The steady rise of agribusinesss profits mirrors our rising national BMI. Doesn't feel like comfort food to me.
By Darren Kaulback
Published January 24, 2010
Yet another new study was just released last week that says Canadians are too fat. The information is pretty much the same as the last "new" study on the topic.
Of course, no one is really that surprised by this revelation. It makes sense. We eat a lot of meals out of the house. Restaurants, fast food, more fast food. The meals we do "prepare" at home are often highly processed. A round of golf on the Wii now passes as an acceptable form of recreation.
We're stressed out - both physically and financially. And don't get me started on the drive thru thing.
First, let's talk food. A great deal of trust is placed in the corporations that feed us. And I have to ask: why this is? We don't trust our politicians or overpaid CEOs or even our utility companies.
Like any publicly traded company, food manufacturers and chains are in business to make a profit, using the most efficient means that governing bodies will let them get away with.
Their lobbyists don't fight for our right to have healthy, nutritious food, they fight for the rights of the food giants to make more money.
Unfortunately, the steady rise of their profits mirrors our national BMI. Doesn't feel like comfort food to me.
Michael Pollan, in his book, In Defense of Food, calls this the age of nutritionalism. We've gone from foods to nutrients when evaluating what we eat. The basic premise is that we compare whole foods, like fruit, eggs, legumes etc, to their manufactured counterparts based solely on nutritional values.
But the science is still not conclusive on how these nutrients work together and whether they hold the same value when extracted and rolled into processed food.
The fact that most of us trust implicitly the current nutritional system is a concern, given its origins were influenced by "Big Food." "In Defence of Food" is a great read if you're interested in knowing how the nutritional data on the side of our food boxes has come to be.
Food isn't the only thing holding us back from that guest appearance on Baywatch (I'm sure there's a remake in the works). Our 1950s vision for a Utopian world with servant robots and spacey melodic gizmos was not without its flaws. We may not have flying cars but we've come pretty close to alleviating our burden of physical exertion.
Other than prying our fat asses from out between the couch cushions to get a snack or the daily trek from the house to the driveway, many of us have few opportunities to burn off those pesky calories.
It's predicted that the current generation of kids will be the first not to live as long as their parents. Has our quest for technological advancement robbed our bodies of the daily exercise needed to stay healthy You be the judge.
Then there's the mixed messages: Take public transit. Buy more cars. Conserve energy. Shop more.
Whether it's rising tides, polluted air or the health of humankind, we seem to be at odds with the natural world. As a society, we may be able to turn things around, but are we willing to make the tough decisions?
What's that line about a "pound of flesh?"
This essay was first published on Darren Kaulbeck's blog, Raise a Little Green.
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