Sunday, 15 February 2015

You eat like an animal

Everybody does.  Because we ARE animals.  

Most animals spend a lot of their daily energy foraging (that's biologist talk for looking for food).  The ability to get good food is a major selective pressure (more biologist talk for the situation whereby if you don't eat, you don't have kids, and you therefore don't pass on your crummy inability to find food genes to any future generations).

Of course, most of us in North America don't live like the other animals anymore.  We are bombarded by an obscene excess of food options.  Most of the providers of those options are driven by capitalism.  So, now the pressure is on the food providers to make sure their food items get picked by us.  Instead of all us humans out there on the savannah competing for scraps of berries and meat, the various forms of froot and chik'n are competing for us.  

Food companies lure us in through marketing, and through engineering food to make it hyper-palatable: easy to eat, salty, fatty, and sugary, and strangely unsatisfying.  These foods are designed  to over-ride your animal brain and to leave you wanting more.  As I've mentioned before, some foods are really really hard to eat mindfully, and that's because they're made to be that way.

I've been thinking about this lately because of various books I've been reading about industrial food.  Mindful eating is supposed to be about HOW you eat, not WHAT you eat.  But I'm starting to realize that some food-like items make it almost impossible to eat mindfully.  A truly mindful eating practice would be careful with those foods.  

Eat this.
I am inspired by the carrot.  Specifically, the tiny carrots currently available from a local friendly farm, Patchwork Gardens.  Now, these are real carrots.  Lumpy, a little dirty, and packed with so much flavour that you only need to eat a few to feel blissfully happy. I LOVE them. 

Contrast this with those bags of creepy, soggy little carrot cone-clones.  I've often mindlessly eaten dozens of these things, without deriving much satisfaction or enjoyment.  Don't try to tell me you haven't done this.  These are industrial carrots.  They've gone through a lot of steps before they've gotten to you, and they've lost most of their vitality along the way.  You could eat worse things, but why not eat better things?  The real carrots I've been eating satisfy eye, nose, mouth, heart, and cellular hunger.  Mini-carrots are just cold wet crunchers with a bit of sweetness.  How impoverished.
Not this.

I don't like to tell people what to eat, or to push my food ethics on others, but I do want to encourage people to consider eating more real food.  We are so lucky in Kingston - with a little effort, we can find local food for sale in grocery stores and delis 365 days a year!  Hard to believe during a winter like this. 

 And, I'm very happy to discover that there is a blog that pulls information together: Eat Local, Kingston.  There's a Facebook page too.  Check it out and help this community grow!

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