What are we without food? Food is a central part of our lives, shaping our culture, the structure of our day, even the way we socialize with other people. Most importantly, the food we eat and the things we put into our bodies over the course of our lives shape us into the people we are today. We are food.
The food we consume affects every function of our biology: cognition, energy, and sleep. It affects our physical ability, hormones, mood, emotions, relationships, and sexual function. Not to mention our immune systems, gut health, skin health, heart health, digestive health, and more. The body is an interconnected system that, at a foundational level, will only function as well as we feed it. The way we consume can either fuel or prevent disease. Through a conscious understanding of how the food we consume interacts with our body and an understanding that real, wholesome food is medicine, we come to realize the power we have to transform our lives simply through our eating.
This truth is something we can all intuitively understand on some level, but it did not hit home for me until 2018. That year, my dad was diagnosed with stage four stomach cancer. As a middle-aged man, he had less than a 2% survival rate and lost his painful battle to cancer a year later in 2019. Our family was always so confused as to how a man who lived a healthy lifestyle could have gotten something so deadly, was it just bad luck? Soon after his death, we were asked to participate in a lawsuit against the producers of the over-the-counter pharmaceutical drug Zantac for containing NDMA, a known carcinogen. Through the loss of my father, I began to realize that my life was so valuable yet so delicate and vulnerable. I also came to realize that this was a loss much larger than my dad.
Cancer treatment rates are rising all over the world, but cancer cases are rising significantly too. My dad did not survive on even the world's best treatment for his disease. I realized through his loss that our healthcare system and pharmaceutical industry will never truly cure us. Pharmaceutical drugs can only make symptoms go away and limit the ability to prevent diseases from coming back by addressing the cause of the disease. I realized that I cannot solely rely on the healthcare system to keep me healthy. My everyday decisions play a large role in the health- and lifespan of my existence. I have the power and responsibility to help shape the pillars of my health. I began to think deeper about how the food on my plate shapes the function of my body. I realized that my diet did not truly nourish me.
Four years ago, I began cooking and experimenting with a plant-based diet. Through my exploration on Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms, I learned about new foods that heal the body and learned how to enjoy the process of fueling my body with nutrient-dense foods. One of the best ways I learned how to cook was by making a food Instagram, documenting my learning journey of holistic health, and sharing recipes that I came up with or modified. I learned that food is best when it not only tastes good but also feels good after you eat it. My journey was not linear, and I did not learn how to properly nourish myself overnight but learning how to cook and eat a balanced diet was one of the best decisions I made for my physical, mental, and emotional health.
Four years ago, I began cooking and experimenting with a plant-based diet. Through my exploration on Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms, I learned about new foods that heal the body and learned how to enjoy the process of fueling my body with nutrient-dense foods. One of the best ways I learned how to cook was by making a food Instagram, documenting my learning journey of holistic health, and sharing recipes that I came up with or modified. I learned that food is best when it not only tastes good but also feels good after you eat it. My journey was not linear and I did not learn how to properly nourish myself overnight, but learning how to cook and eat a balanced diet was one of the best decisions I made for my physical, mental, and emotional health.
You see, when you consume the standard American diet you get the standard American diseases. If you go to the standard American doctor, you will receive medication that helps reduce symptoms rather than solving the root cause of health problems in many Americans today. The vast majority of food in America is filled with synthetic chemicals, additives, preservatives, pesticides, and colorings that are banned in other developed nations. The food that The United States grows contains A Significant level of chemical fertilizer and more dangerous pesticides, in comparison to other nations. Even if a product is labeled as organic, what ‘organic’ produce means in America is at a much lower standard than in other developed nations.
Beyond the lower quality of American produce, The U.S. food system prioritizes highly processed junk food onto the American public, making it accessible in every nook and cranny of the US. Over the past 100 years, the American fast food industry has shaped the structure of our society so strongly that now their products are the only accessible option within food-insecure areas, the only affordable options for most working Americans.
Industrial processed food giants, such as PepsiCo, Dole, and Kraft create products using combinations of refined fat, sugar, and salt which is proven to be addictive. In addition, artificial ingredients, which are proven or designed to be addictive, are intentionally added to products. Corporate food giants can maximize profit by doing so, and also by cutting costs and the number of natural ingredients in their products. Profit maximization for elite capitalists comes at the detriment of the entire global food system.
Moreover, some of the most addictive and harmful products on the market are marketed toward children, with the use of colorful packaging, cartoon characters, and kid-friendly advertising on children’s television. This marketing technique of using mascots to lure children into eating their product has been banned in other nations.
Although none of the products shown are significantly healthier on either side, the UK and most European nations have restrictions on additives such as Red 40, which have been proven to be carcinogenic. It is puzzling as to why the American government wouldn't put up the same regulations to help protect their people against these proven carcinogens. That is, until you begin to follow the money and realize profit and power can be gained by selling addiction.
What is being sold to us is not truly food. We are being sold items that would never show up in our natural environment. Our taste buds are being manipulated with artificial chemicals and unnatural ingredients specifically and carefully engineered to trick our brains into a state of addiction and codependency, rather than nourishment and satisfaction. Fundamentally, food is designed to be compatible with the human body, in a mutual, nourishing relationship.
When looking for real food, look at the ingredients and be sure to ask yourself: how much of this is processed, and can I be sure of what I am putting into my body?