An Unabridged Disection of American Values, Chapter 1: Sustenance

a tasty bowl of fruit stuffsThe American diet can be defined in many ways, I’m sure, but I would think that it is most often associated with overindulgence and fast food efficiency, always at the cost of increasing love handles and heart disease. If only obesity could sit well on a person. But this dissertation into the psyche of the American brain stem isn’t necessarily aimed at what kinds of food you eat, rather than at what quality those foods come at.

I live in an area with four big grocery stores and at least five or six other, smaller ma and pa style ones. A Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and two Giant Eagles (one known as the “Ghetto Eagle” for its location, the other named “Market District” to impress their brands ability to compete with the other two stores, which are seen as “health stores”) are within ten blocks of eachother, three of those stores within three or four blocks of eachother.

Purses vs. Nurses

When it comes to being on a budget, the first obvious choice seems like choosing one of the Giant Eagles. Their prices are typically quite a bit lower and they even offer some organic options (Market District moreso than the Ghetto Eagle). However, you’re primarily looking at bottom of the barrel organic milk and eggs, maybe some frozen organic veggie-meats and the all too occasional organic bread.

Get much beyond that though and you’re looking at buying brand name goods which are almost always stuffed with one of the following ingredients: hydrogenated soy bean oil, high fructose corn syrup or a list of ingredients too scientifically labeled to recognize.

Shopping at Whole Foods, on the other hand, will yield half the groceries for the same price, however you’ll have basically nothing but organic foods (finding non-organics is the chore, if you were so inclined). Gouda from some village on a mountain in Switzerland or Mangos grown on the banks of some California seaville. A plethora of variety primarily composed of healthy, tasty foodstuffs.

For some people, the cost is prohibitive, I do understand that. But cost is an interesting value associated too often only to money. People are quite willing to pay $4 for a cup of steamed milk with 2 ounces of espresso in it. Or $5 for a pack of cigarettes, $10 for a good six pack of beer, or $1000 / year in gasoline to run them back and forth to work. In general we’re quite willing to pump hard earned cash into our liesurely pursuits. But when it comes to food, the most essential ingredient that essentially becomes us, we are willing to substitute real ingredients for man made sludge just to save a quarter on our butter.

If you think about it on a very basic level, that processed cheese you’re eating is going to become the fat that you use to motor yourself around all day. That hormonal cow’s ass you’re calling a hotdog will be assimilated into your biceps. That high fructose corn syrup that’s replaced 70% of your “juice” is all that your brain will have to work with as you roll into your big Annual Review at work.

Replace these ingredients with natural, organic foods and you loose all the filler. The food you do eat, then, you can eat less of. A little goes a long way. And this is, I believe, how it’s supposed to be. Humans aren’t meant to sit down and scarf up two plates of spaghetti, a couple of rolls, a salad, a glass of milk and then shovel down some pie. We’re meant to run, buck naked and full charge, after a deer and tackle it with our crude spears. Or at the very least, to take an hour gathering nuts and berries to carry back home to the family for the single daily meal. We eat too much, too often, because nearly everything we eat is choke full of filler. Get down to the good stuff and you only need a little bit.

An orange here, a cup of granola there, maybe much on some cheese before the Simpsons comes on and if you get hungry again later, no problem, just make another little snack. The more you eat like this, the less you need to eat like that.

If more people took the saying “You are what you eat” as literal as it is, I think you’d see alot less walking 2 liters and turkey breasts out there and so many more attractive, fit and healthy people to gaze at.

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