Thursday, March 01, 2007

is food our enemy?

there has been much made in the news lately about obesity and the flip side- anorexia. from models dying on the runways of the fashion world; to a family in britain being threatened with the loss of their son to the government. the world in general, and america in particular has suddenly come to the realization that its inhabitants are not healthy people. i have lived both extremes- and the problem with food is a complex one to oversimplify it.

when i was younger, i was anorexic. i didn't eat because i had a poor self image and had always been a chunky kid. it is amazing what doors open for you when you are young and pretty and thin. too bad i couldn't enjoy the attention because i was tired and didn't feel well most of the time. when i met my husband, my self image had improved but food was still the enemy. all that i had denied myself, i began to eat. i ate to insulate myself from issues i had never properly dealt with- namely the alcoholism within my family. i was absolutely miserable and i shielded myself with food- but felt guilty for every mouthful. and it wasn't just me. my room mate in college was a bulemic. it seemed like many of the women i was in college with either felt guilty about what we ate or simply didn't eat.

happily, today, i have a more healthy approach to food. i am beginning to make peace with myself and with food. what i have found as i have looked at labels and packaging is, food in america sucks. unless you slaughter your own meat or grow your own fruits, vegetables and grains- the food is more or less crap.

there is cause to become a vegan or vegetarian as our meat is filled with hormones that were fed to animals for faster growth to get them to slaughter as quickly as possible- or to get them to produce more milk. the slaughter house practices and transportation is often unsanitary and leads to outbreaks of food poisoning. the grocery shelves are full of canned and refined foods ready made for convenience but loaded with sodium and corn syrup- both contributers to poor health. not to mention the 85 preservatives with names i can't pronounce that just can't really be good for you. and- even if you can afford fresh fruits and vegetables- unless you buy organic- you get food poisoning there too. the last 3 outbreaks of food poisoning came from peanuts, lettuce and tomatoes. sigh.

so, what are consumers here to do? we who live in the land of plenty- that is in reality plenty of crap? i don't know. i buy fresh and frozen when i can- and i don't buy pre fab stuff. trying to get back to whole grains and whatnot is tough on the food budget- and we are a family of 2. it is discouraging to say the least but i just cut out as much junk food as i can and continue on my journey to where i don't feel guilty about putting food on a fork and into my face. perhaps the rising numbers of people with food issues also signifies the rise in self loathing as a nation. i don't know. we'll have to wait and see.

american obesity association

obesity in america


dawn said...

Good post, I was not a skinny teen not fat but not skinny either. As an adult i looked anorexic. In fact I gained 90 pounds after my first child and weighed 109 3 months after giving birth. It wasn't due to a diet just running around with a baby and metabolism. I am now fat for me. Nobody told me when you hit your 40's your metabolism changes. I used to be able to eat what I wanted. Now iam watching because I need to loose 20 pounds. I don't really know how to diet because I never had too. I'm glad you've come to terms with yourself I wish I could say the same thing that it doesn't matter to me but I can't I will say I don't deprive myself of something I really want I know not the way to lose weight. I know I'm rambling but I look at todays girls and none of us were as skinny as they are.

Sornie said...

There seems to be only extremes and no middle ground. Either the focus is on, pardon my phrase, fatties or anorexics. The average and normal people receive no attention and they are just that -- average and normal. Nothing like being cast aside for being normal.

Peacechick Mary said...

I did vegan for awhile and felt tired and run down. I seem to need meat, but not a lot of it. I never eat out or I should say only a couple of times a year. The rest is as fresh as I can get it and whole grain. Agreed, food is tricky if you are easily swayed by advertising. Most of our population is hypnotized by marketing ploys. Too bad.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

I don't see food as our enemy anymore than alcohol or tobacco. It depends on how it's used, whether it be enemy or friend.

As for the crap sold to us as "food", I'm in whole hearted agreement with you! One of the neat things about Hicksville, is in the summertime, I can walk a quarter of a mile, and pick my tomatoes off the vine, no spray or fertilizer added. Melons, peaches, cukes...on and on, are available. It's feast time for this ole boy!!

Carol Gee said...

Great post, betmo. Growing one's own garden isn't an option for everyone, including me these days. But nothing is better than fresh-picked or dug. Commercial preservatives and chemicals can't be good for us. And I think that the FDA does a lousy job of overseeing the safety of the food supply, probably because of neglect by the current administration.
Dawn, I, too, have those 20 pounds, with whom I have been intimately acquainted for the post 5 years! Aging does change the metabolism rate. For me reduced physical exercise has also been a factor in how I feel overall.

Undeniable Liberal said...

I share your sentiment. And it is quite discomforting to know that the head of the FDA is a pro-business crony of Bush's whose main qualification for the job is loyalty.

betmo said...

which is also why i don't take any medication- period.

Anonymous said...

YOU DA WOMAN! That was a wonderful blog, Betmo. Thanks for sharing.

You know, my sister changed to the vegan lifestyle after she got out of high school. She now incorporates egg into her diet, and she exercises a lot. She's skinny as a rail, is solid (muscle-wise) and has so much energy! She's tried to get me to follow in her's working very slowly. HA!