diane's posts often are: excellent, timely and very honest. There was a comment that really struck a chord with me. The author of the comment, the blog writer of Contemplative Fitness wrote
I think people do understand the costs of cheap food, but do so on a visceral level, and largely block it out — kind of like sexual abuse. That’s a bold statement I know, and will likely offend some, but I believe it’s valid. All one needs to do is turn their head 360 degrees to see how we, as a society, block out the ugly, and ignore our problems — as those problems increase in size and complexity. 
Today I understand cheap food as a creditor charging high interest to the point of usury. Its bill comes due at a time when I have no means to pay what I owe because the most damaging effects of cheap food may not be obvious for years. When it is, it saps the only body we have - and the effects of cheap food will undermine that body. There is no relief. There is no consumer protection agency or bankruptcy protection to save our bodies from the ill health lien this demanding creditor places on our physical well-being. 

In averting our eyes from the truth, averting our minds from the truth, averting our bodies from the truth we think we are on the easier path but what we are really doing is taking the harder way out.

And just so I do not give the wrong message let me add this: When I did understand the cost of cheap food and made the decision to use better quality food in my binges it did not mean I had 'healthier binges." It only meant I was averting my eyes from yet another truth.

Whether the candy is the cheapest Palmer brand machine-pressed-coco-flavored bunnies or organic, papal conclave-approved hand-wrapped-chocolate hands in prayer - eating a whole bag (minus the two pieces you shared with your kids) is still damning to your body to the same hell. 



Norma said...

It's a tough truth to swallow, Jane (pun not intended), but if something kills us slowly (processed food, tobacco), the government is not only in favor of our having easy access to it, but encourages the propagation of those materials through subsidies, and reaps the benefits through taxes.

Jane Cartelli said...

I know this and I know many other people know this. People more intelligent, more participatory, more dedicated to change, so I wonder: how did it get so WRONG?

Norma said...

I was completely ignorant of the insidious nature of Big Food until about five years ago. Even as an intelligent, educated, critical, and, some would say, cynical person and consumer, I had no idea that if something claimed to be good for you in its commercial or had the word "healthy" on its package, that it probably wasn't. I'm sure it was the same for you and so many other people who were pulled in by the promises of "lite" and "fat free," etc. Don't blame yourself; they laid a very seductive, completely legal trap for consumers, with the help of crop subsidies and lobbyists.

Unknown said...

The problem is that this food is easy to grab, eat, and forget about.

I've been working lately with eating nutritonally dense foods-whatever the food is, it needs to have vitamins, minerals, with fuel to keep me going for my activities.

it might take a little longer to prepare a meal, but I think my body is worth it.

Unknown said...

Yes this is sad . Processed foods are killing our nation. They need to subsidize farmers who grow vegetables so their costs could come down.

Jane Cartelli said...

And let's get the government to understand that corn, beets and sugar cane are not a vegetables. They are starches. Before anyone beats me up on corn let me add that I love a fresh piece of corn on the cob. It is what happens to corn after they take it off the cob that I have a problem with.